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Education Does Pay Off



February 29, 2008 – Comments (8)

There is an article about improved learning outcomes in Ontario, enormously improved outcomes.

BC and Ontario have very different resources for education for high school, at least from my perspective. 

Older teachers in BC talk about I guess the glory days for education.  Teacher's taught 3 blocks, 3.75 hours per day, and they had classroom support for students who needed extra support for 1.25 hours per day.  BC students did well.

Cuts came along, before I was a teacher, and BC changed that teachers teach 3.75 hours one day, and 5 hours the next.  It meant that "maximum" teaching load for a high school teacher went from 180 students to 210 students, and there was no longer extra classroom support for students.  For each hour you teach, when you are very experienced, there is about a hour of work outside of the classroom.  For new teachers it can be as much as 3 hours outside the classroom. 

I think teachers have the worst deal of any industry for how pay works for inexperienced workers compared to experienced workers.  If you go work at industry X and you don't know the industry and your work output is half the guy that has been working for the industry for 10 years, well, the industry is paying you buy the hour, so you get 8 hours of pay and hence the reduced pay for inexperienced workers is justified.

Teachers teach the same number of classes and students from the beginning and where industry absorbs the cost of inexperience in other occupations, teachers absorb 100% of the cost of inexperience.  It simply isn't uncommon for new teachers to be working 70 hour work weeks.  I've worked 80 hour work-weeks for two months straight.  Think that's good for kids?  No other profession has 40% leaving in the 1st five years and what a load of crap that it has to be a special calling.  The workload is simply beyond reasonable and the isn't that great.

Teachers in BC say they work an average of 51 hours per week.  Teachers are over worked and opening their classrooms for extra help just doesn't happen much in an overworked environment.  It especially doesn't happen with the amount of public bashing teachers get, yet they know they are putting equivalent to 25% of their pay into philanthropic work.  My pay for hours worked has worked out to as low at $10/hour and when I cut back my hours so it worked out to about $18/hour I was viewed as a lazy teacher.  I simply would not advise anyone to go into teaching the pay, expectations and appreciation, at least in BC, are beyond reasonable. 

The starting pay is 62% of the pay people think teachers make, as the top pay is all that is ever reported in the, and it takes 11 years to get to that top pay.  When you average the wage over a career, teachers that get their own classroom right away make about 8% less than what is stated in the media, and if you average in those average two years of under employment when teachers first start, well, the average wage is about 10% less.  I calculated salary grid for other occupations and on average, workers make 2% less than the top wage on the grid over a lifetime career when you take into consideration the reduced pay for new workers.  In BC nurses had the second highest pay grid for reducing average wages, it was 3%.  

Ontario has class size limits that limit the maximum teaching load to about 170 students and teachers teach 3 blocks per day, not the 3-4 block rotation like in BC.  Ontario had cuts where they went to the 3-4 block rotation and what is reported in the story is the improvements in students from going back to 3 blocks per day.  Teachers there also make about 17% more and home prices are about 20% less.

In BC average home price to starting wage for teachers is about 13 times the wage.

8 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On February 29, 2008 at 11:15 AM, EScroogeJr (< 20) wrote:

80 hours a week? Welcome to the Gulag!

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#2) On February 29, 2008 at 11:38 AM, abitare (29.59) wrote:

For teacher morale there is Taylor Mali:


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#3) On February 29, 2008 at 11:53 AM, madcowmonkey (< 20) wrote:

I taught for 2 years recently and it sucked a fatty. The only time I liked be a teacher was during the summer, christmas, and spring break. There is no cure for the future teachers. They are in an industry that doesn't make money and the outcome isn't all that great. Some states treat their teachers well, with health care and other benefits, but it will never make up for the fact that new teachers cannot keep up with the work load. I had 35 kids in each class with 5 classes a day and I was teaching mathematics to High Schoolers. Some of the students hadn't passed the 2 previous classes, yet they were moved along like cattle to the next. Eahhhhh, whatever, I will not be back in that profession for a long time to never. Now they are looking for more male teachers to come teach. Yeah right.

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#4) On February 29, 2008 at 12:03 PM, Zanibel17 (91.70) wrote:

Wow, abiterecatania.

I had never heard of Taylor Mali before.  Thanks for that clip.  It was great.

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#5) On February 29, 2008 at 12:09 PM, LordZ wrote:

HMMm shouldnt you be teaching right now ??

The nice thing about teaching is while you get older,

the students age remains the same...


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#6) On February 29, 2008 at 12:44 PM, charlesblazer (30.59) wrote:

The three ancient "professions" were Doctor, Lawyer, and Clergy.  They were "professions" because, back then, these people were dedicating (professing) their lives to attaining higher knowledge to benefit their fellow man, without expectation of personal profit.  It was seen as a huge and honorable sacrifice.

Oh, how times have changed.  I would argue that Doctors and Clergy are still worthy of being called professions.  Lawyers have long lost the way.  And we have been remiss in failing to recognize Teaching as a "profession" in society today -- a true "profession," deserving the same high standards, respect, and remuneration currently given to Doctors and Lawyers.

Like it or not, we tend to admire Doctors and Lawyers, perhaps for triumphing over enormous obstacles that many of us would never dare to face -- medical school, law school, medical boards, the bar exam, etc.  Parents beam with pride when they announce to strangers, "My son is a Doctor."  It is a unique pride - a unique respect - and you know what I'm talking about.

Sadly, that same pride - that same respect - is missing when a parent says, "My son is a teacher."  There is still pride, but it's different.  It is the difference between what society considers a "profession" (Doctor) and a job (teacher).

Yet Teachers have dedicated (professed) their lives to attaining higher knowledge to benefit their fellow man, without expectation of personal profit.  It is a huge and honorable sacrifice.  And how many of us would dare to take responsibility for the education of thirty 14-year-olds?  Teaching is a profession.

It's time we recognized this.  It's time to expect as much from our Teachers as we expect from our Doctors.  And it's time we paid them as much, too.  You heard me.  Higher standards, higher pay, and maybe (finally) Teachers will get the respect they deserve.

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#7) On February 29, 2008 at 9:47 PM, beatmonger (98.24) wrote:

I begin my student teaching on Monday. High school freshmen. The Taylor Mali poem and Charles' comment above me are the only positive things I've heard since I began my preparation a year ago.


Maybe I'm out of my mind, but I guess I won't know until I try. 



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#8) On February 29, 2008 at 10:17 PM, dwot (28.88) wrote:

EScrooge, What's a Gulag? (and should I ask that question...)  I just thought about when I was teaching in Britain and a male 15 or so year old student said, "my dad's a wank."  Me, having never heard that term before asks "what's a wank?"  So not the question to ask in a class of predominately teenage boys...

Another video...  I just just don't have bandwidth to watch video north of 60 degrees here...  By the comments I will try to watch it.

madcow, I don't the public appreciates how much school has changed since they were in school and teachers lost the power for proper discipline when parents fail, the power to hold students back who do not do their work or summer school, when so many bad mouth teachers and so on.  Inclusion is a disaster in the classroom for all student except the one that wouldn't have been there in the past.  I've got kids from kindergarten to grade 8 skills in a single classroom and I'm supposed to design a lesson to meet all their needs?  Their needs are so diverse, they all need help and attention at the same time. 

Gee Lordz, did it ever occur to you that we don't all live in the same time zone.  I did the post before I headed to school. 

Charles, I think a lot of wages need to come up to be reasonable and become in line with doctors and lawyers.

beatmonger, it will be more work than you ever imagined and you will wonder if you are doing something wrong for it to take so long. The rewards are great when you make a difference in a kids life, however, in many places it has gotten to the point that you can't enjoy any kind of reasonable standard of living.  I have a friend teaching in the US and she says she gets about $30k per year and her rent is $800/month.  That's about 1/3rd of gross just to pay for shelter.

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