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Teaching Doesn't Pay

Discussion in 'Education news' started by adam156, Nov 13, 2018.

  1. adam156

    adam156 New commenter

    I remember a time when teaching was one of the best careers you could get into, now it seems that in order to go into teaching it really needs to be a labour of love. I've just come across this article:


    and notice that teaching doesn't even make the top 10 median salary any more. Considering that teachers help shape the minds of future generations, this is just mortifying.

    Compassman and agathamorse like this.
  2. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Even back in the '80s, the best benefits were the deferred things like decent sick pay and the pension rather than the take home pay at the end of the month. I have never been able to aspire to live in the more fashionable parts of town. Back in the '80s I couldn't afford to run a car and have an independent roof over my head.
    There are lots of other important jobs that don't make it into the top 10, and it is wishful thinking to hope that a job requiring middle (1st degree) level skills that is required in the hundreds of thousands is going to do more than pay the bills.
    Sadly we have a Government (that may reflect the electoral views of the voting segment of society) that isn't that fussed about the working people who make up the bulk of society being able to pay their bills. The financial movers and shakers of society like us being in debt and want more and bigger debts.
  3. Summerhols6

    Summerhols6 Occasional commenter

    I don't think you have look far for the reasons behind the decline in teachings lack of popularity as a profession choice. Informal Capability and Formal Capability and the huge aamount of these threads. Observations, Learning Walk feedback, People expected to give their holidays for revison, after school classes. pay freeze for 8 years in real terms. I could go on!
    damia69, tonymars, Compassman and 4 others like this.
  4. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    With the rise of the expectation of unpaid, 'voluntary' work, it does so even less!

    @phlogiston: Back in the early 80s, my wife an I were in the first few years of our teaching careers, so our combined net pay was about was £720 per month. After paying the mortgage, we had about £200 to live on. Run a car? Fantasy Island!
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2018
    install, phlogiston and agathamorse like this.
  5. bessiesmith

    bessiesmith Occasional commenter

    Teaching has never been a highly paid job - I can't imagine it would ever have come into the top 10. (That website gives salaries in dollars as well so it's not very relevant here).
    The median annual full-time salary in the UK is somewhere around £28,600 which is about what you should be earning 3 or 4 years into a teaching career (no TLR). This seems reasonable for a 25 year old graduate to be earning the national median wage - but the big assumptions are that your school uses the national pay scale - and your SLT say you have passed your performance management. Therein lies a key issue as neither of these assumptions can be taken lightly anymore.
    damia69, Jamvic, JohnJCazorla and 4 others like this.
  6. DrResource

    DrResource New commenter

    To make ends meet I, like many of my colleagues, have to look at improving pay by doing other things. I tutor, Mark exams and do other online educational work. Not by choice, but necessity as my wage has been static for nearly 10 years. I will have to work myself ragged until the bitter end! I don't envisage much of a pension as I'll be either v.ill or dead to enjoy it! It's a crazy career and if I had my time again I would have done something far easier for twice the pay!
  7. install

    install Star commenter

    Teaching is just a job - and sadly it doesn't make ends meet more than ever. To name a few other problems..

    No mobility pay in places
    A society that sees it as child minding
    A govt that sees it as a behaviour job
    Some heads that refuse to teach
    Some slt that hide in offices
    Some Ofsted types that refuse to teach
    A 36000 pound debt
    No Unions in places
    No Overtime pay
    No bonus pay
    Forced 'unpaid work' in places after hrs
    Worse pay per hr than nurses and police
    Low morale
    Poor retention rate in places
    Poor recruitment rate in places
    Ageist approaches in places
    Over monitoring - leading to stress in places
    Behaviour issues
    No Danger Pay in tough areas
    giotto, damia69, eljefeb90 and 4 others like this.
  8. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Anyone that comes into teaching to make money (Academy Chain CEOs excepted) is likely to be disappointed.
  9. Jamvic

    Jamvic Senior commenter

    Traditionally becoming a secondary teacher was a career choice that provided a fairly reasonable salary, a protected and relatively generous pension, life-long employment opportunities, guaranteed pay portability, equitable and transparent pay-scale increments, security, family friendly hours with a degree of flexibility, relative day to day autonomy, community respect alongside societal ‘respectability’ and the knowledge that you were contributing as a useful public servant while occasionally inspiring young people in a subject you personally loved.

    None of that is true anymore imo.
  10. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    That website is about US pay - that's why Doctors are shown at the top - although teachers wouldn't be in top 10 UK either. Have they ever been? Surely not. Teaching has never been that well paid.

    But teaching certainly used to be a much better profession to work if you measured it by things other than just basic pay.

    There are any number of rankings of UK salaries around, all different! This one, for example, ranks 'senior teachers', at number 14. Judging by the salary I think they mean average pay of SLT.

    border_walker and agathamorse like this.
  11. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    That woodland bear is SO dirty! Down, Barney, down!
    phlogiston and agathamorse like this.
  12. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Yeah, like law or something lucrative. Love your avatar by the way!
    agathamorse likes this.
  13. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Snap! I had take-home pay of £280 pcm in 1996. Awful. Diet of porridge pasta and basics beans...only slightly better than being on full grant at Uni. Ah, back in the day..remember student grants? There was a difference though. The College was so welcoming and grateful towards me. There were really good staff socials every other night and the kids were great. Sixth form Colleges lacked money but retained a fairly high morale until around 2000. Now it's all bleagh. Just wall to wall misery.
    Jamvic and agathamorse like this.
  14. englishtt06

    englishtt06 Occasional commenter

    Teaching has never well-paid (and more fool anyone who thinks it is) but to compare life for a new teacher now with life for a new teacher in the early 80s is a little disingenuous as this graphic shows:


    I have several friends (and colleagues) who began teaching in the 80s and they are now (2018) what could be considered comparatively, comfortably off (nice home in good area, kids went to uni. etc.). Doubtless they went through a similar arc as my parents: bought first home in early 80s...nothing too flashy, nothing too awful, either; in an okay, family area with nice schools; their first car (which came along soon after) was barely legal for the road by all accounts; their eventual 2nd and 3rd cars were not much better, either, even the term banger would be too generous.... when they bought their house (on my dad's wage; mum didn't work by then) it took time to get it where they wanted and everything was second-hand at first or donated from family: no such thing as kitting it out after an afternoon as IKEA.

    The car thing's an interesting one because most people had cars where I grew up (yes - even in the early 80s!) certainly not flashy or enviable motors by any stretch, but because of the small town/village make-up of the area, cars were essential. My dad wouldn't have been able to get to work without a car - there was no bus, his work was in the middle of nowhere. But then households only had one car. When I've asked around, friends who lived and taught in cities in the 80s used public transport ...or Shank's pony.

    For any graduate today, the prospect of home ownership is only a possibility with a huge cash injection from family/parents or a very well paid job (in the City - capital C). I was also told the other day that average rents in the UK are £1,000 a month! These prices are insane. Certainly teachers were not well off in the 80s but at least rents and house prices weren't spiraling out of reach.

    By the way: I asked my dad recently how much his first brand new car was (by the late 80s) - it was equivalent to his month's salary before tax. Imagine that! Again, it was by no means a flashy vehicle but it was a bog-standard, nice new Ford family car...

    I agree that money isn't everything, but could you imagine today's depressing reality for single teachers (or nurses, or firefighters, or any public servant) in London in their 30s who have no choice but to house share? By my 30s I couldn't wait to have my own place.

    B***S*** stories such as crushed avocados preventing home ownership are peddled just to make Baby Boomer Daily Mail readers feel more comfortable in their (snake) skin.
  15. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Surely that's true for all occupations though? The enormous increase in house prices compared to earnings since the 1980s makes it very much harder to buy a house. It's not something that applies particularly to teachers.
    border_walker and Jamvic like this.
  16. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    Comparative prices of things like cars and houses were much different in the Eighties, as were societal expectations. My wife an I were able to get on the housing ladder in our mid-twenties, with our teacher salaries, which would be pie in the sky today. (With our combined salaries, say six years ago, I doubt we could have afforded to buy our house!). When our daughter came along, we had a succession of Seventies bangers, all of which had a very unfavourable driving to repair/fill rust holes ratio. I still practiced 'banger-nomics' well into the Noughties, although, being Volvos, they were a better class of banger. We did not get our first brand new car until 2005.

    When we first got married, we worked at the same school, and travelled to and fro on the Tube. Our monthly season tickets took a substantial bite out of any disposable income. Briefly, we lived in a rented flat, above a shop, the rent of which was more than the mortgage payments on the house.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2018
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  17. englishtt06

    englishtt06 Occasional commenter

    At no point did I say it was only teachers to which this applies (and I did refer to other public sector workers later in my thread for balance - Lord, I sound like the BBC) - the post is about teacher salaries, though, which is why I focussed on them.

    I guess I am trying to say that an educated professional working in teaching would expect certain things from life by their mid 30s: not luxuries, but a small house in a reasonable area with a car seems reasonable enough - particularly in comparison to other graduate professionals in their mid 30s. Something is mighty messed up in society if such a thing is not achievable. (Yes, before other posters jump in, I know the concept of teaching as a profession is a quaint, romantic anachronism).
  18. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    I didn't say you did say it only applied to teachers???

    But as the original post was about the decline in teacher's salaries relative to other occupations my comment seemed relevant, that the house price/earnings gap has risen for all professions.

    SEBREGIS Senior commenter

    what REALLY drives me nuts is that we are paid juuuuuuuust enough that if we shift to a different job, we have to take a pay cut. museum education officers do not make the top of main scale. I’ve spoken to so many people who would love to leave this job but can’t quite afford to.

    It’s really not just the money. It’s feeling you can never leave.
    agathamorse and tonymars like this.
  20. Skeoch

    Skeoch Lead commenter

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