Insufficient pay does not reflect teachers’ hard work

Teachers are stretched too thin with an overwhelming amount of students and minimal compensation.

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Photo by Gisella Escobar

It is difficult for teachers to focus on individual students when they are bombarded with countless responsibilities on a daily basis.

Story by Ariana Jorden, Staff Writer

     Teachers all around the globe have struggled to make ends meet with the shortage of funding they are provided and even the lack of respect they receive. Walkouts were staged on numerous occasions to protest for higher salaries, more benefits, and smaller class sizes. It was in March of 2019 that teachers of the Escondido Union School District, joined by parents and students, appeared at a board meeting to demand higher pay for educators. Moreover, educators of the San Marcos Unified School District also appeared at a board meeting in April of 2019, to demand a new contract regarding negotiations. Teachers often work long hours and it is unfortunate that their dedication may sometimes go unnoticed. Lesson preparation, grading, and reviewing materials take up a substantial amount of time outside of school and they are not paid enough for it. Larger class sizes also place a greater workload on teachers’ shoulders, and it calls for greater teacher compensation.

If students aren’t given enough resources, they won’t be able to perform to the best of their abilities. With limited expenses comes limited capabilities,”

— Nikolina Katanic (11)

       “Can’t put students first, if you put teachers last!” educators chanted at the meeting, many holding up posters displaying their point.

       It’s not uncommon for a passerby or a neighbor to be struggling financially. In fact, according to Eric Rosenbaum of CNBC, millions of Americans are only a mere $400 away from financial instability. This means that just the difference of $400 can greatly alter someone’s living situation if they are unable to pay their monthly expenses.

        Insufficient pay in education is a result of many things, and inadequate funds to account for larger classes and lack of materials appear to be the biggest factors. Drastic budget cuts play a significant role in this issue, and students’ futures are affected just as much as their teachers are.

   “If students aren’t given enough resources, they won’t be able to perform to the best of their abilities. With limited expenses comes limited capabilities,” Nikolina Katanic (11) said. 

      The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the average teacher earns about $55,000 a year. This is varied based on education level, location, years of experience and the type of school. Some U.S. teachers have had to be working other jobs aside from teaching, just to be able to make it through each month. This is a reality for too many teachers, and could potentially become a reality for even more.

      It may surprise one to find out that some of America’s teachers have even qualified for public assistance. Even university professors with the highest degrees have come forward and claimed that they struggle nonetheless, which is definitely concerning. 

   AP Government teacher and Yearbook Advisor, Mrs. Miller, although not disagreeing with claims that teachers should be paid adequately for their work, believes that teachers are not in the profession for the money aspect.

   “The work we do is not for our own personal gain, but for the betterment of our students’ lives and futures. We are drawn to education because we value knowledge and opportunity over material wealth and worldly possessions. That being said, teachers are still just normal people who are raising families and are trying to pay the bills. If we want to attract and retain the best and brightest educators, we better be sure to pay them accordingly,” Miller said.