Education careers are not what they used to be, leaving some to wonder: are teaching degrees even worth the hassle?

Without a doubt, teaching is one of the most important careers in any community. Without good teachers, there would be no other professions. No one would receive the foundational knowledge they needed to proceed onto more prestigious careers. For this reason, the world will always need dedicated teachers that will help mold our youth to be the professionals that will build our future.

But that doesn’t mean the world will give them the respect they deserve.


Unfortunately, prospective teachers are starting to realize the cons that come with the teaching profession and many are now choosing different careers. Many are asking themselves, “Is it really worth it?”

Back in the late 1800s, when the United States started to implement mandatory schooling for the children, teachers couldn’t get hired faster. Great healthcare and retirement benefits through the government became a few of the perks in the teaching career. Teachers were honored and received a lot of respect from their community. Needless to say, things have really changed for today’s teachers.

Though many teachers are respected, teachers are facing difficult challenges that they have never faced before. First of all, teachers today are overworked with larger class sizes, higher test expectations, and fewer resources. Then, there is the big issue of salary pay. Teacher are officially the most underpaid jobs in America.

Many who do not know how much work teachers do would say, “Oh, but don’t they get 2.5 months of vacation during the summer?”

This is the probably the most misunderstood topic in the teaching field. During the 9.5 months of school, teachers easily put in anywhere from 9 to 14 hours of work a day. That’s right, PER DAY (not to mention the many weekend overtime hours). Put it this way: though they are getting paid to work 40 hours a week, teachers are working somewhere around 60 to 70-plus hours per week. If you do the math, you see that teachers are easily exceeding their 2.5 months of summer vacation hours before it’s even Christmas.

One of the perks that used to draw educators into the teaching career was the health and retirement benefits. This is not the case today. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that school district costs for teachers’ health insurance rose at an average annual rate of 4 percent above inflation from 2004 to 2012. In 2004, health insurance costs tacked 11.4 percent onto teacher earnings; in 2012, they added 15.5 percent.

So, you’re probably asking yourself, with all of these cons, why are we still seeing newly minted college grads entering the education field? If they were smart, wouldn’t they just leave and get another higher paying job? Well, this is where we see the heart of teaching, literally.

Teachers, whether you think they are good or bad, sacrifice a lot to do what they do—time being the least of them. Teachers who decide to go into the field are fully aware of the consequences of their choice but decide to do it anyway. Why is that?


It is because of the children. All teachers want to see the benefits of their hard work, not in a paycheck, but in the smiles on their students’ faces. Sure, there are struggles with attitudes and disrespect from their students (and parents), but all teachers know that their many efforts will eventually help these students to build a future for themselves.

In my opinion, teaching is the most honorable, yet under-recognized, of careers. But if you were to ask a teacher if it was worth it to work so many stressful hours with so little pay, without a doubt, they would say smile and say, “Of course.”

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