Teachers grapple with finances

Faculty and staff received a seven-question survey Sept. 7 regarding the sudden decline in teacher retention. The influx of teacher truancy has been associated with factors such as salary and workload.

Spanish teacher Maureen Burke expressed her discontent with the current teacher income.

“The issue is, the salary does not keep up with the cost of living… I cannot keep up with what this job demands anyway,” Burke said. “To do this job, it takes an incredible amount of time and effort… with the six classes, some people have over 150 students.”

Educators across the nation are paid for the hours they spend teaching their students in the classroom, but the lesson planning, coach classes, parent comminucation, after school meetings and grading is not accounted for.

Over half of the 40 teachers that submitted the survey either have worked, or still hold, two jobs during the school year. Guidance counselor and varsity men’s soccer coach Daniel Skelton addressed the hardship of balancing teaching and raising a family.

“Even from my first day, 15 years ago when I taught, I had a second job as a club soccer coach and I still continue to do that today. There has not been a year that I have been involved in the public education system whether as a teacher or now as a counselor, that I did not hold a second job as a soccer coach,” said Skelton.

Baltimore County schools have also implemented a new learning management system, Schoology. Burke described the issues that arise with the system and the overwhelming workload of most teachers.

“Schoology… it’s so not user-friendly, it just takes so much more time. The job has always been hard, but I think as they keep adding more layers… it is just overwhelming,” Burke said. “It is hard to plan these lessons and then grade work… I would take less than my current salary in order to take a class off my plate. It is just so much.”

When asked about whether or not teachers have considered other careers due to their salary, Skelton offered a different view on the issue.

“Most people do not get into education for the money. They get into it for the passion that they have for working with young kids and being a part of those kids’ lives. I would be lying if I did not say there were certainly points where it has been a consideration to look at other professions and other avenues of income. This does become a very taxing job when you are often feeling underappreciated based on the salary,” said Skelton.

While Skelton agrees that the effort teachers put into their classes is not always recognized, he acknowledges that the school day is shorter than a typical 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. workday.

“A common argument for why salaries are the way they are is that we physically work fewer hours in the building [as opposed to other professions]. But accumulating more hours outside of school is the work that is underappreciated,” Skelton said.