Teaching compensation reasonable and fair

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in July 2022, there were about 270,000 fewer teachers and teaching personnel than at the start of the calendar year. Although this is a staggering number, data shows that this decline in the education department has been an ongoing theme since 2019. To get a broader and more personal picture of what this decrease in educators means, The Bengal’s Purr interviewed teachers in the area.
For some, the lack of teachers can be attributed to the lack of pay. On average, a teacher can make anywhere from $29,000 to $59,000 a year.
“Oh, yeah, I realized that I would probably make more money working at a Burger King than being a teacher. Plus, I get a cool uniform,” said Elana Portenhouser, a now-retired 28-year-old teacher turned fast food restaurant cook.
This disparity in pay is usually hidden by benefits such as pizza parties in the designated teacher’s lounge or a 25% discount on a small coffee. Although said benefits are seemingly lavish, they are not enough to hide the many teachers who live near the poverty line.
For other people, the decrease in the teaching workforce can be related to how teachers are treated by students and administration alike.
“One time, one of my students bit through the cartilage of my ear because I told her that she couldn’t leave my class to get more pizza from the cafeteria,” described Tames Johnson, a now institutionalized student-teacher. “The experience was so bad I had a psychotic break later that week. But I’m glad to report that I’m on the road to recovery and will get out of here within the next five years.”
Another teacher reported that when one of her students threw a table at her, she was put on administrative leave for crying and not “handling the situation in a more appropriate fashion.”
While the decrease in teachers is becoming more pronounced, people are discussing ways to support teachers. Cornwallis Brown, the Middle of Nowhere School District superintendent, explained how administrators could better support their staff members and encourage more people to step into the education field.
“I think what we need to do is to have four professional development days a week. That way, teachers are forced to learn how to cope and handle tough situations they may face in the classroom,” Brown said.
Brown added that he wants to implement more pizza parties within his school district and hand out 50% discounts on small coffees to every teacher who does not quit their job within the first year.