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If I Could Have Set My Own Salary

December 23, 2016 in 2016 - London - No Comments

If I Could Have Set My Own Salary

December 23, 2016 in 2016 - London - No Comments

This is the nineteenth part of my Reflection Series – a self-reflection of my year teaching in the UK.

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 (the number you come up with should be in no way based on your current salary – rather, come up with a number that truly reflects how you should be compensated for your work this year)?

It would have been a lot higher than I was getting paid, that’s for sure!

I did more work in the UK than I was doing back here before I left, but was only getting about 2/3 of the pay. That pinched a bit.

I think by the end of the year I would have been setting myself a salary of about $80,000. No joke, but no exaggeration either.

I was at school for about 10 hours a day, with another 2 or so hours spent working in the evenings. I spent a few hours each weekend day working too. I did take much of my school holidays off to travel, but not enough to even out the time, and if I didn’t I definitely would have burnt out and left.

I took on more responsibilities than I ever had in any job previously, even becoming Junior Science Coordinator, but with no pay raise. I did ask my agency, and was told it wouldn’t happen. That day was almost the tipping point that sent me out of teaching for good, until I remembered I would get paid better in Australia for a more manageable workload and nicer kids.

I also feel like the emotional and mental abuse should be compensated. It was the worst year for me in that sense, and of course because mental health is still a taboo, it would never be seen as something to take into account.

It feels funny thinking I need to justify this choice of pay to you readers of the internet, but I know a lot of people think teachers have a seriously easy ride, get paid too much, and get too many holidays. To those people I say – If it’s such a good deal, why don’t you do it? Just try it out for a term? I know if you asked anyone in any job they’d tell you they aren’t getting paid enough, but I think that’s more true in education and medicine than any other profession.

At least we get the holidays though, right?


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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