Why Teachers Deserve Higher Pay
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Why Teachers Deserve Higher Pay

They do more than you think.

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Why Teachers Deserve Higher Pay
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Any person who has had the opportunity of reading this proposition has been educated to some degree by a teacher. Every teacher has laid a profound legacy on their students and therefore deserves to be exalted in their profession. A recent poll conducted on the social media outlet, Twitter, found that only 49 percent of the 60 individuals surveyed supported the proposal of raising teacher salaries.

Although one may presume that teachers are paid well in their profession, one must be prudent in their beliefs by considering plausible reasons that teachers deserve more pay, such as the role that teachers play in our future, the fact that teachers are spending more time in the classroom than you may anticipate, and the financial stress that plagues educators when intrinsic rewards are justified for poor monetary compensation.

Teachers are the foundation for our future; these mentors guarantee a society of continued innovation by educating the children who will once lead the nation. Therefore, American citizens should invest more money and resources in ensuring that those who take interest in this field are not deterred by factors surrounding a pay gap.

To clarify the steep pay gap that plagues American teachers, Brookings Institute compiled evidence from a study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OCED) to compare how teachers are paid in America to other developed countries. A chart illustrating teachers salaries relative to earnings for similarly educated workers found that the United States laid nearly last out of all other 33 surveyed countries.

Startz condenses this revelation as he writes, “The quick lesson is that in most industrialized countries relative teacher pay is higher than in the United States.” American citizens can help this predicament by advocating a simple 1 percent hike in sales tax. This small increase in taxes could raise individual salaries more than $5,000. Taking a step in the direction of higher wages for educators could engage those who take interest in the teaching field, and more importantly the children who will one day be our doctors and scientists.

Teaching is not an 8 o’clock to 3 o’clock job. There is a pervasive belief that is active in modern society, and this assertion proclaims that teachers ‘don’t work much.’ Articles, magazines, and even personal experiences may have prompted one to sway their thinking on the topic.

For example, the prominent online news outlet, The Voice of San Diego, has published an article with the title ‘The Myth of the Underpaid Teacher.’ As one brews their morning coffee and sits down online to feed into morning news, he or she is enlightened with the claims, “The days teachers do work, the day starts at 8 and ends and ends at 2:30 and during that time there are mandated breaks, non-teaching periods, and lunch."

That’s only 6.5 hours per day so if teachers are working longer that would be moving them closer to the typical 8-hour workday.” If Robertson’s claims were true, that would constitute teachers working close to only 900 hours a year. However, evidence from the publication Education At a Glance refutes Robertson’s affirmation with conclusive data that exhibits American teachers are spending an average of 1,005 hours per year alone in instruction.

It is important to note that those 1,005 hours are not insightful of the numerous other tasks that are being conquered after the students leave, which may include: grading papers, e-mailing parents, attending staff meetings, editing lesson plans, filing discipline referrals, copying worksheets, and specializing learning methods to conform to the needs of other students. The bottom line is: teachers work hard and they work hard a lot. American citizens would be doing a grave injustice to the educators within our country by failing to reward them with the adequate pay that they deserve for the work they perform.

Today’s societal values are driven by the strident chatter among media outlets. This is a statement I have witnessed myself when conversing with a colleague of mine recently. After pleading the case for why I believe teachers should be entitled to a supplemental income, he obstinately implored, “but teaching is easy. Anyone can do it. We should be contributing more money to those who confide in more specialized careers, like astrophysicists and surgeons.”

I respectively understood his case but asked about the reasoning behind his perception. This individual continued to assert that he read an article recently which implied that we are not underpaying teachers, but instead overpaying teachers. I took matters into my hands and delved into this article myself. C.J. Tuor writes in an article by the Huffington Post, “education is the most overpaid profession one can pursue… let’s look at the reason’s why.” His reasons rendered this a suitable time to debunk a common misconception about the teaching profession that may be ingrained into minds differential of my colleagues'.

A prevailing defense against higher teacher pay remains that the reward of working with children compensates for low pay. Tuor uses this claim to his advantage with the assertion, “there is no amount of monetary gain that could match the joy of teaching a child a lesson….” Tuor is not entirely at fault in this excerpt. It is true that most educators are attracted to the joy of working with children when pursuing this career, however, the intrinsic rewards should not be garnered as a rationale for low salaries.

The National Education Association (NEA) proves that low teacher pay comes at a high cost when they found that close to 50 percent of new teachers leave the profession during the first five years of teaching, and 37 percent of teachers that do not continue teaching until retirement attribute low pay to their reasons for leaving. New teachers who lack the experience of seasoned professionals are often unable to afford houses in the communities where they teach or pay off student loans, and the cumulative financial stress can become unbearable- habitually forcing people out of the career to move into more profitable positions.

Yes, the love and joy that arises from working with children daily may be unparalleled, but for many is not enough to secure the continuance of this career when financial weight becomes a burden.

What nation are we to disregard the needs of our educators due to false knowledge entertained from irrelevant news sources? Americans must take prudence when reading editorials and articles concerning the American education system, for public misconception is becoming a hindrance to the truth: teachers work hard, work year-round, and though they contain a passion for their job, educators need and deserve higher monetary compensation.

The issue facing American teachers doesn’t stop here. Moving forward will require an open discussion about potential solutions and methods to help solve this issue, and it is encouraged that all American individuals will be compelled to have a voice in this predicament. Take a stand after considering the time, effort, and love that American educators put into our children. And in all honesty, after dealing with those children, we owe them one.


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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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