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Teachers: Underpaid and Overworked
According to a recent survey, the average teacher works over 50 hours a week. Long hours combined with high stress, little pay, and low respect from parents explain why morale is low among K-12 educators.
Last year, we wrote a NewsWire on which industries have the highest burnout rates. (See “Which Industries Report the Highest Levels of Burnout?”) And we found that K-12 educators topped the burnout list. Now a new survey by the Rand Corporation explores what exactly makes teachers so unhappy.
Let’s explore the top factors.
Hours: Only 24% of teachers are satisfied with the number of hours they work, compared to 55% of all workers. While most teachers are only contracted to work 40 hours, the average educator puts in 53 hours a week during the school year.
Pay: Only 34% of teachers are satisfied with their base salary, compared to 61% of all workers. The average teacher salary is $67K, with the bottom quartile making less than $52K and the top quartile making more than $78K.
Summer: Sure, teachers are supposed to get summers off. But nowadays many must spend their Junes and Julys developing curriculum and maintaining their credentials. Moreover, little pay drives a third of all teachers to pick up extra gigs: 32% of teachers get a non-school summer job and make, on average, $3.7K.
To be sure, long hours and low pay have always been a challenge for teachers. But these stressors have been exacerbated by new realities: lack of respect from parents, administrators who want to “teach to tests,” worries about school shootings, and politicians who fight the culture war in their classrooms. These problems don’t show signs of going away, and I suspect teacher shortages will only worsen.
Did You Know?
How Old Is Too Old? Age has already become a central focal point of the 2024 presidential election: Trump is 77 years old, and Biden is 80. According to a new CBS News/YouGov survey, 77% of Americans believe there should be a "maximum age limit for elected officials." And this belief is bipartisan: 76% of Dems and 79% of Reps want age limits. Americans' largest concerns for politicians over age 75 are the ability to perform the job (78%) and the "risk of being out of touch with the times" (80%). So what age is too old? 22% believe the max age limit should be 60, 45% 70, and 18% 80.
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