The Best and Worst Countries for Teacher Pay

A picturesque town along the Rhine River, July 2019.

In 1968 I was afforded a wonderful opportunity to study in Bremen, Germany, for a summer. Minoring in German in my university studies thus provided complete immersion into the German culture. Upon seeing my empty passport from the past 50 years, I sought to return to Europe a week ago. As a college student in 1968, touring castles and churches of the area was not a high priority. This time, determination to learn the histories of the Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland prioritized my travel.

As the guide explained about today’s German culture, I heard these words: German teachers earn as much as German cardiologists. Teachers’ pensions are held in high regard, with retiring teachers given honor by Germany’s chancellor. With significant pensions, teachers do not need to supplement their retirement. What a novel idea!

I spent many of my blogs sharing the issues facing teachers today. Educators, leaving their positions this year, stated money was not the primary reason for their departure. Reality therapy: some of the abuse, long hours and lack of support by parents and administrators could be lessened if the salary reflected the “battle pay” teachers deserve. The following is from Business Insider, researched by Shayanne Gal, Marissa Perino and Leanna Garfield (May 2019):

After 46 years of teaching, with both a Bachelor’s and 18 hours post my Master’s degree, my final teaching salary was only a few thousand dollars above an entry position (person holding only one degree). How could this transpire in a country which prides itself as a leader in education? Out of a 14 hour student day, a child spends half of it sitting in front of an educator. This student will attain self perception, learn about his world and gather information to accommodate him throughout his adult life. Are we to believe the national average of teacher pay at $60,000 insures our children are receiving the best education on a world stage? Teachers are leaving the profession in numbers greater than ever before. Are these top educators replaced by “cheaper versions”, less experienced teachers? Does the adage “you pay for what you get” apply to this conundrum? The clever school districts’ slogan of “putting kids first” needs to be re-evaluated. Our nation is failing today’s children by the very fact that low pay attracts less motivated and skilled educators. How much longer will this continue?

Enjoy a great summer read with answers to these questions. “Rescue the Teacher, Save the Child!” is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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