Are US teachers paid as well as those in other countries?

Teachers say “I don’t do this for the money” so often it has become almost a descriptor of a good teacher. Teachers don’t actually need our salaries to survive, we live on the sheer beauty of our jobs. As if we could cash in the “I love you” cards from our students or, through osmosis, eat their high grades and test scores.

But money does matter. As much as I love teaching I also have financial obligations and responsibilities – like my two daughters – that require a salary. There is an interesting opinion piece at The New York Times about a new report released by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that compares salaries and hours worked by teachers in developed countries. The statistics are fascinating and provide insight into yet another aspect of why Chicago teachers are on strike. Click here to read more.

Does money matter to teachers?


3 thoughts on “Are US teachers paid as well as those in other countries?

  1. SNB says:

    YES. I think about returning to the classroom all the time – and am confident I will – but I keep putting this off primarily due to money. I would take a 50% pay cut in returning to the classroom, and with a husband who is a teacher, this would put us on tenuous ground, despite the fact that we live a very modest life (1 car, 1200 square foot house, eat out 1-2x per month, camping for many vacations, etc.).

  2. I never, “did it for the money,” but there is a huge disparity in the amount teachers are paid across the country. The state I lived in was one of the lowest paid teaching salaries and in the state next door (a 20 minute drive from where I was) teachers were paid $10,000.00 more. It’s difficult to teach well living pay check to pay check and often I did. I spent a lot of money on my students (and sure, I probably shouldn’t have), but I wanted my students to have what students in higher-income areas had and my budget didn’t cover that. I felt at times that I couldn’t keep up. I’m not necessarily saying that all teachers need to be paid exorbitant amounts of money, but making sure there’s more equity in the salaries of teachers across the country might help. Salaries are dependent upon the cost of living and other factors as well, so I understand it can’t be the same everywhere, but it needs to be examined and regulated better. Thanks for bringing up such great topics!

    This website provides information on MS teaching salaries, but actually, I was paid much less my first year teaching than this describes:

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