Having a career as a teacher definitely has its merits. Being able to shape the minds of the youth that are slowly coming up and will eventually be replacing us in society someday is an important job to have.
The opportunities presented us to possibly change the future through interaction with students should be looked at as a privilege. There is no greater reward than making a positive impact on a student’s life where they seemingly were going nowhere at first, but after some support from you, they have their whole life to look forward to now. This is exactly why all of us went into the teaching field in the first place.
However, one can’t live on good deeds alone. All of us knew when we entered into the world of education, that the pay would not be great. Unless you taught at the college or university level, it could be tough to make a proper living. In fact, on top of this, it is common practice for elementary teachers to be paid less than secondary teachers. You may enjoy working with little children, but your bank account may not like it so much.
What Can You Do?
Unfortunately, many teachers have to have a second job to make ends meet. They just can’t afford to make a living off of one low salary. It is a sad moment when you realize that you could be earning more money by flipping burgers or by doing something similar. These jobs don’t require a college education and yet they pay about as much.
Ask for a Raise
However, most educators just don’t have the extra time in their schedule to work a second job. Getting to school early and leaving late is often the life of a teacher. Who has time to work another job on top of this? This leaves asking for a raise your only chance to make more money.
How to Go About Asking for that Needed Raise
When asking for a raise, you must present it to the administration like you are teaching a lesson in your classroom. Present it to them in printed format and demonstrate why you must have more money coming in. Show them your expenses and inform them how your current salary is just not meeting your needs. If they do not seem to be taking your request seriously, you may have to wonder aloud if you will have to leave the teaching field or find another teaching job that pays more. If you are a well-respected teacher in the district, they may take your threat seriously. But be aware that if they do not look at you as a valuable employee, they might look at it as a threat to ignore or an offer to be accepted.
Sometimes It Can Be Out of the Administrators’ Hands
In many districts, salary is supposedly not negotiable. Just like there is a curriculum map in the district letting educators know what their students are expected to learn each year, there is many times a salary map as well showing just how much each teacher will be paid based on the number of years they have been teaching, any extracurriculars they are in charge of, and whether they have their bachelor’s degree or master’s degree. This salary schedule is in place to keep teachers from asking for raises.
However, it doesn’t mean that it is right and should be unquestioned. If you know you are more valuable to the school than other educators that are earning more, then you can always go out and see if you can get what you’re worth. It is a fine line to walk though. Is having a low paying job at the moment better than having no job at all? You might want to cover all of your bases and have another job opportunity lined up before issuing salary demands. All of us did not get into teaching to become rich, but we should at least be able to support our family and keep them out of poverty.
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