The Value of Teachers’ Time

There it is again. The comparison of teaching salaries of the United States to those around the world.

We are at the top of the list for hours teachers spend working, yet almost at the bottom of the list for pay. The rest of the countries are much more evenly matched with hours worked versus how much pay teachers get. (Interestingly, Korea has the opposite issue. Lots of pay for not so much work. Huh.)teacher salary

Without disclosing too much personal information, I will tell you this: I am a teacher in Michigan. I work around 60 hours a week. On average, I probably put in around $100 a month of my own to my classroom. I have been working in the same school district for ten years and it was my first teaching contract as well.

I make less now than I did five years ago and I have more education. How could this be? Well, we have been on a pay freeze (that we voted for to save jobs) for as long as I can remember, and in recent years we have been contributing part of our pay to our benefits as well as contributing more on top of that per the state government.

I should say that I don’t have a problem with the amount I contribute for my benefits; my benefits are amazing. The thing is, my pay is not. Not for someone with the education I have and the number of hours I work. But that is OK because I have awesome benefits. The pay has been OK because it was evened out with my benefits, but if they start to take more of my pay for my benefits, well then…it’s not really evening out anymore, is it?

So I am now paying for all of my classroom supplies and am beginning have to pay for my own benefits, yet every year I spend more and more time in my classroom.

With the newest demands on teachers resulting from the Common Core, we spend more of our time and money trying our hardest to do right by our students.

And charts like this pop up to show us that we are still so very under-funded and under-appreciated by our government.

Politicians and citizens claim that teachers are the ones who need the work. That we need to be evaluated by student achievement (not progress, but achievement), and punished when we don’t make our students successful. But what is going to make a teacher successful?

What do those teachers in France, Ireland, and the Netherlands think of this infographic? How do they interpret this? Because to me this says that teachers in the USA are not valued for their time.

What would you say?



Image source: Education at a glance, 2009, OECD Indicators



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