Teachers not paid enough as is

Published 11:06 am Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Dear Editor,

I would like to respond to the editorial written by Jan Griffey. You are correct in the fact that teachers are not paid near what they are worth. Not only are we underpaid, we have no opportunities for bonuses, commissions, cost-of-living raises or performance raises as other professions do. We sometimes go years without a significant raise. Health benefits and retirement benefits help to offset the low pay.

It is very unreasonable to ask us to “pay a little more” for health and retirement benefits. To take a little more from what is very little to start with is terrible. Educating children is a very important job. Today’s children are tomorrow’s professionals. Do you realize that a teacher could barely support a family on his/her income alone? That is ridiculous!

Misinformed people think we are paid well because we have holidays, weekends and summers off.

For those of you that do not realize it, a teacher’s salary is based on the number of days in school. Yes, we are paid for twelve months, but the pay for nine months is divided by twelve months so that we receive a pay check every month. We are not paid for time off. We get no paid vacation. We are not paid for overtime. How many of you have a job as important to the future as ours is and make as little as we do? Yes, it is time for the leaders of Alabama to make some very difficult decisions.

It is time to decide if being a teacher is a necessary profession anymore. It is time to decide if what we do impacts the future. It is time to decide what would happen if no one wanted to enter the teaching profession anymore because the pay and benefits were too low to raise a family. It is time to look elsewhere to solve the budget problems.

By the way, if you can read this, comprehend this, and form an educated opinion — you probably need to thank a teacher for that!

Nell Haley

Riverchase Middle School