Friday 4ALL: Pay a Teacher Like a Babysitter

We’ve all received some form of the “pay a teacher like a babysitter” piece in our email inboxes at some point. For those of you who have not read the short essay, it goes something like this:

Teachers Get Paid TOO Much!

Teachers get paid TOO much…I’m fed up with teachers and their hefty salary schedules. What we need here is a little perspective.

If I had my way, I’d pay these teachers myself-I’d pay them babysitting wages. That’s right-instead of paying these outragous taxes, I’d give them $3 an hour out of my own pocket. And I’m only going to pay them for five hours, not coffee breaks. That would be $15 a day. Each parent should pay
$15 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their child. Even if they have more than one child, it’s still a lot cheaper than private day care.

Now, how many children do they teach every day-maybe 20? That’s $15 x 20 = $300 a day. But remember, they only work 180 days a year! I am not going to pay them for all those vacations! $300 x 180 = $54,000. (Just a minute, I think my claculator needs new batteries.)

I know now you teachers will say-what about those who have 10 years experience and a mster’s degree? Well, maybe (to be fair) they could get the minimum wage, and instead of just baby-sitting, they could read the kids a story. We could round that off to aobut $5 an hour, times five hours, times 20 children. That’s $500 a day times 180 days. Thaht’s $90,000…HUH?!?

I am not sure where it originated from, but some sources suggest it was originally published in an NEA magazine. There are variations with adjustments for inflation or more realistic class sizes, but the math usually tells the same story: Teachers are actually underpaid.

This is not meant to be a political rant. It should just be pointed out that the work teachers do is more than babysitting. I think people of all political backgrounds can agree on that. Even if it was “just babysitting” (a valuable service in its own right – usually worth more than $3 an hour), teachers are relatively underpaid and under-appreciated.

Zac Early is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center where he enjoys his work with teachers. He also taught for ten years in public schools and is the son of a teacher.