Teacher income

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Sarah Benz classroom decorated with stuff decor. All the decoration was paid out of pocket. (Photo Courtesy Meonna Sloan)

Teachers do a lot and are hard working, but they don’t get paid as much as they should. They pay for materials out of their pockets to help kids learn, have to teach a lot of information to students in a short amount of time, and also want a life outside of school.

“I probably spend about $200 a month to make sure ambience stays that way…all I do comes out of my pocket,” said Jefferey Florence, a Spanish teacher at LRHS who has been teaching for 8 years. 

Ashley Taborn, an English teacher at LRHS, spends about $100 or 200 every quarter on class materials. The stuff they spend on is not just materials but on stuff to make their room look more decorative or even smell good.

The school does provide basic materials, but it might not be enough to prevent a boring classroom. 

“I think if you wanted to, you could have everything you need that the school provides. But, because I do yearbook, it’s a little different. We need more stuff, but you could have a classroom based on what the school provides. It might not be colorful or all those things,” said Tabron.

Spending that much out of pocket is a lot with teachers’ pay, which are low.   

“I feel like because since I been teaching, when I first started teaching my department was like $730 and now it’s much more or at least twice that,”said Tabron.

Teachers’ pay should be higher to kind of equal it out.

Even though some schools don’t do a good job at providing basic materials, LRHS does a pretty good job at providing materials.

“My department, world languages, was very good as far as resources to teach my class, and my department chair does a very good job asking us with this huge catalog to order but with those things you order you have to plan like way in advance,” Florence. 

“Our school does a good job of providing us with what we need also we are at a school that is in a good district and in a good area in the district so I mean I feel like my students have the stuff they need based on what is provided,” said Tabron.

Some teachers have two jobs because they can’t live off of teachers income.

If teachers were to get paid more than they can stay focused on teaching instead of worrying if they are going to pay their bills in time. 

Florence said, “Having a second income helps me know that I’m going to have my bills paid, so I can focus on school being something I enjoy, not just work every single time.”

“I enjoy it,  but I mean I probably wouldn’t do it if I didn’t have to… I probably wouldn’t do as many hours,” said Tabron, who also has a second job to pay her bills.

“I feel like gas is more, grocery is more, everything is more, but pay hasn’t really risen in that time period so if you want to recruit or maintain high quality teachers you need to pay them a little more,” said Tabron.

On the other hand, Florence thinks that the school should just pay for all the teachers’ materials. “I think it would be fair for them to just pay for the materials because then they could know where the money is going. I would also like to be paid more because I know my money is always going to be invested in my students.”

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