Teacher Pay - Is it as Bad as Portrayed?

Southern Dad

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 23, 2010
1,532
547
Shady Dale, Georgia
Are teachers really poorly paid when comparing apples to apples? Looking at the hourly pay for the teachers in my local school district and doing the math, it changes perspective on whether teachers are really poorly paid. Would it surprise you to find out that teachers are paid $30 per hour? How about $40 per hour? What about $50 per hour or more???

Looking at the Grade 1 - Grade 5 teachers in my daughter's school district:

2 Teachers are making over $60 per hour
25 Teachers are making between $50 - $59.99
124 Teachers are making between $40 - $49.99
89 Teachers are making between $30 - $39.99
 
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The-Real-Deal82

macrumors 604
Jan 17, 2013
7,720
11,670
Wales, United Kingdom
Teachers in the UK are not paid badly at all. A few of my friends from University went into teaching using their skills etc. What annoys me is the teachers strikes we've had recently. If you decide to take you child out of school for a day with it not being an illness, you can be fined £60 by the school as you have effectively taken a days education away from your child. That is fair enough, but if the teachers strike and you have to take a day off work, you can't fine the school for loss of earnings for yourself or 'taking a days education off your child. Its a murky business and I don't feel they are paid badly and have some of the best annual leave of any profession. :)
 

ugahairydawgs

macrumors 68030
Jun 10, 2010
2,666
1,279
Teachers should be paid as much as doctors. There should be fierce competition over the jobs that come available and the salaries should be at a level that attracts the best of the best.

The pay increase should come with one caveat.....teacher tenure needs to go of the way of the dodo bird. It may have been originally implemented with the best of intentions, but now in many cases it only serves to turn dead weight into untouchables. People that may have originally been good/great teachers have no motivation to try and evolve and get better at their job.
 

Southern Dad

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 23, 2010
1,532
547
Shady Dale, Georgia
For comparison the same school district has 15 Principals.

8 are paid over $80 per hour
3 are paid $70 - $79.99 per hour
4 are paid $65.75 - $69.99 per hour
 

satcomer

macrumors 603
Feb 19, 2008
6,300
930
The Finger Lakes Region
For comparison the same school district has 15 Principals.

8 are paid over $80 per hour
3 are paid $70 - $79.99 per hour
4 are paid $65.75 - $69.99 per hour
I've seen thus in my local high school system. Teacher's Union needs desperately to go after the overpaid school administrators taking money from the teachers/ school.
 

Southern Dad

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 23, 2010
1,532
547
Shady Dale, Georgia
You picked the wrong county. I live in the City of Monroe which is Walton County. I can promise my stats are exact. I pulled the actual 2013 payroll for WCPS, tossed it into a pivot table and analyzed those results. Elementary school in Walton County has a 7 hour school day. Teachers get a one hour break. But I still used 8 hours per day in my calculations. The school year is 160 calendar days plus teacher work days, minus furlough days. I used 170 in my calculations. I believe I was more than fair in my math.

I'm not anti-teacher, I'm just starting a discussion about it. When it comes to websites reporting teacher pay, I've found they differ widely. Georgia has a better resource.

http://www.open.georgia.gov
 

bowens

macrumors 6502a
Jun 19, 2006
659
34
Trenton, FL
There was a post going around Facebook a while back that everybody shared about how little teachers are paid. They tried to base it off how many students they have. So say if a teacher gets paid $30 per hour and has 20 students, then they're really only making $1.50 per hour to babysit your kids. I work in IT support. I could do the same thing with the number of users I support. I make almost nothing if I do that.
 

Southern Dad

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 23, 2010
1,532
547
Shady Dale, Georgia
There was a post going around Facebook a while back that everybody shared about how little teachers are paid. They tried to base it off how many students they have. So say if a teacher gets paid $30 per hour and has 20 students, then they're really only making $1.50 per hour to babysit your kids. I work in IT support. I could do the same thing with the number of users I support. I make almost nothing if I do that.
You hit on one of the biggest problems in our education system today, and that is comparing the job to babysitting. Too many parents use school as babysitting. They don't get involved in the education process at all. The child is the one that suffers because of this.

Teaching is actually a very good profession from a pay standpoint, work conditions, perks like time off and insurance. Many people look at it like the role of the starving artist.
 

sviato

macrumors 68020
Oct 27, 2010
2,274
44
HR 9038 A
I don't think the pay is bad, it's adequate for the service provided by teachers. I know a lot, if not most, of people from my high school graduating class weren't ready for university and a lot dropped out, switched majors/schools or took an extra year/summer courses to finish.

So if teachers are handing out marks to get kids into good undergraduate programs, but aren't preparing them for undergrad studies then I don't think higher compensation is warranted.

How about we eliminate unions and have teachers actually make lesson plans and not just read/assign textbook readings and take an interest in the subject matter they're teaching. Then compensation can be determined by the quality of your work and may be higher than at current levels.
 

Tomorrow

macrumors 604
Mar 2, 2008
7,116
1,246
Always a day away
I can promise my stats are exact.
O RLY? Let's see:

Elementary school in Walton County has a 7 hour school day. Teachers get a one hour break. But I still used 8 hours per day in my calculations.
I'm married to a teacher. If you really believe that the 7 hour workday is the amount of time a teacher actually works in a day, your analysis never really gets off the ground.

Oh, and that one hour "break" you're crowing about? It's not a "break" in the sense that most people think of a break; it's just a break from having students in the classroom. It's called "planning time." In a typical month, my wife might get two of those hours to herself; the rest are taken up with meetings. Yes, even though they're supposed to be for lesson plans.

So when do lesson plans come into play? In the three or so hours after the "7 hour workday" you're going on about.

The school year is 160 calendar days plus teacher work days, minus furlough days. I used 170 in my calculations. I believe I was more than fair in my math.
That sounds like a really, really short school year. Here in Texas I think it's 182 or 183 days, plus work days that add about another dozen or so days.

As far as I'm concerned, I believe the biggest problem with teacher pay is that there's no financial incentive whatsoever to try to excel. If you do your job just well enough to get by, you get paid and get the same raise as a teacher who's a total rockstar. What ends up happening is that many of the best ones leave the profession, since the private sector can provide incentives like bonuses and merit raises that are based on how well you perform.
 

elistan

macrumors 6502a
Jun 30, 2007
979
441
Denver/Boulder, CO
You picked the wrong county. I live in the City of Monroe which is Walton County. I can promise my stats are exact. I pulled the actual 2013 payroll for WCPS, tossed it into a pivot table and analyzed those results. Elementary school in Walton County has a 7 hour school day. Teachers get a one hour break. But I still used 8 hours per day in my calculations. The school year is 160 calendar days plus teacher work days, minus furlough days. I used 170 in my calculations. I believe I was more than fair in my math.

I'm not anti-teacher, I'm just starting a discussion about it. When it comes to websites reporting teacher pay, I've found they differ widely. Georgia has a better resource.

http://www.open.georgia.gov
The final hourly wage one comes up with depends greatly on what one estimates the amount of work per week teachers do. 10hr 40min on the large end, 7hr on the small. http://stateimpact.npr.org/ohio/2012/03/19/new-answers-to-the-question-how-much-do-teachers-really-work/. Plus I understand there's work to be done outside actual school days. So the teacher making $50k per year makes $36/hr in your estimation, or $26/hr or less in another estimation.

Keep in mind, to be fair, that while some might portray teachers as starving artists, others portray them as overpaid lazy moochers.
 

Southern Dad

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 23, 2010
1,532
547
Shady Dale, Georgia
O RLY? Let's see:

I'm married to a teacher. If you really believe that the 7 hour workday is the amount of time a teacher actually works in a day, your analysis never really gets off the ground.

Oh, and that one hour "break" you're crowing about? It's not a "break" in the sense that most people think of a break; it's just a break from having students in the classroom. It's called "planning time." In a typical month, my wife might get two of those hours to herself; the rest are taken up with meetings. Yes, even though they're supposed to be for lesson plans.

So when do lesson plans come into play? In the three or so hours after the "7 hour workday" you're going on about.

That sounds like a really, really short school year. Here in Texas I think it's 182 or 183 days, plus work days that add about another dozen or so days.

As far as I'm concerned, I believe the biggest problem with teacher pay is that there's no financial incentive whatsoever to try to excel. If you do your job just well enough to get by, you get paid and get the same raise as a teacher who's a total rockstar. What ends up happening is that many of the best ones leave the profession, since the private sector can provide incentives like bonuses and merit raises that are based on how well you perform.
That is why I used The Walton County School District specifically. I took the exact amount that they were paid for 2013, counted an 8 hour day even though the school hours are only 7 hours and each teacher gets an hour break. The school calendar for 2013-2014 has 160 school attendance days plus 7 teacher work days. (There were 10 teacher work days but three became furlough days.) In actuality we had snow days this year so our schedule didn't hit the 160 calendar days. As I said, I was being generous on the hours.

These teachers that I am using in the example are Grade 1 - Grade 5. There shouldn't be a whole lot of prep and grading. The school is pretty high tech and uses a lot of electronics. Curriculum is standard across the grades at each school.

It would be interesting to compare the hours that teachers in your school system work with what that school system pays to get an hourly amount.

*Note* Since changing to a 160 day school calendar the school district has actually improved significantly rather than decline. High school graduation rates are +10 over the state average, and all schools are now meeting AYP. Something we couldn't say when the schools were going broke.

For the record: I do not feel that the teachers are overpaid lazy moochers. I spend a lot of time in my daughter's school and understand that there is a lot of work to be done in those 7 hours.
 
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The-Real-Deal82

macrumors 604
Jan 17, 2013
7,720
11,670
Wales, United Kingdom
How would that be structured and evaluated? What about children not prepared for school by their parents?
I don't mean performance related pay judged on the results of children in exams but in terms of teachers bringing new techniques to a lesson. Unfortunately there are teachers who use the same lesson plans they were given in their training and use them year after year without expanding and trying anything new. A school should reward innovation with teaching and it would give teachers an incentive to teach well IMO. My brother in law in a deputy head of a primary school and he has been pushing performance related pay for years as he has come across far too many teachers who have become lazy in their teaching practices.

You can't force parents to prepare their children for school because sadly our society doesn't reward responsibility. Not all children have the mental capacity to learn at the same rate or retain the same amount of knowledge which is why schools separate them into sets and the intelligent children succeed and the not so intelligent progress at an acceptable level.
 

Southern Dad

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 23, 2010
1,532
547
Shady Dale, Georgia
You can't force parents to prepare their children for school because sadly our society doesn't reward responsibility. Not all children have the mental capacity to learn at the same rate or retain the same amount of knowledge which is why schools separate them into sets and the intelligent children succeed and the not so intelligent progress at an acceptable level.
If only we were able to grade the parents. My 11-year-old daughter's fifth grade class has 16 students in it. This year I've been there about 20 days. I've met four of the parents. When my daughter attended George Walton Academy, I met all of the parents at least once during the year.
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
May 5, 2008
17,054
16,543
The Misty Mountains
I don't mean performance related pay judged on the results of children in exams but in terms of teachers bringing new techniques to a lesson. Unfortunately there are teachers who use the same lesson plans they were given in their training and use them year after year without expanding and trying anything new. A school should reward innovation with teaching and it would give teachers an incentive to teach well IMO. My brother in law in a deputy head of a primary school and he has been pushing performance related pay for years as he has come across far too many teachers who have become lazy in their teaching practices.

You can't force parents to prepare their children for school because sadly our society doesn't reward responsibility. Not all children have the mental capacity to learn at the same rate or retain the same amount of knowledge which is why schools separate them into sets and the intelligent children succeed and the not so intelligent progress at an acceptable level.
I believe innovation and competence is required, however I imagine issues with how performance is measured. Considering that the people who usually offer this think teachers are all ready overpaid, my perception is that performance pay is cited as more of a way to punish, than reward.
 

Southern Dad

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 23, 2010
1,532
547
Shady Dale, Georgia
I believe innovation and competence is required, however I imagine issues with how performance is measured. Considering that the people who usually offer this think teachers are all ready overpaid, my perception is that performance pay is cited as more of a way to punish, than reward.
I'm afraid that performance based pay encourages "Teaching the Test". When I was in elementary school we had a kid who used to ask something was going to be on the test. I remember Sister Kathleen telling him that she would teach the subject and then the test should be a piece of cake.

The truth is there are only two things tested on all these CRCT tests. Mathematics and Reading Comprehension. They have a section called History but it isn't history when I give you a paragraph about George Washington and then ask you to answer five multiple guess questions about it. I remember when we learned to name the Presidents in order. When we knew all 50 states and their capitals. Remember the Periodic Table?
 

EvilQueen

macrumors 6502
Aug 15, 2013
261
21
In my own world
Are teachers really poorly paid when comparing apples to apples? Looking at the hourly pay for the teachers in my local school district and doing the math, it changes perspective on whether teachers are really poorly paid. Would it surprise you to find out that teachers are paid $30 per hour? How about $40 per hour? What about $50 per hour or more???

Looking at the Grade 1 - Grade 5 teachers in my daughter's school district:

2 Teachers are making over $60 per hour
25 Teachers are making between $50 - $59.99
124 Teachers are making between $40 - $49.99
89 Teachers are making between $30 - $39.99
You aren't comparing apples to apples.
 

bradl

macrumors 601
Jun 16, 2008
4,006
11,823
Are teachers really poorly paid when comparing apples to apples? Looking at the hourly pay for the teachers in my local school district and doing the math, it changes perspective on whether teachers are really poorly paid. Would it surprise you to find out that teachers are paid $30 per hour? How about $40 per hour? What about $50 per hour or more???

Looking at the Grade 1 - Grade 5 teachers in my daughter's school district:

2 Teachers are making over $60 per hour
25 Teachers are making between $50 - $59.99
124 Teachers are making between $40 - $49.99
89 Teachers are making between $30 - $39.99
For comparison the same school district has 15 Principals.

8 are paid over $80 per hour
3 are paid $70 - $79.99 per hour
4 are paid $65.75 - $69.99 per hour
Very good topic, and I'm glad you brought this up.

Without getting the numbers, I'd say you're on par with this.

I'll ask my mother about this, since she started teaching in 1970 as an high school English teacher, and retired 4 years ago as a high school principal. They recently considered her as a candidate for superintendent of the school district in my hometown (a district I obviously graduated from), plus was one of the midwest representatives for the NEA.

Now that she's out, I'll ask what her starting and ending salary was. Doing this over a 40 year span, albeit it being similar to a comparison between Fuji apples and pink lady apples (inflation, dollar value over 40 years, etc.).

BL.
 

EvilQueen

macrumors 6502
Aug 15, 2013
261
21
In my own world
That is why I used The Walton County School District specifically. I took the exact amount that they were paid for 2013, counted an 8 hour day even though the school hours are only 7 hours and each teacher gets an hour break.
Hour "break"? You mean their prep/conference period. The hour that they use to make calls, meet with parents, meet with students, meet with admin, clean up and get ready for the next class, go to the bathroom, order supplies, distribute fundraising items, put in maintenance requests for things that get broke in the day to day, deal with discipline meetings, make photocopies, answer 100 emails and contribute to IEP's.

Then they need to find the time to do the gobs of paperwork that the state and feds require, do all the grading for what.....6 classes, 30 kids....180 students. Not mention get the next lessons ready for the next day and it doesn't take into account the events that teachers are "expected" but not contractually required to go to or the many many teachers that volunteer or get assigned to student groups with special activities.

When is most of that done? After school on the teachers' own time. I don't know a single teacher that when the bell rings, they go home and are done. Not a single one. And I know a bunch.

These teachers that I am using in the example are Grade 1 - Grade 5. There shouldn't be a whole lot of prep and grading. The school is pretty high tech and uses a lot of electronics. Curriculum is standard across the grades at each school.
This single statement tells your story. You have no clue about what it takes to run a classroom every day. Not a whole lot of prep for 1-5 grade? HAHAHA. Those are the grades that usually have the MOST prep, grading, paperwork, government reporting, parent meetings and discipline issues.
 

Southern Dad

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 23, 2010
1,532
547
Shady Dale, Georgia
Hour "break"? You mean their prep/conference period. The hour that they use to make calls, meet with parents, meet with students, meet with admin, clean up and get ready for the next class, go to the bathroom, order supplies, distribute fundraising items, put in maintenance requests for things that get broke in the day to day, deal with discipline meetings, make photocopies, answer 100 emails and contribute to IEP's.
Okay, but to be fair I counted the hour break as on the clock time and didn't remove it from my calculations.

Then they need to find the time to do the gobs of paperwork that the state and feds require, do all the grading for what.....6 classes, 30 kids....180 students. Not mention get the next lessons ready for the next day and it doesn't take into account the events that teachers are "expected" but not contractually required to go to or the many many teachers that volunteer or get assigned to student groups with special activities.
This discussion is about Grade 1 - Grade 5 teachers. They have between 15 - 20 students and do not have multiple classes per day.

When is most of that done? After school on the teachers' own time. I don't know a single teacher that when the bell rings, they go home and are done. Not a single one. And I know a bunch.

This single statement tells your story. You have no clue about what it takes to run a classroom every day. Not a whole lot of prep for 1-5 grade? HAHAHA. Those are the grades that usually have the MOST prep, grading, paperwork, government reporting, parent meetings and discipline issues.
I just have to disagree with this one. I know many teachers in this particular school district. I will tell you this, we have NO teacher slots open. The school district is now sought after by teachers because of the shorter calendar.