Building a Class


Camilla S. & Kaitlyn M.

Learning is a very important aspect of life, but teachers’ minute pay has made life more tough for them.

Thomas T., Writer

Learning is a valuable part of life. Everywhere we go, both inside and outside of school, there is a possibility of getting just a little bit smarter. Yet the best learning, especially on campus, likely comes from a good teacher. But what if we don’t have one? 

In recent years, students and teachers alike have faced significant challenges. Schools in the US have confronted a serious teacher shortage, as districts have struggled to maintain staffing as a result of Covid. Across the nation, states are taking drastic measures to fill the void. In addition to the problems caused by the virus, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System noted how there was a spike in retirements than the expected number of retirees in a typical year.

According to the Washington Post, “Teaching was already too much — and with the increased stresses and demands introduced by the pandemic, they’d simply had enough.”

Low salary and increasing expectations to do the job are only two of the reasons that  teachers quit. A study by CNBC said that “teachers make almost 20% less than other professions with similar educational experiences.”

“[Although] my salary is more suitable now as an [experienced teacher], I still don’t truly believe my salary matches my work,” said Mrs. GJ, a 6th grade teacher on campus. 

As a veteran in education, Mrs. GJ has worked with kids for nearly 28 years. Yet other professionals with similar experience often work fewer hours and are paid more. 

“[People] in the private sector with a similar amount of schooling often make more than a new [or] veteran teacher,” said Mrs. G-J. 

According to ZipRecruiter, the average teacher in California makes $41,354 a year, while a normal Californian earns around $66,076

With lower pay, a higher cost of living, and increased expectations at work, teachers struggle to continue in the profession.

“The hardest part is the time. I have to multitask and I barely get anything done. Usually, I get to school early in the morning and leave at 5 or 6 pm as well as work on the weekends,” said Mrs. Guerra.

A 2019 Forbes article describes how “teachers work an average of 47 hours a week, with a quarter working 60 hours a week or more and one in 10 working more than 65 hours a week.”

Teachers begin at 7:30 am and finish at 3 pm, though that’s just the beginning, as they often take assignments home to grade, complete lesson planning, prepare for upcoming projects and reach out to parents through phone calls and emails. If the job fails to pay what teachers deserve, it’s little surprise that the workload and lackluster payment might provoke them to quit. 

People with similar education to me generally work around 40 hours a week, whereas teachers have to bring work home from school or even work on the weekends,” said Mrs. G-J.

Mrs. G-J and Mrs. Guerra work hard to make a difference at Day Creek, but with such high demands, it has become especially challenging. The frustrations about work and earnings can make the job quite demotivating.

I have been teaching for 27 years, and I still don’t know how to balance my own time as a teacher. If I calculated my pay as an hourly wage based on the number of hours I put in, I would not be making a very good hourly wage,” said Mrs. G-J.

With these considerations in mind, is being a teacher even worth it? Recent statistics show that the teaching profession is losing teachers faster than they’re arriving.  

“Sometimes I’ve thought of doing something different, but I enjoy my job as a teacher to just help students fulfill their goals,” said Mrs. Guerra.

In many cases, it is clear that teachers enjoy their work. It shows in how they interact with kids, create interesting lessons, and teach with an obvious passion. In order to maintain a stable balance between teachers and students, the job has to be rewarding.

“If we want to attract (and keep) awesome, dedicated, caring people to the profession of teaching future generations of students, we need to make sure the job is desirable. With all the changes and greater expectations on teachers, and now the additional struggles due to this pandemic, many teachers are really struggling to get [work] done while still keeping their sanity and high standards of excellence,” said Mrs. G-J. 

Teaching will always require persistence and determination. Despite the challenges, teachers push students to fulfill their capabilities.

My purpose as a teacher is to help kids reach their full potential and goals. I want them to pursue their dreams and be successful,” said Mrs. Guerra.