I love being a teacher, I won't lie. I love both the work itself and the amount of vacation time I have. But, there is one aspect of my job that is a bit less than stellar-the pay.
The average teacher nationwide makes almost $44,000, and I'm right around there. Certainly, for the amount of education involved in becoming a teacher and maintaining a certificate, the salary is very low. Many teachers have a Masters degree, and some states require them. Certainly when I taught in Massachusetts, I needed a Masters degree to walk in the door of the classroom. Now I'm in Florida, where a Masters is not required, but more than half of the people I teach with have one. That means, on average, teachers have been to six years of college. Many teachers have mountains of student loan debt that they will be paying off well into their second decade teaching. I was lucky to avoid that pitfall, but would I love a bigger paycheck? Sure.
Am I willing to trade my job for it? No way.
One great thing about teaching is the job stability. Honestly, as long as people keep having babies, teachers will be needed to educate them. No matter where I go, I am employable. That means if my husband gets transferred to Alabama, or Alaska, or Arizona, I am able to get a job with a minimum amount of hassle.
Another thing about teaching that makes it more financially worth it is the summer and holiday breaks. Do I love floating in the pool all summer while my friends work in offices? Yes. But they are making way more so I don't feel guilty. Also, having the summers off helps with my finances, in that I don't need to pay daycare for my children. At the cost of 100$ or more per child per week, daycare or summer camp for the summer would cost me more than $3,000. Add that to my annual salary, and that makes it closer to what the average person with my education is earning, not completely there yet, but closer.
Also, my schedule makes it so I don't need to pay before or after school care for my children. My sister, who works in internet marketing, pays more than $60 a week for her son's before and after school care. I figure it would cost me nearly $180 a week for my three children to go to before and after school care, which would be a whopping $6,480 per year.
My salary is looking better all the time.
Besides, I truly love my job. Sure, the testing can be tiresome, and the media loves to hate teachers. There is always a problem child-or three-in every class. However, nothing in the world can match the light in students' eyes when they finally understand a concept. And I still get a little thrill out of answering the "What do you do?" question, even eleven years later.
I love to tell people I am a teacher.
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