Education Opinion

What If Teachers Were Paid What We Are Worth?

By Starr Sackstein — March 25, 2015 2 min read
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Doctors, lawyers and business people all start in the same place, as do every one else in the adult world... school.

Before we can have those high paying, or powerful jobs, all people must go through an education system.

First primary, then secondary and then college and graduate school, or some variation on that traditional approach.

The average person encounters at least 20 teachers in their lives. Of those 20, there are likely to be at least 3 who made a real impact. If we’re lucky, more than that.

That being said, what if we created a pay scale that gave teachers what they are worth based on their output in society.

Nothing important can be done in our society without an education and therefore without educators, so it makes sense to compensate teachers accordingly, right?.

We all need to be able to read, write and communicate with each other in a meaningful way. Teachers are the front line of these important life skills in connection with parents, all people require a helping hand at some point.

So why then are teachers treated as so much less than these other professionals in the United States. In many other cultures, teachers are revered and the profession is honored as essential and noble.

But this is not the case in America.

We would all agree, that most teachers don’t get into the profession for the money but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be paid what we are worth.

So what goes into determining the value of a profession?

  • contribution to society?
  • impact of the contribution?
  • expertise in a field?
  • level of education completed?
  • years, days, hours spent at a job?
  • relationships developed with influential people?
  • supply or demand?
  • expectation of output?
  • success rates?
  • intangibles?

As a teacher, currently employed in multiple positions, the amount of work I do often robs me of time with my family or focusing on my primary teaching position outside of school. Making ends meet shouldn’t be an inhibiting factor for attracting young, industrious minds to the profession.

We can’t hope to improve the state of education if we aren’t bringing in the right people and it’s hard to compete with other top fields where the compensation is so much greater.

For the amount of time teachers spend becoming highly qualified and perfecting their craft, they can become a lawyer or a doctor and live very nicely while still making a considerable contribution to the world. So what can we do in education to entice the potential up and comers?

What if we restructured the pay scale for teachers? Would that help? Please share your thoughts

The opinions expressed in Work in Progress are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.