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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Teaching May Be the Secret to a Good Life

By Brandon Busteed, Executive Director of Gallup Education, and Dr. Shane Lopez, Gallup Senior Scientist

Imagine what life would be like if we started choosing our jobs based on the wellbeing they provide us. According to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, a career in teaching may be the secret to the good life. Never mind the media reports that make teaching in America look like a horrible job, it may be one of the best careers for a person’s wellbeing.

Out of 14 major career categories, teachers are No. 2 in overall wellbeing, trailing only physicians.  Teachers have high wellbeing because they rate their lives highly and are in great emotional health, which are two key subcomponents of wellbeing. In those two categories, teachers also rank No. 2, beating out professional workers, nurses, business owners, and managers and executives, among others.

With more than half of U.S. teachers set to retire in the next decade, it’s estimated that we will need roughly 2 million new teachers in this timeframe. Our country desperately needs to build a talent pipeline large enough to fill these positions. We have 10 years to get 2 million young people excited about teaching. Importantly, the case for a career in teaching is now even stronger.

Gallup and Healthways define wellbeing as all of the things that are important to how we think about and experience our lives. Contrary to what many think, it is not simply a measure of health and wealth. In fact, Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman and Princeton economist Angus Deaton have found that happiness does not increase with annual income after reaching the $75,000 mark. Unfortunately, most young people today don’t seem to understand this. When asked why they want to go to college, an all-time high of nearly 75% of incoming freshmen in 2012 said “to be able to make more money,” according to UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute.

A career in teaching may not rank high in the minds of most college students, especially those seeking big salaries. But all that may soon change if young people realize the real secret to a good life.

Teachers beat out investment bankers, consultants, accountants, engineers, sales professionals, and entrepreneurs on how they rate their lives overall. When thinking about their life on a scale of 0-10 -- with 0 being the worst possible life and 10 being the best possible life, teachers rate their lives higher than all other professions surveyed, except physicians. Further, teachers are No. 3 among the professions surveyed in terms of saying they get to “use their strengths and do what they do best every day.”

Teachers are also a happy bunch. They are the most likely of all professions to say they “smiled or laughed a lot yesterday,” and the most likely to report experiencing “happiness” and “enjoyment” yesterday. What’s more, teachers rank No. 2 in saying they “learn or do something new” each day. These findings are both stunning and inspiring. If asked, it is doubtful many of us would have guessed that teachers were on the top of the wellbeing hill. At a time when America is struggling to evolve its K12 and higher education systems to better adapt to teaching 21st century skills, utilizing technology, and competing on a global playing field, there is nothing more critical to that effort than great teachers. And that starts with getting the most talented young people into the teaching profession.

Great teachers, as each of us can personally attest to, can change the trajectory of an individual student’s life and career. In large numbers, teachers can ultimately change the trajectory of human development, too. It is very likely that the lofty mission and purpose of teaching has something to do with teachers’ high overall wellbeing. They have jobs that -- although incredibly challenging -- allow them to reap incredible rewards in the form of young people realizing their potential, overcoming hurdles, and achieving goals and dreams. They get to see these results in tangible ways almost every single day. And, though teachers certainly don’t top the scale in annual income, they do enjoy stable salaries and benefits relative to the number of days worked per year.

Armed with these new findings about teacher wellbeing, it is time to launch our generation’s “man on the moon” campaign in America. This time it’s not a race to the moon, but a race far beyond -- to the limitless frontier of human potential. Our ambition should be to put a great teacher in every classroom. These data now point, not only to the societal benefits of teaching, but also the personal benefits for teachers themselves. And if we can turn this into a renewed sense of respect and admiration for teaching as a profession, we will undoubtedly send a shockwave of excitement and energy about teaching throughout the youth of America.

The only obstacle in our way, however, may be the workplace in schools themselves. Despite enjoying top marks in overall wellbeing, teachers rank toward the bottom (eighth out of 14) of the professions surveyed on one very important element of wellbeing: work environment. They rank sixth in saying their “supervisor treats me more like a partner than a boss.” And they are dead-last -- 14th, behind coal miners and truck drivers -- in saying their “supervisor always creates an environment that is trusting and open.” They are also dead-last in saying they were “treated with respect all day yesterday,” and experience the second-highest stress level across all occupations. And according to Gallup’s workplace engagement surveys, 31% of teachers are “engaged,” which ranks sixth overall behind farmers and fishermen, nurses, physicians, managers, and business owners. We have to fix this.

Clearly, these are important issues for school leaders to address in the workplace in order for teachers to reach their full potential. And it is absolutely critical to improve workplace engagement for teachers, because their engagement is the No. 1 predictor and driver of student engagement.

The positive news is we can fix this. It’s about finding better school leaders -- principals and superintendents. Great principals and superintendents, like great managers in any kind of organization, drive workplace engagement. And right now we have far too few great school leaders.

The education world is facing transformational forces and challenges that are unprecedented in its history. And in the middle of all the chaos, there is a very simple solution. That solution is people. Specifically, we need as many talented teachers and school leaders as we can get. It doesn’t matter how much money or technology or policy we throw at it, none of that will move the dial of school performance sufficiently, except for building the greatest teacher and principal talent machine the world has ever seen.

Calling all young Americans with teaching and leadership talent! Your time is now. You’ve never been as needed or more important -- and a life of high wellbeing is awaiting you in return.

For more details on these findings and survey methods, read U.S. Teachers Love Their Lives, but Struggle in the Workplace on Gallup.com.

66 comments:

Kate Chase said...
March 27, 2013 at 6:24 PM  

What an encouraging story. Thanks, Brandon! Old wisdom says "If you want to learn, teach." I wonder if there is a correlations between those who choose to become teachers and those who have "learner" in their upper strengths on StrengthsFinder.

Dara Feldman said...
March 27, 2013 at 6:42 PM  

It is refreshing to see something positive in the news about educators and education. For most of us, teaching is more than a profession, it is calling.

I invite us to be gentle with our school leaders and look through the lens of compassion and empathy, realizing that the skills it takes to be an outstanding teacher can be very different from those of being an outstanding school administrator. Being a principal is more like running a business than facilitating a classroom. Perhaps schools would benefit from a co-leadership approach by partnering MBAs and instructional leaders?

Young people are committed to making a difference, not just a dollar. Let's all make a commitment to focus on the heart of education and bring joy, meaning and purpose back to teaching and learning so today's youth will be inspired to become tomorrow's educators.

Tim Carver said...
March 27, 2013 at 7:33 PM  

Well stated, Brandon and Shane. Thank you for getting the word out about our great profession!! Tim Carver, Assistant Principal, Urbandale High School, Urbandale, Iowa

Anonymous said...
March 28, 2013 at 7:42 AM  

Well, I can only imagine how skewed this study is because teachers out there are ANGRY. They are scapegoated each and every day. Yes, we do laugh. But we also cry...a lot. Teaching can be a rewarding profession--not in money, but we do measure success by our students' growth and NOT their test score. Meanwhile, teachers are leaving the profession within the first 5 years.

Teachers want to teach, instead they are test-prepping. I doubt this study spoke to teachers who every day feel rejected and disrespected by the media, politicians, and the likes of Rhee, Gates and Duncan.

Chris Spiliotis said...
March 28, 2013 at 8:08 AM  

I love to teach, hence I've never "worked" a day in my 38 year career.

However, things have changed and I'm loathe to recommend a career in teaching anymore. Everyday, for the past dozen years here in Florida, has been a fight against the forces that would hobble, dismantle, and privatize public education.

My advice to prospective educators would be to join their local union and become a soldier in the battle for public education, if they desire the experience depicted in this piece.

Anonymous said...
March 28, 2013 at 8:12 AM  

I too would be curious who they surveyed for this-maybe they only talked to private school teachers. Every day is different and it is great to see kids succeed, but the fulfillment ends there.
The scapegoating by the media, the constant testing, watching kids hate education more and more because all they do is take tests, the low pay, the lack of autonomy, the hateful things said about public school teachers and how lazy and unaccountable they are... if teaching is such a rewarding career, then why the high turnover? Every young person I talk to that is considering teaching, I tell them they need to choose another profession.

Anonymous said...
March 28, 2013 at 8:29 AM  

Teaching is my calling, my passion, my gift from God. I cannot imgine anything else--27 years strong!

StandingCorrected said...
March 28, 2013 at 8:41 AM  

Unbelievable! Teachers are NOT HAPPY right now. Teachers ARE FURIOUS! The only reason you see them smiling is because they are professionals, and they won't take the way they feel about what is being done to their profession and inflict it on the children they are entrusted to teach. And as privatization, high stakes testings, and developmentally inappropriate practices are forced on them by string pulling profiteers and their legislative puppets, anyone with a speck of conscience WILL be getting out of the field. Those puppeteers and their puppets are turning the practice into a form of child abuse. NOT one teacher that I know is HAPPY about that.

Anonymous said...
March 28, 2013 at 8:47 AM  

I'm with Anonymous (March 28th, 7:42 AM). The daily scapegoating and demonization of teachers, the endless pressure for higher student test scores, the constant disrespect and belittling of teachers by politicians, people in society ("those who can't do, teach"), and in the media do not make for anything close to "well-being."

The attacks on teacher's unions, our collective bargaining rights, our pensions, our health care benefits, and our salaries don't exactly make us "happy," nor do all the school closings and the siphoning of public education funds for private school vouchers, endless new corporate programs, curricula and testing. Let's not forget to mention there's a complete lack of will on the part of many state politicians to actually do their job and adequately fund public education. They prefer to balance their state budgets on the backs of our students. I'd have much higher well-being if all of my students actually had books and supplies.

Being a teacher today is no cake walk, and most teachers I know want to quit or retire. Good luck getting others interested to fill our shoes, when most of us would tell anyone considering the profession...don't even think about it. We live in Real-World Education, not some Fantasy-Land Good Life.

Anonymous said...
March 28, 2013 at 9:25 AM  

Yeah, um, tell that to my friend that is a borderline alkie thanks to the stress she's under as a teacher.

Don't get me wrong. She likes molding young minds.. but all the b.s. that comes with it -yeah her paycheck winds up in a pint glass every night.

Anonymous said...
March 28, 2013 at 9:29 AM  

Teaching has it rewards----but unfortunately due to some of the reforms the joy in teaching has just been sucked right out of the profession. Have no idea who you surveyed but check with Indiana teachers. Enrollment in education at our universities is down due to what is happening.

stonetones58 said...
March 28, 2013 at 9:35 AM  

This must be from a bygone era. A time when teachers were allowed to really teach. To guide and then watch minds grow and develop.

Teaching has always been a "calling", to be sure, but with the political environment today causing most who aspire to be teachers to give up within 5 years, it really has to be a "calling".

Teachers are now being considered successful based on whether or not their students can properly recite the appropriate rubrics of the questions approved by people that know no more about how to teach a child than what it takes to fly to the next galaxy. Instructing students that way robs a teacher of the joy of watching a student learn to grow, create, discover, think through a problem and light up when the solution becomes clear.

Current "reforms" are causing really good teachers to retire too soon and discouraging a new generation of really good teachers into leaving their true "calling" for something else.

To the new generation of hopeful teachers I would suggest, you might want to try something else. However, if you still feel 'called', with the positive moments, expect to have to fight for the right to be respected. Expect to be called a failure, even as you watch a child, disadvantaged from poverty and their home life, finally have an 'A-HA!' moment.

Many people and organizations will claim to be on your side to help you along the road, but in truth, they will be working against you. There help and 'reforms' are political.

If you can take it, if you last more than the average 5 years, I applaud you for your persistence, and if you fall within in averages, I will grieve the loss for America.

Anonymous said...
March 28, 2013 at 10:11 AM  

With the constant attacks on teachers by the despicable likes of Mike Bloomberg, Michelle Rhee, Arne Duncan, et al,the privatization and charter school schemes, the rigging of the system against minority students, and firing teachers based on the test scores, which includes scores by learning disabled and non-English speaking students, why would ANY teacher say that they are satisfied with teaching?

Anonymous said...
March 28, 2013 at 10:21 AM  

Yes we laugh, but we also cry--a lot!!
We are disrespected by the media, pols, etc. Many teachers are leaving the profession within the first 5 years. Yes, teaching is rewarding especially when we see our students making progress that are NOT measured by test scores.

Godless Lib said...
March 28, 2013 at 10:47 AM  

How about "We have 10 years to get 2 million young and older people excited about teaching." I left my job in industry after 20 years and good money to get another degree and certification. There are more like me out there waiting to be found.

Anonymous said...
March 28, 2013 at 11:20 AM  

With the way things are going, the positions of retirees aren't being filled now. Districts aren't hiring and are laying off teachers. What makes you think that they will need to be filled? Logic? Not when you can put 45 kids in a classroom, say education reformers.

Anonymous said...
March 28, 2013 at 11:24 AM  

I'd like to see the poll that shows teachers and anti-depressant use because of job related stress.

Anonymous said...
March 28, 2013 at 1:01 PM  

Is it possible that teaching attracts people with positive attitudes?
Aren't you confusing correlation with causation? And, yes, I am a math teacher.

Kids do make you smile and laugh every day. But other than that, I can't say that my teaching career has done anything to increase my well-being.

No1Librarian said...
March 28, 2013 at 1:16 PM  

I am a teacher and when my daughter mentioned switching her major to education and my response was "Are you nuts" I would suggest however that you not scapegoat the administrators but the politicians. Put the blame where it belongs.

Anonymous said...
March 28, 2013 at 1:58 PM  

The belief that teachers do not receive above average compensation and benefit packages is a myth perpetuated by the unions. This myth has dissuaded many from entering into the field of teaching believing it does not pay. Do not believe the myth. I see teacher salaries from across the country and it is incredible what most are paid. 75 to 100k is common. Stop perpetuating the myth and start being real about pay and you will
attract talented teachers to enter the field.

Anonymous said...
March 28, 2013 at 3:15 PM  

I have to say that this seems to be true in the small community in Iowa in which I have a business. I pointed out to others how happy the teachers seem to be and how they are the only people who consistanly profess to loving their jobs.

CitizensArrest said...
March 28, 2013 at 4:22 PM  

Compensation above what average? Who thinks that teaching is an average profession that takes no skill, training or experience to do well? When you compare the actual responsibilities and time commitment teaching involves, the pay doesn't come close to similar jobs in the private sector. Doctors and lawyers have above average pay because they are worth it, just as teachers are. Last, if you think $75K - $100K is an incredible annual salary for a 60+ hour work week where you are responsible for over 100 other people and the administrative work that goes with it you just haven't been paying attention. BTW, that 75 - 100 number is not the average but the high end of the scale.

Anonymous said...
March 28, 2013 at 6:19 PM  

Yes, teachers profess to loving their jobs. To do otherwise would be unprofessional and could jeopardize their job. In small towns teachers dare not say anything negative about their job because they are soon labeled as a "bad teacher" and no one wants their child to have that person as their teacher. In small towns, teachers dare not go out drinking in local bars, have to watch what they say in public, etc because they are held to a higher standard than many other professionals. Teachers are expected to volunteer as Sunday School teachers, scout leaders, and coaches. Teachers have to be part politician - never really telling their true feelings. Even while striving hard to follow all of these "unwritten rules", it is much harder to earn respect and appreciation for the profession than it was 20 years ago.

Anonymous said...
March 28, 2013 at 7:13 PM  

You are going to need a lot more than 2 million teachers because everyone I work with (teaching) is working on finding another career due to the stress of CCSS and APPR. The stress is too much on top of just trying to do your job. 10 years and I'm out... i just can't take it anymore. PS I am a good teacher, always great evals and work at an inner city school

Anonymous said...
March 28, 2013 at 9:48 PM  

I don't know any teacher that would say they have a great quality of life. Yes our job can be rewarding but that doesn't make my quality of life better. If I had it my way, I would be a stay at home mom. I work because I HAVE to...... And everything I get paid goes to rent..... We are behind on bills and my son is going to school with holes in his shoe tomorrow because I need to wait until pay day to buy him new ones... Pay day is 8 days away! Yup, I have a good quality of life *sarcasm*

Anonymous said...
March 28, 2013 at 9:52 PM  

$75-100,000?!?!?! You have got to be kidding??? The top paid teachers in Hawaii max out at around 60,000. Thats with a PhD and if you have been in long enough to have moved up the steps when a step increase was negotiated with the state.... It has nothing to do with your years of service. I have been teaching for eight years and made $39,650 last year..... The pay that is reported is NOT a lie......

Anonymous said...
March 28, 2013 at 11:10 PM  

Citizens Arrest:

It takes 20+ years for a NYC teacher to make that salary and that's with 30 credits above our Masters. That's about $400+ a credit. You really need to do your homework.

Anonymous said...
March 29, 2013 at 12:37 AM  

When I read the title of this article, I laughed out loud.

I've been teaching for many years, and I must say it is most certainly NOT a good life. I would warn anyone away from being a teacher. You are treated contemptuously by parents and society as a whole. You are paid a paltry sum. Your administrators are largely ex-coaches who were, as most students and former students will attest, among the poorest teachers they encountered--which is exacty why they had the time to pursue an adminstrators certificate. The education system in this country is beyond repair. Parents want rigor, but they want their kids to have a 4.0. Most teachers dumb down their curriculum and hand out grades just so they don't get grief. Give the kid an A, you have happy kids, happy parents, happy administrators, and you don't go through a living hell. Essentialy, you're rewarded for being a rotten teacher. We're it not for the kids, for whom one has to feel great sympathy because they're the ones getting the shaft, I'd have walked out the door years ago.

Anonymous said...
March 29, 2013 at 4:51 AM  

I work in a well off district in Massachusetts. I make about 46k(with my tried masters) and unless you are an administrator it is impossible to make 90k in my district no matter how long you work there and how much education you get. Where are you getting these numbers?

Anonymous said...
March 29, 2013 at 4:55 AM  

Also- the average teacher salary is in the 50s

Anonymous said...
March 29, 2013 at 6:35 AM  

You have got to be kidding. The teachers in Rockford, Illinois, (one of the most miserable cities in US) are so stressed out. The district is constantly doing something demeaning to us, not supporting us, letting kids get away with all kinds of things. A discrimination lawsuit is in the making, again (last one 1993 and lasted ten 10 years). That being said, I love my students - I enjoy working with them. I just wish my district would get it together and start teaching to mastery in elementary school so that my students don't arrive in my classroom 2-3-4-5 years below grade level. I would not recommend teaching as a profession to anyone at this time.

Anonymous said...
March 29, 2013 at 6:37 AM  

By the way, I am on Prozac.....

Anonymous said...
March 29, 2013 at 7:28 AM  

I have been a public school teacher for 10 years. I teach in a large urban district. All of my career has been spent in low-income schools. I am fortunate enough to teach music, which means that I am able to still TEACH my students how to think and create rather than how to pass a test. My colleagues in the general classroom are not as lucky.

Even without a state test in my subject area, I am still impacted by the culture of tests, tests, and more tests. I lose students from my classroom so that they can be in a small-group session geared towards passing the almighty test. I see my students coming in worn down and stressed out. These kids are 8, 9, and 10 years old, and they are under far more pressure than they should be at this age.

With all of that said, I love my students. I love watching them grow. I don't love the fact that a whim of the school district could leave my campus saddled with an inept administrator who knows less about how to manage a classroom than I do. I don't love that completing my Master's degree would net me a whopping $1,800 a year of additional salary. My annual salary is right at $50,000 per year right now. The district that I work for is one of the highest paying districts in the area. I will never make anything even close to $100,000 per year if I stay in education.

Teachers are angry. Teachers are sad for their students. Teachers are fed up. I don't know too many that are happy right now.

Anonymous said...
March 29, 2013 at 8:12 AM  

I teach in Kansas, and have been teaching for 23 years and just recently hit the $40, 000 mark. This year was the first year I've gotten a raise in 4 years. The raise amounted to $158 for the year (not a month). I'm not sure where teachers make the kind of money you are talking about. However, I do know that to me, teaching is not just a job, or even just a career. It is a lifestyle. People complain that teachers only work 9 months out of the year. I don't know a single teacher who isn't constantly looking for ways to improve their teaching. That means weekends, holiday breaks and summers. And on vacations, we pick up gifts for our students. We buy snacks for our students to eat when they come to school without breakfast.

Milinda said...
March 29, 2013 at 11:08 AM  

I have been teaching for 12 years in Florida and make $38,000 a year. Granted, I taught in private school for years, so when I moved to public, they only counted half of my years of experience on the pay scale. Our teachers TOP OUT in Pinellas County at $64,498 WITH A DOCTORATE. So how is $75,000 an average? Is this a national average? I know no one in the profession making that kind of money.

Anonymous said...
March 29, 2013 at 12:39 PM  

The question of well-being must have been asked in the summer months. But the author is right about the solution- people. However the people that need to be upgraded are the students, or more directly, the parents of those students. The decline of educational achievement can be directly correlated to the decline of parenting.

Anonymous said...
March 30, 2013 at 6:24 AM  

I am a counselor in a Washington State school. Although I see the underbelly of the education system; poverty, mental health issues, frustrated parents, pregnant teens, drug and substance abuse, I do love my job and find great satisfaction and gratitude in it every day. I consider myself happy. I give generously out of my own pocket annually for scholarships and the poor. I am not rich but live a very comfortable life in a semi-rural, but poor area. My National Board certification helps the pay issue with an extra $10k per year.
I do really not like the constant disrespect and criticism of how lazy teachers are when I donate hundreds of hours per year above and beyond my contract to do what is right for students. They know it, I know it, my spouse knows it, and I can sleep at night knowing I will continue to get better despite the pressure. However, I can name three teachers that constantly get bad reviews from students that should probably go. Why do they not? Administration either cannot or will not do the work necessary to process them out.
It is true that good administration can make or break the job atmosphere. Some are excellent, others are poor.
Despite all the brokenness of homes and families that I see, there is an amazing capacity for resiliency among kids that I try to tap into every day to help them to leverage that into success.
That, along with fantastic co-workers, is what makes me happy to do what I do every day.

Anonymous said...
March 30, 2013 at 6:28 AM  

I think the poll is correct, it's just skewed by the very thing it measures. People go into many of the other jobs listed for the money and turn up unhappy. Potential teachers enter their profession to serve children because they know that will make them happy. It is just that so many outside forces are turning that sweet challenge into vinegar that you see the angry comments listed here. APPR, CCSS, DDI (data driven instruction) tax caps, disappearing benefits, ALEC's privatization agenda, the labeling of these servants to society as the new welfare queens, evaluations based on test scores, growing poverty, and union busting have changed the attitude. EVERYONE I know is counting the days until retirement and colleges are seeing a drop-off in new students because the labor market is flooded with out of work teachers. There is a coming crisis that our legislators and the edupreneurs are creating that may make 2008 look like a walk in the park for we are driving away the very special people who dedicate their lives to children through ill-conceived reform.

Anonymous said...
March 30, 2013 at 11:19 AM  

By the time teachers in NYC hit $75,000 they would have paid a small fortune for the 30 credits above their Masters to qualify. But, by that time, their children will be on their way to college. So that money is a drop in the bucket compared to what other people with advanced degrees make. Many states don't even pay their teachers at their top rate that much.

I would still like to know how this survey was conducted. Can we see the actual report and questions and where the sample was taken??? Something is clearly wrong with this study. Where the researchers "agenda driven" or was it a fair and balanced survey???

Anonymous said...
March 30, 2013 at 11:13 PM  

so many lies....teaching jobs are impossible to find in New York State and have been since I became qualified in 1974. I substituted for several years and finally returned to college to study chemistry. Our daughter wanted to study education in the late 90's (and cited articles emphasizing the need for millions of new teachers). We said if she wanted to become a teacher, she would have to pay for college herself. She became an Occupational Therapist and has worked in the Chicago Public School system for 12 years. She works harder than anyone I know and loves the kids but HATES everything else about her job. She is VERY glad she did not become a teacher because at least she has other recourses (hospitals, clinics, nursing homes)...teachers do not.

Anonymous said...
April 2, 2013 at 12:26 PM  

This guy Frank is one of these people that hates on teachers (probably for his own inadequacies). If we put teaching hours into billable hours for this guy to understand then maybe we all can afford those things we always wanted.

http://opinion.newsday.com/letters/?p=131

Anonymous said...
April 3, 2013 at 8:22 AM  

I, too love my job-teaching! This is my 42nd year of teaching, K-3 years, 2nd grade - 3 years, and 3rd grade - 36 years, have my Masters, Gifted endorsement, and have taken classes at night and/or during the summer for all of the 42 years except maybe 5 times. My salary is $46,000 in Salem, South Dakota. There is nothing better than than seeing the "light" come on, watching as children learn how to think and dig deeper, or a child that asks if he/she can stay after to work a bit more on something. It would be amazing to see the news media, parents, and politicians give the respect and encouragement that is deserved and earned. It would also be amazing to see many more parents, parenting. Most children in my classroom say they do not visit with their parents and instead are told to do their homework, or play their games, or just leave them alone because they're tired. So sad!!!!!

Anonymous said...
April 3, 2013 at 9:29 AM  

My guess is you are not going to hear from the teacher's who make 75 to 100k as they don't want this secret getting out. To the teachers who state salaries below 50k with years of experience, I would suggest you find a new district or start doing some research on your own. In my experience, new teachers start around 3750.00 per month. Contractual raises increase this salary very quickly in addition to other activities teachers can do for extra income such as coaching, scheduling, yearbook, etc... I hear teachers who say that they put in 60 hrs a week. That may be true, however, are you in the majority? Most contracts are for 34 to 37 hrs per week and 185 to 190 contracted days. For a non teacher it is 260. I am simply stating that if teachers were more honest about compensation it would be easier to attract talent. I am not anti-teacher, they fill a very important role. I just wish for more transparency in school district spending.

Sherry R Boyd said...
April 6, 2013 at 9:40 AM  

I really would like to know where this poll was conducted. However, I will say that when you see the light go on in a student’s eyes, that is a wonderful experience.

As for the $75,000 to $100,000, that is not true for K-12 or community college. I make under $60,000 and when I complete my dissertation, I will receive a $2,000 raise. Currently, I have spent $52,000 earning my degree.

Anonymous said...
April 17, 2013 at 9:23 PM  

I teach in Phoenix, Az., in a very good district. I have a BA, and an MA. I teach advanced placement economics and I earn 39K a year. I've been making 39K for the last five years because my salary has been frozen for that time. Please, don't tell me teachers make a lot of money, because MOST do not. And don't tell me that I get my summers off. I don't. And if I did teach all summer, at the rate of my pay I'd earn around 42K a year. Not worth it! I'd rather get a less stressful job over the summer at Home Depot for that pay.

Anonymous said...
April 20, 2013 at 8:07 AM  

This is an interesting survey- and I'm actually shocked at how little some of you in the states make to teach. I'm a teacher in Canada and while there is some variation in starting salaries based on years of schooling and cost of living in the province you reside in bottom end for a starting salary would be 45 000 /year. With two degrees, I started at 62 000 and my salary has increased to 72 000 over the past three years. I will cap out at close to 100 000 a year when I have taught for over 10 years.

I'm happy with my career choice, and am mostly unhappy with the same stuff that is mentioned later in the article. Work-life balance is difficult to maintain, I work hard for my great salary putting in 60+ hours a week. And I feel like educational reform is telling us to go away from standardized testing and yet we are still testing.

Anonymous said...
May 23, 2013 at 11:22 AM  

I thought it was odd that they listed physician as the #1 career for wellbeing...Are you kidding me? Doctors are under intense amounts of stress everyday. Crazy hours, high patient loads, never getting to spend time with friends/family, years and years of high-stakes schooling, student loans to pay off...how could that possible land physician at the top?

susan said...
June 1, 2013 at 10:24 PM  

Teaching the "secret to a good life"? What has this author been smoking? Teaching is a horrible job with low pay, mediocre benefits, and is an occupation that has been relentlessly assaulted by privatization interests and politicians. If that isn't bad enough, the administrators can easily destroy years of education and experience, and THEY are not held to ANY standards of accountability whatsoever. Teaching today is not remotely like it was when you were in school. It should be avoided at all costs.

history_chick said...
August 3, 2013 at 10:43 AM  

I interpreted this article different from most of those who commented. I don't think the article is saying that we are #2 in in job satisfaction, but satisfaction(or inner peace) with life in general. We are happy with ourselves and the job we do (and we know we do it well) despite our daily challenges. The article admits that there are a lot of crappy aspects to teaching today, but despite that we are special people with a different outlook on life. None of us chose this profession for the money, power, or status it provided as do many people. Although, I'll be the first to admit, I did not expect the lack of respect from students, parents, and society. When I was growing up, I admired my teachers and looked up to them. It is one of the reasons I became a teacher. No matter...We continue to touch lives and that is a higher calling.

Anonymous said...
August 11, 2013 at 2:11 AM  

I, too, join the majority of others here. Let me add an additional aspect that has not yet been mentioned--violence directed towards teachers in the classroom. I was a high school business teacher for 15 years in the Atlanta area. I LOVED my job! I had business experiences in the corporate world w/such notables as Xerox and McDonald's. I loved sharing my experiences and and knew very well what students needed to succeed. When an 11th grade female student that had displayed violence already several times in the classroom, told the administrator that she would "hit me the next time I said anything to her" and the administrator as well as the Principal wanted to immediately put her back in my classroom, I made the decision, including all the other negatives mentioned here, to leave. There is another teacher in the Atlanta area that had the same experience, and she was treated even worse by another system. The last 3 years I have had a few students disrupt class with screaming, profanity, rudeness, etc., while I sadly and frustrated could not teach the students that were behaved and really wanted to learn. The experience produced chest pains and an emergency trip to the hospital. All this, while the Principal is on the fast track to the county office and doesn't want any "negative PR" in the community! He even had the audacity less than one month later to hold a parent meeting to explain "all the things" he was doing to "make the school safe"! The AUDACITY!!!! I have also sat in meetings where parents were allowed to scream across the table at me for a full 30 minutes or more--with no intervention from the administrator. The reason? You guessed it, their angel wouldn't behave in class, and I turned in a discipline referral. Her parents didn't think she should have to spend time in in-school suspension. The WORST situation on my heart!!...a former student that I watched for 4 years constantly walk the halls, never go to class, and disrupt classes hour-by-hour, beat a former student to death after high school--yes, I did say BEAT A STUDENT TO DEATH!! In my heart, I know that if this student had experienced some limits from administrators, the other successful young person would still be alive today. It still haunts me!! Teachers, over and over, requested that this young man be disciplined when he was in school. Teachers happy???? I think NOT!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...
August 11, 2013 at 2:24 AM  

2nd Part of Posting:

In addition, I am heart-broken in leaving the field of education. I loved teaching, and I loved my students. I loved my creativity and how I was able to reach them. But the stress is just not worth it any more.

Also, the comments regarding the numbers of teachers leaving the profession....this is what the profiteers and politicians want....in comes all the charter and on-line schools for profit b/c "we don't have enough teachers".

Sadly, teachers are trying their best to tell this country that our great educational system that everyone in the world has admired and wants to attend is failing quickly and miserably. No one will listen. Education has been the foundation and greatness of our country, fostering our ingenuity and creativity and success globally. Sadly, we no longer have that great foundation!--but it's not because we don't have GREAT TEACHERS!!

Anonymous said...
August 23, 2013 at 11:50 PM  

I am sorry to be so rude, but you are a moron. All teacher's salaries can be found by district, it is public knowledge if you look. 75-100 is no where near the national average in the US. This guy wants to pretend he knows something when he has no idea. Also, teachers, the vast majority, work well beyond contract hours. This guy is one of the ignorant people teachers deal with on a daily basis.

Anonymous said...
September 8, 2013 at 8:33 PM  

Do not go into teaching. Save yourself the grief, stress and humiliation. Unless your wellbeing is enhanced by being a whipping boy and scapegoat for all of society's ills, at both a local and national level...

Anonymous said...
October 3, 2013 at 3:24 PM  

There is no way this is true. Just today three parents were extremely rude and disrespectful. I brought my students in a treat because they had to complete a state writing assessment that was over their heads. No one said thank you. I'm so sad that I want out so bad. It's a fun job. But I really had no idea how little people respect you.

Anonymous said...
October 24, 2013 at 4:21 PM  

No, there really is NO way this is true of Florida teachers. We have not had a raise, not even a cost of living raise in 8 years. Oh, I know--we didn't get into teaching for the money. What a shopworn excuse to be treated so badly. The seniors I teach have no intention of being teachers or majoring in Education. They are going into medical/computer fields of study. You want to attract the best and the brightest, then give them a livig wage and some basic respect. Education is all politics and creating jobs for politicians kids who could never hack it in the classroom. Heck, most administrators couldn't hack it in the classroom, and although they claim to "love kids" they chose to be as far away from them as possible, with the highest salaries in the system. C'mon, not all teachers are dumbos, who you kiddin'?

Beaubrat said...
October 28, 2013 at 9:52 AM  

This is sad to read. I was looking for some positive reinforcement on my decision to go into education, a sign of some sort that I was doing the noble thing by choosing this profession. I thought I found it when I found this article, but boy, these responses are heartbreaking. I just want to say to the teachers here that despite the negatives of your jobs, SOMEONE HAS TO DO IT. As long as children enter this world, someone will have to educate them. If everyone runs from this job, our system of things will only get worse. We see the news reports of teachers and students being killed. We watch teachers try daily to educate kids that don't want to learn, and we see parents that refuse to teach their kids, yet get angry at teachers when they cannot do it alone. At this rate, there will be no teachers. What will our youth do? I know its stressful, but please do not give up. And do not encourage others who wish to make a difference to stray from their dreams. We need teachers.

Anonymous said...
November 18, 2013 at 2:28 PM  

Are you crazy? Teaching sucks. Worse my s mistake ever. 16 years of hell!

Anonymous said...
January 10, 2014 at 12:52 AM  

The fact that all these educators can sit here and say that this is false is absolutely absurd. As a current education student going into student teaching, I am appalled at the people who tell me to stop what I'm doing while I can. YOU are the reason people have such terrible ideas about education! They would not have thoughts like this unless you were there to start them. Parents and those in the communities are only thinking like this because they had teachers who were not happy. If you don't like the changes, please leave your profession because someone like me is more than willing to help the students you are so wrongly misleading into thinking you love your job and what you do. I am starting out with the changes and I will know no differently. You cannot change the children to adapt to your old, ignorant ways. You must adapt to your students' environment so they can be successful. I know I will be happier because of my decision to stay in education. It will be tough, but I know it was the right decision.

Patent Attorney said...
January 29, 2014 at 4:56 AM  

I'm quite surprised by this as I thought teaching was such a stressful job! I imagine it is something you get a lot out of though, so I suppose the happiness comes from there!

Anonymous said...
February 22, 2014 at 7:40 PM  

this article is a blatant lie. being a teacher is an impossible job.

Anonymous said...
February 26, 2014 at 8:38 PM  

I was stuck in between becoming a teacher or a physician.. So this made it even worse to know the top 2 were physicians and teachers.. Oh, how am I ever going to decide?

Anonymous said...
March 29, 2014 at 12:03 PM  

You have got to be kidding me! I have been teaching for 28 years in my state. It has taken me that long plus 32 post graduate credits (and actually many more) to reach anywhere near your stated teaching salary! Where on earth did you get your facts? And, as far as a good way of life-teaching was once a good way of life; when parents raised respectful children who were expected to treat teachers with courtesy and turn in homework. Teaching was once a good way of life when administrators did not micromanage classrooms which were already running well, with growth oriented results. Teaching was once a good way of life when we were not expected to have every child reading on a third grade level, even when they have never held scissors before and do not know the word for the daily food that they have eaten for the past 7 or 8 years. Teaching used to be a good job before it was accepted practice to allow middle school students carte blanche, including calling teachers names that would have earned a paddling, making out in the hallways during passing, wiping feces on school doors at night, or bringing guns to school to shoot at students and faculty members. All the new teachers i have met lately have lasted about a year, once they are in the trenches. 12-13 hour days, 3 meetings a week, and long weekends grading papers, plus no sleep and constant anxiety are the constant companions of many teachers. What irresponsible, shallow journalism this lightweight article is.

Anonymous said...
April 5, 2014 at 1:18 PM  

It can be, but remember teaching isn't for everyone. Not everybody is born to do it and/or ready for the heavy workload and 12-16 hour a day schedule 365 days a year ("summer vacation" and 7 hour work day is a myth). Also, you do not get rich off it so if you are doing this for the money, I would advise you to seek another profession.

Anonymous said...
April 16, 2014 at 5:58 PM  

I agree with everything you have said. As a retiring teacher with 33 years experience, I wish I could instill in young people the reasons why I entered the profession and also the reasons why they may want to leave it. Reasons to stay reach into infinity and reasons to leave are roadblocks that can be solved.

Anonymous said...
May 3, 2014 at 3:13 PM  

Fifteen years ago, I was so excited and couldn't wait to start my first day as a teacher. Fifteen years later, I tell everyone including my friends and family NOT to get into this profession. Same with many teachers I know, they are telling everyone NOT to get into this profession. SAD....

Anonymous said...
June 23, 2014 at 10:26 AM  

I am a teacher and my first year of teaching was ultimately a success. I love teaching! I made 38k in my first year. I understand the salary matrix and understand the profession fully. In college, we learned about all this stuff during my teaching courses. I am amazed at how many people are surprised about the reality of the profession and choose to bad mouth it. Today's generation of kids are tough. I believe that most teachers who are complaining are teachers who are stuck in their old ways. My first year of teaching was in an inner city school. I had many difficult moments but I knew it was to be expected. Nevertheless, the article is true. I have never been happier! Teaching has allowed me to spend considered amount of time with my 5-year-old. There are more positive benefits of teaching than negative benefits. Concerning salary, I make 38K per year. After three years of teaching, I will be making 45K per year. I knew the amount of money I would be making before I went into the profession. With a masters degree, I will top out at 62k per year with at least 20 years of experience.

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