Bad pay blues

Teachers make significantly lower than they deserve


Photo by Bethany Arnold

Social studies teacher Michelle Crane speaks in front of one of her classes. Many think teachers deserve a pay raise for their work in educating young minds.

Story by Brynne Chandler, Staff Writer

Teachers do so much for us. They teach us everything we need to know in life, from our ABCs to our numbers all the way up to AP essays and economics. They go out of their way to decorate the classroom for us, put in grants for better equipment for us and even fight for our rights in school. 

Yet, teaching is one of the lowest paid jobs in America. In May 2020, the median pay for a teacher was $62,870. The median Texas home cost is $243,600. That’s nearly four times their salary just for basic housing.

Teachers are the foundation of our society. They are some of the first adults a child sees when they leave the safety of their household. What a teacher tells a child will stick with them all the way to adulthood. 

I remember thousands of things teachers have told me through the years. There are basics we learn like don’t hit people, share with your peers and “stop biting people on the playground!” 

But there’s little things too, like a teacher saying that “blue is definitely your color” and “you can read just as good as everyone else.”

Ever since my fifth grade math teacher told me that I looked good in blue, it’s been one of my favorite colors. When I was six and learning to read for the first time, all I needed was someone to believe in me. With my teacher’s help, I was able to read almost everything that came my way, even though I struggled so hard at first. 

Reading had been hard for me because I just didn’t understand what any of those random letters were supposed to mean. I didn’t know how all these weird symbols were supposed to form into the words I was still struggling to speak. However, when my teacher took time to believe in me and help me, it made reading so much easier to understand.

Every teacher gives a little bit of themselves away to their students, just as the students around them give them pieces of themselves.

Despite the fact that teachers do so much, many teachers have to get second jobs in order to support themselves. Furthermore, even more people turn away from teaching as a job because it doesn’t pay enough for them to make a living. Hundreds of people, who would make absolutely lovely teachers, choose to go into different fields because they wouldn’t be able to support themselves. 

Teachers give up so much of themselves for their job. Not only do they spend at least a third of their day at this soul-crushing institution that we call schools, but they go home and continue working. 

They grade papers from the hundreds of students that they have, create lesson plans to teach children to the best of their abilities and constantly monitor their phones to make sure no one has contacted them for help. Teachers come in early and stay late after school so that they can help anyone who wants it. 

Some may say that teachers don’t need to get paid in large amounts because it doesn’t require all that much education or they get so many days off that it evens out. However, they are constantly at work, even if they aren’t physically at work.

Teachers are always grading and planning. They’re always looking for new ways to inform  students and actually get learners interested in their studies.

A teacher’s job is never done at the end of the day. For all that they do, molding and shaping the minds of the next generations and putting in tireless hours of work, teachers are truly underappreciated both in a financial sense and in society.