I Made $54,000 Last Year.

I can remember the first time that I ever asked my Dad — who was a foreman at a Chevy plant that made rear axles for pickup trucks — how much money he made in a year.  It was the mid-1980s and I was working on a project for school.

His answer:  $50,000.

From that moment, $50,000 became a target to me.

If I could make $50,000, I knew that I could support a family and have a good home and go on vacations and send my kids to college.  If I could make $50,000, I could be a good provider and a good husband — something that mattered to me after having watched my father do those things for our family.

Doing my taxes yesterday, I realized that I made $54,000 last year.

After 22 years of full-time classroom teaching, after earning a master’s degree in advanced teaching techniques and after earning certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards TWICE, I’m FINALLY making what my father made in the mid-1980s.





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Teaching is a Grind

The Truth about North Carolina’s Historic Pay Raises for Teachers

More on North Carolina’s Historic Pay Raises for Teachers

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  • marsharatzel

    Comparing salaries just gets depressing

    Just wait.  The humiliation will continue when your daughter grows up and her starting salary will be more than you’re making.  It has happened to me twice as my grown children have started their careers.

    I couldn’t be happier for them but it does make my salary feel really puny.

  • BillIvey

    Not yet.
    I haven’t reached your dad’s benchmark yet, and it is certainly a few years off yet (and I’ve been teaching full time since 1985). In fact, if I heard the radio right the other day, if my wife were to become unable to work, we would instantly became a family in poverty.


  • TriciaEbner


    The salary situation is such a frustration. I’ve heard of situations where someone told a teacher, “But you do it for the children!” And yes–we do. Does that mean that if you do your job for some purpose other than the money, you shouldn’t get a salary reflective of your education, experience, and excellence?



    • marsharatzel

      Missionary work and pediatricians!

      I’ve always wanted to give a snarky response to a question like this Tricia….”Yes, but I didn’t believe I was going into missionary work where I had to solicit donations to support my family and to provide for my family.”  We do it for the children, the same as a pedatrician does it for the kids.  Why do folks not paying the doctor a reasonable salary?

  • wjtolley

    In NYC in 2010, I was making

    In NYC in 2010, I was making over $60,000 in my second year teaching with an MA and overseas experience.