The word “teacher” carries many connotations with it. These include hard-working, helpful, and kind. These instructors make so many contributions to our growing society. So, many wonder why North Carolina is 44th out of 50 states for teacher pay.
Asking someone to remember their kindergarten experience will generate a similar response from the majority of Americans. The chatter, the tears, new and overwhelming sensations are everywhere. Then suddenly, the parent they had been clinging the legs of gives them a kiss and disappears. They are standing there, alone, deserted, and witnessing the chaos that is a kindergarten classroom on the first day of school. They feel their face become hot and tears start to roll down their face and plop onto the newly-cleaned linoleum floor. Suddenly, a superhero figure is swooping over, crouching down, and giving them a nice comforting hug. This rescuer then whisks them over to the coloring station where they recognize the crayons they befriended in preschool.
This superhero, which they later learn is called a teacher, then guides them through the day, caring for and nurturing them, and beginning to transfer to them the best superpower anyone can give: an education.
However, these teachers don’t have the powers of Superman. They simply have the kindness and determination in their hearts to work late into the night, grading and preparing for each day of class. A survey conducted of twenty-five North Carolina teachers from Asheville shows that 96% of teachers polled work more than forty five hours each week.
“I work from seven to seven each day and either Friday night or all day Saturday on something school-related,” North Carolina 8th grade teacher Jen Doherty says.
So these hard working role models we’ve looked up to since kindergarden deserve the world, right? Unfortunately, they’re getting a lot less than that in North Carolina. In fact, teachers are getting barely enough to live on in return for the wonderful education with which they enlighten the children of America. A survey shows that 96% of North Carolina teachers polled believe that they aren’t adequately paid for the hours of work that they put in daily. The contributions that these teachers make to our society are endless, yet teachers across North Carolina are struggling to make ends meet.
“My job is to prepare kids for college, yet I knew my own children couldn’t go unless they had financial aid and a scholarship,” Doherty says.
Teachers across North Carolina have lots of high degrees and qualifications, yet they don’t get any extra compensation for all the extra education they gained to get to the career level they are at now. They also aren’t given any compensation for taking leadership positions within their jobs even though it takes much more time and effort each day.
“We do not get masters pay. I have advanced degrees in education and get paid at the BA teacher level,” North Carolina teacher Savanah Forsythe says.
Many believe that the low numbers scratched on teachers’ paychecks reflect how much the lawmakers in Raleigh, NC actually care about education and the people who deliver it to our children. This being said, many also believe that teacher pay shouldn’t be the most concerning issue for North Carolina presently, yet surveys show that 96% of teachers polled in North Carolina believe the state doesn’t adequately value their teachers.
Idols that are looked up to by even the smallest of children have one of the smallest wages in North Carolina for someone with a college degree. These people do so much for our growing world, yet aren’t appreciated by the state lawmakers. The more ordinary citizens do to change this inequality, the sooner these caring and determined superheroes can get the wages they deserve.
Story by guest journalist, Martha Plaehn
Plaehn, Martha, and Jen Doherty. “Teacher Pay.” 11 Oct. 2017.
Plaehn, Martha, and Savanah Forsythe. “Teacher Pay.” 16 Oct. 2017.
Iasevoli, Brenda. “Which States Pay Teachers the Most (and Least)?” Education Week - Teacher Beat, 23 May 2017, blogs.edweek.org/edweek/teacherbeat/2017/02/which_states_pay_teachers_the_.html.