10 Reasons Why Teachers Deserve to Be Paid $1 Million a Year

10 Reasons Why Teachers Deserve to Be Paid $1 Million a Year

Let’s talk teacher pay. It’s no secret that teachers are some of the most underappreciated and underpaid professions around the world. So we think it’s time for a change, and if you’re going to dream of change… why not dream for a LOT of change? We’re talking about backing up the Brinks truck and making it rain cash all over the place. Yup, we’re talking about paying teachers a million dollars a year. Think it’s too much? Well here are 10 points that prove we are worth every penny.

1. Teaching is like 20 jobs rolled into one, so teacher salary should be like 20 salaries rolled into one.

Let’s face it, teachers aren’t just teachers. We’re counselors, surrogate parents, mentors, therapists, emotional support providers and so much more. So since we’re doing all these extra jobs why aren’t we getting paid for them? On most days we have to wear so many hats that the only thing we DON’T get to do is actually teach our students. So I say we just add up all those extra jobs, see what they would all get paid individually and add it to our total. (Hint: You’re going to need a calculator to do that much addition.)

2. We pretty much have the most important job in the world.

It’s not just teachers who say this. A lot of people agree that teachers play a vital role in the development and progression of society. We are literally teaching the future movers and shakers of our world and the better job we do, the better our future will become. Yeah, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t get more important than that, so let’s start recognizing our importance in a way that matters… with a buttload more money.

3. It takes a lot of coffee and candy to power a teacher for an entire year.

Waking up isn’t easy to do in general. Waking up early in the morning, dragging your body into school, and getting bombarded with a classroom full of endless energy machines is bordering on cruel and unusual punishment. As such, teachers require copious amounts of coffee and candy so that we can at least attempt to match the sugar rush our students seem to be on, on a daily basis. We need teacher pay that supports our caffeine and sugar needs.

4. If we’re going to make more decisions than a brain surgeon, we should at least get paid like a brain surgeon.

There was a study done not so long ago that concluded that teachers make more minute-by-minute decisions than a brain surgeon. That is both amazingly cool and terrifying all at the same time. To think a brain surgeon with years of medical experience and training could walk into a classroom and honestly say, “Nope, there’s no way I can handle this,” says a lot about teaching. What it should also say about teaching is we’re worth at least as much as brain surgeons and should be compensated as such. Yup, teacher pay should be greater than brain surgeon pay.

5. We need the extra cash to prepare for everything the school day throws at us.

If a zombie apocalypse broke out tomorrow (it is 2020 after all, there’s still time), you know teachers would be the most likely to survive. We know how to prepare for every possible curveball that could ever be thrown at us, and after a year like 2020, I think it’s time to make sure teachers have every resource available when the world goes all wonky again. A million-dollar teacher salary ought to just about cover it, you think?

 6. Some of us have very serious classroom supply addictions.

Teachers aren’t perfect creatures. Some of us may wander into Target and get lost for hours at a time filling our carts with every manner of supply we can find. But can you blame us? You never know when you’ll need Sharpies in 50 different colors. There will totally be a time when that’ll come in handy, we promise. And just think of how visually rich our classrooms would be with that kind of supply budget? Increasing teacher pay could single-handedly save the economy!

7. If you think we’re just a bunch of babysitters, then you should totally pay us like babysitters.

Teachers get called a lot of things, including “babysitters.” So you know what, let’s just lean into that metaphor, shall we?

Let’s assume that as babysitters we would get paid $25 per hour per child. A little high perhaps, but we are filling their heads with important knowledge so that should move us ahead of the average teenager you hire on a Friday night.

Now a lot of teachers have 25 students in their classrooms for 7-8 hours per day, and most school years are 180 days long. Ready to see the math?

$25 per hour per kid x 25 students 8 hours per day x 180 days = $900,000

Hmm… that million dollars doesn’t seem so crazy now, does it?

8. Our Pinterest minds can only create so much on a teacher’s salary.

Teachers are a creative bunch. We spend hours on Pinterest scouring the page for crafts and decorations and organizational ideas that would be the perfect fit for our classrooms. Sadly our current teacher pay can’t come close to matching what we envision in our minds. I figure a million dollars should just about cover even our most ambitious projects.

9. Just consider it back pay for all the times we were underappreciated.

Yes there’s Teacher Appreciation Week, and yes another coffee mug with “#1 Teacher” on it always puts a smile on our face, but c’mon now. You know teachers aren’t getting the love we deserve. Remember earlier this year when we all went into quarantine and parents suddenly realized how hard teachers work and instantly started telling us how valuable we were and how we deserved all the pay raises in the world? Yeah let’s go back to that, I liked that.

10. Because we all know we’d spend most of it on our students.

At the end of the day, you know just how true this sentiment is. Teachers love their students and we want to give them everything they need to be successful (and maybe a few extra things here and there because we like seeing them smile). If teachers really got paid a million dollars a year, we’d be pouring it right back into our students in as many ways as possible. Our students would never need another backpack, pencil, laptop, book or pair of shoes ever again.

And if that isn’t reason enough to pay us a million dollars, I don’t know what is.


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David Rode

Dave is a middle school math teacher. He's also a musician, a community theater, dad to two amazing children, and he doesn't get a lot of sleep.

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