I would continue to be a teacher even if my pay was substantially cut, but I am very much in the minority. Teachers get paid better than some might think, but not as much as they deserve.
One teacher penned a very thoughtful piece on why she chose to leave the profession:
Heartbreaking – it’s the only word that can describe how it feels to walk away from something that was once your dream. The one job you always wanted to do, the person you wanted to become.
For the first time in 10 years, I am not anxiously preparing my classroom, anticipating the arrival of twenty energetic children and a new year full of learning, laughter and excitement.
Instead, I am preparing myself for a new career in the business world. And not because I wanted to. I absolutely loved my teaching job at Equestrian Trails Elementary. But sadly, love just isn’t enough.
Why am I leaving? I am being forced to make a decision between the absolute love of teaching and living up to my potential to support myself. Since graduating from college, I have been fortunate enough to focus on my work, and ignore my stagnant income by living with my parents.
It has been a very comfortable living arrangement that’s worked well for my family and me, and I just assumed I would move out when I “met the right guy.” But, that hasn’t happened yet, and at the age of 32, I decided it is time for me to move out on my own and become a fully independent adult.
There is just one giant obstacle standing in my way: I simply cannot support myself comfortably with my current income.
A year’s experience worth just $274
I’ve always known that education would be far from lucrative, and I have always been accepting of that. However, I never anticipated that my salary would not grow along with my years of experience.
When I started teaching in the Palm Beach County School District a decade ago, I made $33,830. Today, I make $43,239.
While that’s a lot more than I made in my first year of teaching, it’s just $2,464 more per year than an incoming first-year teacher today, or an additional $274 for each year of experience.
When I began my career, the hope for a more comfortable future seemed attainable. The pay scale in 2007 reflected a more sizeable difference of $6,600 between a first and tenth year teacher.
Unfortunately, since I began teaching in 2006, we have seen serious changes to our pay structure, and a lack of substantial raises.
Compound that with an inflation rate of 19.6% over the past ten years, rising healthcare costs, and a change to our state-funded retirement pension (requiring a 3% deduction from our paycheck), and we as a teaching class have gained very little ground in a decade.
Discouragingly, the prospect of meaningful increases in the future seems dim.
To read more of her fabulous essay click on this link:
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