This? Is Not OK: Teacher Pay Edition

by Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] on March 30, 2011

in Farts and Other Stuff,Floridiots,Observations,This? Is Not OK

Let’s talk dirty, sexy, money.

I miss that hokey show that lasted only 3/4 of a season, but that’s not really the point of this article. Still, we need a moment of silence for the Darlings.


This is Part 2 of my “What the Eff is Going On In Education?” Series.

We’re talking about dirty, sexy, real money, except there’s no sexy in this money: the money teachers are paid to mold the brains of our nation’s youth.

You’d think the white men who sit atop the highest mountain in government would want our youth to be taught by the finest, highest paid, most celebrated professionals possible. But this is clearly not the case.

As I’ve written in the past, I was a public school teacher for 4 years with a Master’s degree in Elementary Education. Two of those years, I taught at a public Charter school, and the last two years, I taught at a typical county elementary school. The salaries I’ll be talking about here are the salaries earned teaching in the Orange County Public School system. All of this information is readily available on the website.

When I started working at the OCPS school with 2 years of instructional experience, I made about 34,000 per year with a $2400 “BONUS” for having a Master’s Degree in a related field.

(Sidenote: I made less per year as a bonus for having a Master’s Degree than it took to pay for one semester in Grad school.)

The current rate of pay for a brand new teacher, fresh out of college with a Bachelor’s Degree is $37,000 per year.

Let’s break this down into hourly pay, shall we?

180 days of school
14 days of pre-planning, post-planning, and contracted teacher work days
37.5 (paid) hours of work per week, required to be on school campus or at an in-service training

1455 hours contracted to work per year

$23.34/hour contracted to work for a first-year teacher

Not bad, right? Not really GOOD, but not horrible. It’s a good start!

Let’s take a look at other jobs in Orlando where you could earn about $23.34/hour worked, straight out of college:

  • Business Systems Analyst – $25.00 Per Hour
  • Technical Support Specialist I – $20.00 – $24.00 Per Hour
  • Programmer Analyst – IT – $40,000.00 – $50,000.00 Per Year (hourly rate adjusted for more hours worked/year)

Not too bad, eh? It’s a good entry point into the workforce.

Now, let’s look down the road 15 years and see what’s available for seasoned, practiced professionals in the teaching field.

A teacher in Orange County is contracted to be paid $45,600 per year. Let’s assume she’s earned her Master’s Degree along the way, so we’ll add $2,605 to her yearly salary.

$33.13/hour contracted to work for a teacher with 15 years’ experience.

Now let’s take a look at what other jobs pay per year in Orlando with 15 years’ experience and a Master’s Degree.

  • Vice President, Manufacturing & Product Design – $150,000.​00 – $225,000
  • Senior Director, Projects and Applications (at OCPS) – $83,998.​00 – $95,376.​00
  • Director of Merchandise Retail Store Design and Visual Presentation – $108,428.​80 – $135,536



I’m kind of speechless.

How is this OK in America? OK around the world? How is it socially acceptable for the women and men who teach the future corporate vice presidents and senior directors to earn a comparative pittance?

First step: Respect your child’s teacher. They probably make far less than you and do way more than what’s in a contracted day’s work.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 LAB March 30, 2011 at 1:16 pm

When I graduated college (with a liberal arts degree), my mom offered to pay for me to go back to school to get a teaching certificate. I did some research, and I was already making substantially more money as an entry-level proofreader at a CPA firm than I would make as a new teacher. That’s a crime! No wonder good teachers don’t stick around.
An Awesome post on LAB´s blog … Circumspect Seasons


2 lisa March 30, 2011 at 1:23 pm

I don’t think the starting salary is even ok when you factor in the hours that are worked outside the required. I think this needs to be fixed but I also think a system needs to be put in place so shitty teachers can’t ride out tenure and not really giving a crap about our kids. I also know that our teachers make more around here but not sure if that’s strictly cost of living differences or if they are actually paid better.
add to this that government morons have taken away a teachers ability to simply teach kids and no forces them to teach to a test and our kids are doomed. Our teachers are losing their love for teaching because they can’t do anyting fun for the sake of learning because it deviates from the plan. And who can blame them. Its a sad state right now.


3 Hockeymandad March 30, 2011 at 1:33 pm

I seriously considered applying for that OCPS job actually.
An Awesome post on Hockeymandad´s blog … hockeymandad- If youre not following @BronxZoosCobra- you should Hes out on the town If you see him- buy him a subway token- he has no arms


4 Nona March 30, 2011 at 1:48 pm

“Dirty Sexy Money” was perhaps one of the worst shows ever on television, and I miss it, too. It was epic in it awfulness.

School teachers have never been paid a salary that is in line with their working hours/education/professional commitment. It speaks volumes about our priorities in this country that we place so little value on the people who educate our children.


5 Robin March 30, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Are these pay scales regional? I have friends that are teachers that come out of school making between $45-50K depending on their specialty/school district/before tenure. Special Ed teachers make more. Then again, I do live on Long Island where it’s feast or famine and the cost of living is ridiculous.

Either way, someone coming out of school to work at Goldman Sachs should not make twice as much as someone in charge of molding our children’s minds. It’s bullshit.
An Awesome post on Robin´s blog … Writers Block


6 Tara@DoTheseKidsMakeMeLookCrazy? March 30, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Good post, Angie. I think that it would be interesting to note how much teachers actually bring home after taxes. And I do not know one single teacher who doesn’t end up spending money on necessary supplies for their classrooms—like little prizes for good behavior, materials for a fun lesson, craft supplies, etc. And how many bring in furniture/decor from their own homes to brighten up the room, etc.

I wonder how much the crappy pay has to do with the fact that teacher is a female dominated profession?
An Awesome post on Tara@DoTheseKidsMakeMeLookCrazy?´s blog … Some Topics Can’t Be Mentioned Without Resulting in an Apology


7 Robin March 31, 2011 at 8:44 pm

THIS is so true. SO TRUE.
An Awesome post on Robin´s blog … Hi- I’m Meredith Make Me Want to Hire You


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