Dear Skiff Editors,
I was confused and a little annoyed this morning when I opened my paper to a piece entitled “Teachers already well-off in salary.” I became more upset as I continued to read the article. I found Mr. Lauck’s opinion predictably stereotypical of what teachers have been battling for decades, starting with his presumption that teachers “wish [they] made more money.”
Sure, Mr. Lauck found a statistic that the average teacher salary in America is between $47,100-$51,180. Let’s stop to think about this average. Did you know that many high school football coaches make over $100,000 per year? In fact, many coaches and other extra-curricular teachers make far more than their academic counterparts due to the large amount of extra time spent at school. If my understanding of calculating an average is correct, those few high numbers drive the average up considerably. In fact, according to teacherportal.com,the average teacher salary in Texas is $41,744 and the average starting salary is $33,775. While this number may still be above the average American wage, the question remains if it is enough.
I would also like to address Mr. Lauck’s suggestion that teachers get a lot of time off. Officially, yes, teachers have the summer off. But all teachers spend the summer preparing lesson plans, creating new games and activities and generally getting ready for the fall. I also know a lot of teachers that spend the summers attending workshops to become better teachers. As a future teacher I plan on being like all of the teachers I had in school, missing only in the event of family emergencies and very sick children. I can probably count the number of substitute teachers I had in middle and high school on my fingers and toes. In seven years with over 40 teachers that’s not a lot of missed school.
But the question still comes, with all this in mind, do teachers get paid enough? It all comes down to your opinion of the value of education. Is the future of America worth just above the average salary? I don’t think so. I think for preparing the future leaders of this world, the future work force, the FUTURE, teachers deserve as much as we can give them and certainly well above average. I’ve always said that I think the people who should be paid most in the world aren’t athletes and movie stars, but doctors and teachers.
To alleviate any worry of bias, yes, I will be a teacher this time next year. But because I will teach secondary music I’ll be making well above the average starting salary and certainly enough for me. I am not worried for myself, but for my friends who will be making so much less than me but working just as hard. I am concerned for Mr. and Mrs. Metcalf who were both teachers at my high school and who both made less than I will this time next year. They have two kids to put through college. And I’m worried that the general lack of respect that teachers receive from the rest of the work force will result in the continued decline of education in America. Don’t believe the part about lack of respect? Go to an education class and ask how many students have been told they’re wasting promising talent to teach. It’s usually over half of the students in my classes.
Finally, Mr. Lauck, if you think teaching sounds more pleasant than sitting in a cubicle, I suggest you change your major and get out there and try it. Let me know what you think.