School's in almost everywhere, and teachers are working hard. But how much do they earn for their efforts, and how do salaries differ state by state? And could YOU live on these salaries and still enjoy your work?
For kids, a typical school day is about six to eight hours. Not so for teachers, whose work load includes additional hours for grading tests and papers, preparing lessons, gathering materials, making classroom displays, and meeting with students, parents and administrators. [And I’m probably leaving out a lot of other things, like contorting learning opportunities into preparation for standardized tests, and attending classes for the extra credits that earn higher pay.] So, how much is all of this effort worth in salary dollars? The answer depends a great deal on geography. States may fund schools, but local districts generally determine salaries, and they vary widely from state to state, and even within states.
At a helpful website called Teacher Salary Info, you can click on a state and find out salary ranges, plus information about median household income and home prices [to help prospective teachers get a handle on how well or poorly one might live on an educator’s income in that state], and state expenditures per pupil. Created by a teacher for other teachers, the website offers, on each state’s page, an extended description of the ins and outs of the state’s educational structure and funding, and other tips about the overall teaching environment. The website also includes graphs depicting, state by state: average teacher salary compared to median house price; and average teacher salary compared to median household income.
Designed to help both new and experienced teachers make informed decisions about where to work, Teacher Salary Info clearly believes in the value and satisfaction of teaching, but it presents a realistic picture of the world in which teachers work.
"Teachers... love to teach, but hate how little [they] are paid." That’s both the opening and the bottom line of Teacher Salary Info. By way of explanation, the site says:
A 2006 study done by the National Education Association [found that] 50% of teachers leave the profession within five years because of poor working conditions and low salaries. Yet, according to the 2006 General Social Survey, teaching ranks among the Top 10 most gratifying jobs with 69% of teachers reporting they were very satisfied with their jobs.
So, would you be satisfied to teach if your salary range fell into one of the categories in the chart? [Scroll to the end of the linked article to see it.]Just asking. And, by the way, study this chart carefully, because if you live in almost any US state, there may be a standardized test on this information later