Most individuals would not do what Elisabeth Coate Milich did. In a society where we don’t generally discuss our money and earnings in public, an Arizona schoolteacher chose to put her pay stub on social media for everyone to see in order to make a point about the salary teachers get.
Milich intended to demonstrate that, despite all of the education necessary to become a teacher, she and her colleagues do not receive a decent income. Milich’s Facebook post, which was deleted due to the nasty comments she got, highlighted that she only earned a $131 rise in a year when her pay increased from $35,490 to $35,621.
She actually laughed when she saw the old salary versus the new one, Milich said in her article. Does she need a college degree to do this? She understands she is not making much money, but when she sees it in black and white, she is like, ‘wow!’ She truly likes teaching, but the pay is insufficient to support a family.
Milich, who has worked in education for many years and is presently a second-grade teacher at Whispering Wind Academy in Phoenix, told that she considered whether or not to share her salary. Finally, she determined that she wished to depict what a teaching salary in her state really looks like, although Milich’s illustration is bleaker than most.
Although Arizona has among the lowest-paid public school teachers in the country, the average pay for those educators is not the $35,621 shown on Milich’s pay stub. According to National Education Association Research, the average income is $47,218 per year, which is still low when compared to the national average of $58,353 per year.
While those figures seem to be considerably better than the image Milich’s photo depicted, she made it clear that instructors are often forced to pay for student materials such as markers and tape without getting rewarded. She’s also still paying off her school debts, despite the fact that she graduated from college 20 years ago.
Milich says she’d be in a horrible situation if it weren’t for her husband’s wage, and she knows this since some of her colleagues don’t have the luxury of a second family income. Milch added that her teacher friends that she works with work three and four jobs just to make ends meet. She knows teachers who teach kindergarten all day and then go work as waitresses at Applebee’s.
If one is a single person trying to make ends meet on what they make, one couldn’t do it, she stated, and statistics seem to show she’s right about teaching being an unsustainable career. In reality, according to 2017 research conducted by Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy, teacher recruitment and retention in Arizona are at “crisis” levels. According to the report, 42% of Arizona teachers employed in 2013 left the profession after three years, and the state’s primary school teachers are among the lowest paid in the nation.
Of course, there is another side to this story. While teachers complain about their pay, many people point out that they do not work the same number of days as other full-time professionals, thus they should not expect to be paid the same full-time earnings. But, do instructors really work less?
Using data from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), Profit of Education created a chart that shows how many days a year teachers work on-the-clock compared to “professional and related” jobs with 10 years of experience. As you can see, teachers have roughly 50 fewer on-the-clock workdays, or more than 20% fewer, than those in the private sector.
Obviously, this does not account for the work teachers undertake “off-the-clock,” and there is no way to tell how much time they spend working in their spare time. Those figures would be self-reported and unverifiable, with large variations across individuals. Even so, with 20% more time off and a salary of over $60,000 (the real national average), teaching and the remuneration don’t seem that awful.
Then there are the supplies, but there is another side to that discussion. Many parents on different postings concerning Milich’s compensation were quick to point out that parents shoulder a significant portion of that load, purchasing copious supplies in response to instructors’ highly specific demands. So, once again, this would be dependent on the person. While some instructors spend a lot of money on their classroom, others don’t spend anything at all.
We provide the information; you make the decision. Are our teachers underpaid, or is it because they work fewer hours than other full-time professions? In any case, I believe there is one point on which we can all agree. The most important jobs in a safe, productive, and happy American society can never be compensated enough.
To name a few, firefighters, police officers, EMTs, nurses, military service members, and teachers provide essential services to their communities. How can such vital labor be adequately compensated? It just cannot be measured in monetary terms. That’s why, for most individuals who pick these careers, it’s not about the money; they do it for reasons money can’t buy, and we admire them for it.