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Do We Get Paid Enough, Really?

March 25, 2018 in 2017 - Australia - No Comments

Do We Get Paid Enough, Really?

March 25, 2018 in 2017 - Australia - No Comments

This is the nineteenth part of my Reflection Series for 2017 – a self-reflection of my teaching this year.

Pretend that you get to set your own salary for this past year based on the job that you did. How much do you feel that you earned?

This is an interesting question. 2017 was my fourth year teaching, and where I live our pay goes up each year of service.

I felt like, for perhaps the first time, that the pay I was on was actually appropriate for the work that I did.

I’m not sure if having the pre-service teachers had an impact on that or not. They were more work in some aspects, and took away some of my work in others. I also had a slightly reduced timetable (an effect of the position I took over), as well as a double-up of teaching 2 year 8 science classes – overall a lesser teaching load than I’ve had in the past.

Working in the private sector for a term meant I was on a higher salary during that time, and I’m not entirely sure that it was appropriate for the hours and expectations there. It felt like I was putting in 20% more hours, but I was only getting 5% more pay. That was part of the reason why I left in the end. But my pay in the public sector seemed quite reasonable.

I know teachers are generally underpaid, and that it has an affect on the public perception of the job. Many people think we get paid too much as it is, since all we do is ‘play with kids from 9-3 and get mad holidays’. Those of us in the profession generally think we don’t get paid enough to deal with what we need to deal with. I won’t disagree with the fact that more pay would be nice, and would likely raise the bar, but for me personally I am quite happy with what I was paid for 2017. Perhaps my opinion would be different if I’d had a higher load, or other responsibilities, but for what I did I feel I was paid fairly.

For those curious, here is a breakdown of what teachers are paid where I work. Is it significantly different to what you get paid? Do you personally think it’s adequate?


Emily is a secondary science and math teacher in Australia. She enjoys sharing the real and human teacher life, facilitating the ‘light bulb’ moment in her students, and drinking tea and wine.

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