Low Teacher Pay Causes Push For Change

Carolyn Twomley and Kai Smith

Throughout BCPS and the rest of the nation, teachers have historically been unsatisfied with their annual pay. This, combined with the multitude of extra hours that teachers have to work to prepare for their classes and the sometimes unpaid extra hours that they have to spend running a club can have an impact on the amount of focus they give to teaching a class every day.


Most teachers that work in Baltimore County Public Schools have either a bachelor’s or master’s degree in education. The average pay for teachers within BCPS is $64,162 for ten months, which is the normal amount of working time for teachers, according to the official website for Teacher’s Association of Baltimore County (TABCO) – an organization dedicated to helping teachers in Baltimore County. These salaries and benefits are not comparable to the amount of students that teachers have to teach each day. The extra efforts that teachers are putting into their careers outside of the classroom are not reflected in the pay they are receiving. BCPS ranks third in Maryland with the amount of students within its system, while only ranking 12th in the amount of pay teachers receive.


Science teacher Marci Phillips has faced the direct impacts of the pressure from teaching a large class, and is also one of the teachers that has petitioned the BCPS school board to give higher wages and more planning hours to teachers. Philips attributes the lack of planning hours to a general feeling of being overwhelmed with work.


“[The lack of prep time] definitely affects the quality of how I do things within the classroom”, Phillips said.


According to the Texas Classroom Teachers Association, which is a similar organization to TABCO, teachers should receive around seven and a half hours of planning time each week. Contractually, teachers in BCPS receive around four hours of planning time each week, with some weeks yielding more based on the amount of coverage they are needed to fill for absent teachers each week. Teachers need this planning time to make copies, grade assignments, and make final preparations for the classes they teach. Therefore, this minimal amount of hours to do the large amount of work required from them has caused some to ask for more, whether it be pay or more planning hours.


Phillips echoes these thoughts.


“If you’re not going to give us the time, then you need to at least pay us for the work that we’re doing”, Phillips said.


Even though teachers are starting to push BCPS for higher pay, with the Board of Education starting to offer bonuses to hours and pay for teachers, there are still things that students can do to help ease the stress that teachers face daily, according to Phillips.


“See education as more of a partnership, more than something you can get away with, it really helps us a lot,”Phillips said.


The push for higher pay from teaching staff is a reflection of the staff’s desire to be rewarded for  the extra efforts that they are putting in to assist their students in reaching their full potential. Teachers feel as though the additional hours of work is not recognized and the movement for increased salaries is an attempt to claim the reward they feel they deserve.