Starbucks is hiring! I asked the barista at my local Starbucks how much the job pays. She could only speak for herself and stated that she started at $15 bucks an hour. Wow, that seems like so little, yet…. I started teaching in Nevada in 2014, with an annual salary of 38k per year. Is that more than $15 bucks an hour?
Everyone has an opinion about teachers. Teachers think they do not get paid enough. The public thinks teachers have too much vacation time. Politicians use education to leverage votes from parents and teachers alike. This blog is about my opinions, or better, my musing as a teacher. The most time-consuming and important task that teachers undertake is lesson planning. Teachers plan for each day, each lesson, each week, and each block of instruction. Teachers are not paid by the hour, so they are given more tasks than is humanly possible to complete in a week, and then only paid the afore mentioned salary. Let’s do the math. (I’m a math teacher.)
If you look at a school calendar, you will see approximately 39 weeks of school for teachers. Some weeks have fewer days, but as a teacher I can assure you that it takes just as much time to plan a four-day week as it does to plan a five-day week, so we will just talk about weeks. As a fifth-year teacher I worked about 2,605 hours per year: 10 hours a day times five days, plus five on Saturday and ten on Sunday. I worked 40 hours before the school year began and 30 hours over winter break. (I was too exhausted to work spring break. Do I hear an amen?) Add it up and you get 2,605 hours for the year. $38,000 divided by 2,605 hours equals $14.59 per hour. Of course, this stellar pay is before taxes, so reign in the happy dance. Remember, teachers cram all this work into 39 weeks, not 52.
Your average teacher will make an excellent Starbucks employee. She’s a friendly, organized, outgoing, multi-tasking, subject matter expert who learns 150 names in one week. Let’s be realistic, teachers don’t work during the summer, ahem, so to compare it to working at Starbucks, you would have to cram the afore mentioned 2,605 hours into 39 weeks. 39 weeks times 40 hours is 1,560 hours before overtime. Starbucks employees are paid time-and-a-half for OT. Take the 2,605 hours teachers actually work, subtract the 1,560 hours worked before overtime and the overtime pay of $22.50 would be applied to the overage of 1045 hours per school year. 1045 times $22.50 equals $23,512.50. Add this overtime pay to the $30,000 that a $15 an hour, full-time employee is already earning in regular pay, and you have a first-year wage of $53,512.50 per year before taxes. Either way you slice it, by hour or by year, the entry-level Starbucks employee is ahead.
In the 2019-20 school year, with five years of seniority, I am scheduled to make $43K during the fiscal year, essentially making $16.50 an hour. It takes 30 years to reach the top end of the pay scale as a teacher, and you cannot get there without going further into debt to earn your master’s degree. I don’t need student loans to work at Starbucks, though it is beneficial in management. Is it probable that in my 6th year at Starbucks I would only be making $16.50 per hour?
Okay, okay, teachers are overworked and underpaid. Why teach? I’m not sure that I can answer that question because I think we are all a little crazy. I also have no solution for the pay discrepancy, but there are plenty of bargaining groups working on that. Time. Time is how we can help each other. I find that teachers are usually very territorial with their rooms and materials. DON’T! Open up your doors and share. Collaborate and lighten the load of another teacher. Be open to new methods and explore new viewpoints. Work smarter, not harder. I am glad that Starbucks supplies great entry level jobs to our high school graduates. I choose to be one of those who prepares the adolescents of my community for college and the marketplace.
Make the decision today to share something with one other teacher that will save that person time. ALSO take advantage of the kindness of a colleague and use their work to save yourself some time. I will go first. On the homepage of this website you will see a tab that says FREEBIES. Take a minute to grab at least one of these freebies to save you time. Share the freebies with a colleague to give them the gift of time. Then grab a glass of wine and enjoy some free time!