How much is a Teacher Worth?

An old African proverb is “It takes a village to raise a child” however in America it seems that the value of teachers in this village are far less important than the price of a gallon of gas or a career on Wall Street.

While I am the first to commend any society for its views on capitalism and a free business environment there is something more precious than the words “net income” and that is the responsibility we have to our children.

In many other well developed countries such as the UK, France and Canada becoming a teacher is a career. A lifelong commitment of educating and caring for other people’s children while parents get to follow their dreams and careers in the day time. If there are any people in this world to be truly thankful for it would be teachers however the downfall is we treat many of them like second class citizens.

How much do teachers earn?

According to, the average starting salary of a teacher in the United States is $34,712 which (after taxes and benefits) equals somewhere around $2,000 a month in net income. In fact this salary is almost equivalent to that of an administrative assistant yet he/she is not responsible for raising your child 30 hours of the week.

How much do teachers really net?

Most school boards have budget problems and teachers are commonly required to buy their own supplies in order to educate YOUR children. It’s absolutely unheard of in many countries and unacceptable by all standards. These minor costs can often add up to 5 or 10% of a teacher’s net income. While some may argue that teachers don’t have to spend money out of their own pocket the same people will be the first to complain if their child was the one without markers since there weren’t enough for everyone.

Last Christmas a teacher I know was actually given a photocopy card with 100 copies as a Christmas bonus from a principal who clearly thought there was value in this. Is this an example of how much some teachers even respect their own jobs? Has the public educational system completely failed us?

Personally, I think we have failed the educational system and not the other way around. Our children are bright, genius at times, but can they excel to their fullest when the teachers’ lounge is full of people trying to pay their phone bill.

“It’s not about teaching kids to graduate – it’s about teaching our next generation to be better than we are”

How much can a teacher afford?

Some will draw comparison between their jobs and teachers but no parent can argue that the value of the right teacher is priceless – certainly much more than $34,712 a year. A simple mortgage calculator will tell you that an individual with a salary of around $35,000, and typical vehicle and car insurance bills, can’t really afford any more than $150,000 for a home.

This is great news for young persons considering a teaching career since not only do they have to worry about student loan debt but now try and save up money for a down payment and find a house on a salary which doesn’t even compete with the median sales price of a home ($213,800 in March 2011)

At least there’s no worry about teachers moving anytime soon.

How much is a teacher worth?

Personally I think a teacher is worth a lot more than a Senator where the average salary is $174,000 but obviously that’s not realistic. A starting salary over $50,000 (and more for higher cost of living areas) is not a lot to ask for however and this would be in line with many jobs today.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) the top 10 majors with the most job offers and the top 10 majors with the highest paid salaries didn’t even have an educational major included. Sales, investment banking, engineering, computer science, accounting – practically anything but a teacher and these all have average starting salaries well over $40,000 annually, most exceeding $50,000.

Can we afford to pay our teachers more?

Of course we can. We may be $14 trillion in debt but there are 3 things you spend on no matter how much it costs – healthcare, education and defence.

If General Motors can find a way to pay no income tax and Bank of America can get a $1 Billion tax refund can’t someone in the government find a way to maybe allow a teacher to afford a home?

It would make for a better village.