Earlier in the day, President Joe Biden held a ceremony at the White House to recognize teachers from all around the nation. In addition to the pandemic, teachers have had a difficult few years since their salaries do not go as far as they used to.
According to a new analysis from the country’s biggest teachers’ organization, the National Education Association, the take-home pay for teachers has not kept pace with inflation. In addition, becoming a teacher comes with a variety of expenses.
Susquehannock High School in Pennsylvania pays Terri Hebel slightly under $15 an hour as a math teaching assistant.
According to her, the situation is “a bit hard to stomach” since “essentially what we have are kids who are earning more money at their work than we are.”
According to Hebel, some high school kids may earn $19 an hour working at a neighborhood convenience shop. Since she’s been working full time for six years, she’s used her own money to fill the classroom with Rice Krispies Treats and pretzels so that students can concentrate on their geometry problems.
“So that when kids are hungry … you know, if they want water, oh, here’s a bottle of water. We’re giving them water. We’re giving them snacks,” she said.
Hebel’s hourly income has not kept pace with the rise in the price of such snacks over the last year. It is determined by a collective bargaining agreement that is renegotiated every few years.
According to National Education Association president Becky Pringle, a labor organization with 3 million members, including Terri Hebel, “we as a profession have not kept pace with other professions.”
According to Pringle, teachers are frequently priced out of the places where they work since their wages are lower than those of other Americans with equivalent education and experience.
Teachers are increasingly finding themselves unable to reside near their places of employment due to exorbitant housing expenses, according to her observations.
The cost of living has gone up, but some instructors haven’t absorbed the full impact of inflation and their student loans. They haven’t had to make any payments for their student loans since they are on hold until the end of August.
“You could have a student loan payment that was $400 a month and you don’t have to pay it right now. So it may feel to many teachers like they might be flush with cash, but this is also temporary,” said Marguerite Roza, who directs the Edunomics Lab at Georgetown.
While young teachers are most likely to leave the profession, they are also the most likely to take out loans.