Is An Elementary Teacher’s Pay Really That Bad?

Teacher Salary
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27 Responses to Is An Elementary Teacher’s Pay Really That Bad?

  1. dEbbie says:

    i just wonder how many other professions require you to provide materials to work with? Require you to take classes without reimbursement? teachers work 10 months and get paid for just that! how would a two month unpaid leave each year fit into your budget?

    • School Matters says:

      Teachers unquestionably work very hard, provide their own materials and are required to take continuing education courses and they deserve to be recognized for those facts. However, there are other professions that do require continuing education (imagine your doctor never learned another thing after medical school!). I don’t think that unpaid leave is quite accurate either as teachers are paid their salary over 12 months. Nonetheless, I hear what you are saying and the facts on the info-graphic do support your general frustration that teachers are overworked, underpaid and under-recognized. The big question is what can be done?

      • AJofTX says:

        I will support Debbie. No teacher is paid for the summer. At all. Period.

        And while other professions require additional training, are they required to do it unpaid while paying for it. When I paid for the $700 30 hour credited/really 40 hours training, it was in the summer while I was earning nothing.

      • David says:

        As physicians and other professionals acquire additional training their salary typically increases. Not true for teachers.

        Teachers are paid for 10 months of work, nothing more. The fact that some teachers receive their pay over 12 months is not only unpaid leave, it is an interest free loan to the school district.

      • Al says:

        We can have our 10 month salary divided by 12. We do 12 months of work in 10. We do not get paid leave. You and so many others are misinformed. I’m with you Joyce! Please make that clear as soo many people think we are paid for 12 months. Look at it like this, let’s pretend that a year is 14 months long. Now take your 12 month salary and divide by 14. Big difference! If I take my salary over 10 months my monthly pay is much larger, but I have no income for the summer months. So, I either work over the summer for needed income or I choose a lesser monthly pay and have my check divided into 12 equal payments. Don’t forget that over the summer I’m trying to get inservice so that I can renew my certificate.

    • Sue Castaneda says:

      Teachers do NOT receive paid vacations or holidays. Teachers are paid for the number of days that they work. If they work 180 days that is what their pay reflects. Nothing more. Teachers work on their own time, are expected to pay for their own supplies as well as ensure that ALL of their students regardless of ability level master grade level concepts. Teachers work with children and provide them with skills are preparing them for life. I think that the pay does not meet the demands required of teachers.

    • Patricia says:

      I worked in GA for six years and NEVER once paid for any of my supplies. I now work in PA (in my 7th year) and have spent $14,000.00 in school supplies and learning aids. That may seem unreal to some but I can assure you it is the sad truth. I work with low income students and NO budget. I do it because I want these children to have tools to work with and items that will promote learning. The government reimburses very little, too little to even mention.

  2. Joyce says:

    I am a teacher and my salary is based on the 10 1/2 months that I work. However, for budgeting reasons, I choose to earn less money every paycheck so I can receive the remainder of my salary during the 1 1/2 months of my summer. I do not earn a salary for the time when school is out. Please make that clear in the future.

    • School Matters says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience! We will keep it in mind for the future.

      • Brenda Barnes says:

        I do not get paid for summers. I am only paid for school days that are in session. No paid holidays, either. I am pretty sure that is the situation for most teachers. I love the graphic except for that one error.

  3. Robin says:

    Previously we got 10 paychecks for 10 months of work. To keep us with monthly insurance benefits, we have the 10 month salary divided over 12 months. It is not a paid vacation – simply 2 months when we finally get our pay for the contract job we recently completed. But I love my job despite the pay & I desperately need the time off to get my mind & heart ready for the next year ahead.

  4. Anne Farrar says:

    Joyce is correct. We only get paid for the days in the classroom. We choose to have our salary spread out over 12 months so that we DO get a paycheck in the summer while we are working on plans, attending workshops, setting up our classrooms for the fall, and taking care of things at home that we did NOT have time to do during the school year since we were spending many hours on our job.

  5. William Herbert says:

    What teachers have the summers off with pay? In 27 years, my summer “pay” was always the result of money held for me from working to give me in the summer.

  6. Kat says:

    It’s not paid! You are pretty much let go July 1st or whenever and rehired Sept. 1st.
    You’re asking the wrong question , ” do we deserve the summer off” the question should be : If your school provided air conditioning, curriculum support, supplies, field trips, summer activities, healthy lunch options, and most importantly no test prep would you consider working and do you?
    And no we’re not paid enough, that’s why so men do not come into the field, they can’t be a breadwinner.
    Summer school would be a time to test and then kids would really hate school for sure.

  7. Jennifer Welch says:

    I don’t know any teacher with a two-month paid summer break. Teachers are paid for ten months only. We are fortunate that because our contracts cover twelve months, we continue to receive health benefits for the summers, although our contributions all come from the ten months we draw salary.

  8. michelle says:

    PAID two months off…NOT!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Dan Leopold' says:

    What is stopping ANY person in this great country of ours from budgeting their biweekly paycheck to exclude a certain percentage so that it can cover their expenses during the summer months without working? That is what teachers do- we WORK DAMN HARD FOR OUR MONEY AND WE DO NOT GET OUR SUMMERS OFF FOR FREE-ANYONE WHO THINKS WE DO, I INVITE YOU TO TEACH MY SPECIAL EDUCATION CLASSES IN THE BRONX AND SEE HOW LONG YOU LAST!! BTW, I am working this summer, because even though my paychecks covered the summer months, it is still not enough to cover living expenses for my family and I who live in a 1 bedroom in the Bronx.

  10. Glenda says:

    This is unbelievable as well as misleading. Teachers DO NOT get two months paid summer vacation. Sure they get two months of unemployed time during the summer. They are paid on a per day basis. For example, a teacher works 186 days. Those days are divided into 10 equal pay periods usually months. If that teacher wants a check for those two months of summer, he/she must defer part of the pay each month to get those two checks. This pay is put into a non-interest bearing account until summer. So teachers do get two months off in the summer, but any money they get is money already earned during the school year.

  11. Dave says:

    I am not “paid” for June or July. I am paid for 196 days. I draw my last check in June and have to wait until the end of August before drawing another one. Of those work days I’m paid for 7.75 hours. There hasn’t been a work day where I haven’t worked more than that. Most days are at least a 10 hour day and some as many as 14 hours. I feel then, that your chart is a bit disingenuous and misleading. Teachers at my school AVERAGE a 60 hour work week, but are paid for 38.25 hours.

  12. Sue says:

    Communities get a loan on money from teachers choose to have held back from their paychecks during the school year so they have pay during the months they are not working. Being paid during working months of the school. Year is the only choice some teachers have.

  13. Jennifer says:

    Please stop telling people we are paid for the summer! I work for a cycle of 21 pay checkes. I choose to have that money distributed to me over the course of 26 paychecks. I am not paid for working during that time, I am just getting the money that the district owes me!

  14. Greg says:

    I taught for 7 years (high school English) before receiving a reduction in force and finding work elsewhere – teacher pay is far better than anything else I’ve been able to find. And it’s not just summers off – the time off at holidays and spring break, etc., etc., also have to be considered. “I desperately need the time off” makes it sound as if teachers have a more difficult job than other professionals out there – not at all – it’s just the rest of us have to push through and be content with our 3 weeks off during the year. Teachers make an annual salary – they have contracts that say they only work a certain number of days during that year. How those days are spread throughout the year is up to the district and union to negotiate.

  15. J. Brandon says:

    WE ARE NOT PAID FOR THE SUMMER. We used to have the option of getting checks for 10 months or 12 months, the 10 month checks being larger. The infographic at the top of this blog does not get its point through effectively. If I was in charge of a school furniture company, I WOULD NEVER EVER EVER have put such a thing on my blog. Way to go! I’m sure you have lost many customers.

  16. Mary says:

    Teachers do not get 2 months off with pay. This is misleading. We bank our pay to get paid over the summer so we can get paid 12 months per year. I would love to see doctors, nurses and even lawyers do this and see how they survive? We choose to take less pay over the school year so we can get paid over the summer, it is called a contact. We work 190 days out of the year. Remember there are weekends during the year that even well-paid professionals do not work.
    Who else has to pay for their continued education? DOCTORS? NOOOO!! WE DO!
    Summer is the time when we work other jobs to make ends meet. Take college courses to keep certified. Where I work there is no pay back for the college courses. That is from our own pockets.
    What about school supplies that we have to provide? Every year I suppy about $1,000 or more in school supplies? Who reinburses me for that? NOONE!!
    In addition, what about furlough days that are occurring all over? WE have a contract but they are still not paying for those furlough days. So we get less and less money per year? How do you expect a teacher to SURVIVE?
    In fact without a teacher most doctors, nurses, medical field people, CEOS and even lawyers would not exits today becuase teachers have taught them to read, write, do mathematics etc…
    We need more pay and I hope the day comes when people realize what teachers do. We not only teach, we set-appointments, we file, we use technology, we are always receiving staff deveopment with no credits, meet with parents and other community members after school hours, email information even after school hours and do paper work after school hours.
    My friend and I figured out all the hours that we spend doing everything that most other professions do not have to do and we earned 14 centers per hour. Would a doctor, dentist, vet, lawyer and or CEO settle for that? NOOOOOOOOO!!!!
    It is time society woke up and smelled the coffee and realized that teachers are underpaid. WE DESERVE THE SAME PAY at DOCTORS, CEO’s LAWYERS and other well paid people get.

  17. Mike says:

    1. As noted by many, teachers are not paid for 12 months. They are paid for their work year, although they may choose to be paid over 12 months;
    2. Many if not most teachers are required to continue their education during their summer free time;
    3. Many others have summer jobs of one kond or other to supplement their overpaid professional careers;
    4. As someone noted, many teachers supplement their classroom needs out of pocket;
    5. Everybody knows how to “do school” because everyone has spent about 12+ years IN school. Being on one side of the desk is far different from being on the other.
    6. There’s more to say, but this is enough for now.

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