In A Heartfelt Post, An Educator Shows Us Exactly How Poorly We Pay Teachers

Teachers are undervalued. We all know this.

I knew it when I decided to go into teaching as a profession 20 years ago.

My idealistic young ego didn’t care that it wasn’t a lucrative career — I just wanted to make a difference and help kids learn.But when the reality of a five-figure student loan combined with a beginning teacher’s salary make, I realized that what we expect of lecturers isn’t merely unrealistic — it’s insulting.And it hasn’t gotten better since then.

Teachers in West Virginia and Oklahoma are telling “Enough is enough.”

Right now, the state of Oklahoma is looking at a educator stoppage scheduled for April 2, in protest of the state legislature’s refusal to raise teacher wages. The stoppage comes on the heels of a successful teacher’s strike in West Virginia, in which public schools were shut down for nine days before legislators agreed to a 5% educator raise, among other concessions. Oklahoma’s educators haven’t had a state-wide raise in 10 years.

According to the National Education Association, Oklahoma ranks 48 th for teacher pay, and in agreement with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they are finished off last.What does that look like in real dollars? The minimum starting salary in the Sooner State for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree and no experience is $31,600.

The minimum salary for a teacher with a master’s and 25 years of experience is $43,950. And wrapped up in those salaries are the “fringe benefits” of insurance and retirement.

Teachers’ per-hour pay is painfully low for what they do and for the skill and education required to do it.

One Oklahoma teacher calculated that at her current wage of $40,000, when all is said and done, she earns approximately $12 per hour.( The notion that teachers only run 8-hour days, nine months a year has been roundly debunked by every person who has ever been a educator. Argue if you must, but this is a mountain I am willing to expired on .) Try communicating with mothers who may or may not feel the need to take an active role in their kids’ educations.

Try keeping your students engaged while also preparing them for endless standardized tests. Try keeping a room full of 6-year-olds quiet through an active shooter drill without scaring them to finished off. Be a mentor. Be a counselor. Be a miracle worker. Be a shield. Do it all for one year and tell me teachers don’t deserve to get paid more. In my adult life, I’ve ran in various professions in addition to teaching. I recollect my first day working as an office director and marveling at the ability to go to the bathroom at my leisure .

No job I’ve ever had has come close to the amount of work that teaching entailed , no job has ever had as much direct impact on our world, and in no other chore did I feel so drastically underpaid. As Beth Wallis points out, educators are highly trained professionals, and they ought to be compensated as such. We should all stand with Oklahoma educators, and with all teachers everywhere who have been expected to be martyr for far too long.

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