Over the past few months, several states have reported on teachers going on strike for more pay and benefits. In West Virginia, students missed 9 days of instructional time because of the strike. While there are many people and leaders who have vilified these professionals for focusing on their own needs, in reality, these teachers provide an invaluable service and deserve to be compensated fairly for their efforts.
The highest paid teachers in the United States are reportedly residing and teaching in Alaska. The average starting pay is estimated to be around $72,000 a year. However, if you adjust for the cost of living, these teachers are only earning an average paycheck in comparison to the rest of the nation. Oklahoma educators, who recently also went on strike, are some of the lowest paid instructors, though they are about average as far as providing a quality education. This illustrates the idea that pay does not always reflect performance. Some of the highest paid educators actually rank in the lower half of the country according to quality education.
Teachers in general have the best of intentions when they choose to go into this field. The hours can be long, the working conditions are often less than ideal and the children may or may not go into the classroom ready to learn. While many people tend to believe that teachers have an easy job with paid summer vacation, the reality is that teachers do not get paid for the time they are off over the summer and many teachers use their own funds to ensure that their classrooms are properly outfitted.
The more dedicated teachers pour so much of themselves into their students every year. Many of them fill a variety of roles in the lives of their students, including providing a listening ear to those students who may be struggling at home or in their studies. They must be the first layer of protection when a child may be a victim of abuse or are being bullied by classmates. They must try to tailor their lessons to all of their students – both the ones at the top of the class as well as the ones who are not as quick to understand.
These educators often spend hours of their own time checking papers, writing up lesson plans and filling in the gaps in the lessons that are mandated by the school board. Along with these tasks, they must also ensure that their students do well on the required tests and meet the criteria that the state has set for minimum standards. All of these tasks are part of the average teacher’s job all for the same base pay, whether they are a top performing teacher in a top school or in a struggling school in an underperforming state.
I believe that the job these professionals perform – educating the upcoming generation – is a priceless endeavor that is worth the highest possible payroll that school districts can afford.
Writer Bio: Angela Mose
I am a mom of 7 who has successfully homeschooled for 20 years. I was married for more than 25 years and have recently started my life over. I have a passion for writing and music and when the two can be combined, it is utopia. A Maryland native, I am planning to relocate north in the near future and will continue to strive to learn and experience new things on a regular basis. I am fortunate enough to be able to work from home while exploring new ways to increase my knowledge and skills and help improve the lives of those around me.