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下载Underpaid Teacher 教师的烦恼
For some of our nation's most important workers, there is a major disconnect between pay and priorities. Many teachers and firefighters are struggling just to make a living. While there may be a renewed sense of heroism for the nation's firefighters, they are not compensated for the potential risks that they face daily. And teaching is one of the lowest paying among white-collar professionals. Fred Katayama has more on America's most underpaid.
FRED KATAYAMA, CNN CORRESPONDENT
Teaching is no 9-to-5 job. Don O'Neil leaves the house he shares with his sister's family and arrives at Weaver High in Hartford by 7. To connect with inner-city students, the science teacher helps coach the football team and he advises students, meets with parents and grades paper.
DONALD O'NEIL, SCIENCE TEACHER
When the bell goes on, you're on stage. Your actor, psychologist, instructor, parent, social worker, and you've to do it five or six periods a day, five days a week, regardless of how you feel.
For all of this, the 50-year-old, six-year veteran gets paid just $36,000, even though his state ranks third highest in teacher pay. His paycheck shrank by a third when he switched careers from managing a paint store to managing students. To make end's meet, he teaches night and summer school as well. Teachers just don't make the grade when it comes to pay. The average teacher earns roughly $43,000 a year. Adjusted for inflation, their salaries have risen less than a 1/3 of a percent per year during the last decade, despite the economic boom. And the pay gap between teachers and other professions keeps growing. For example, accountants make 22 percent more than teachers today, double the gap nine years ago.
DOUGLAS HARRIS, ECONOMIC POLICY INST.
Education spending has grown somewhat over the years, although not as quickly as most people think it has. A lot of the new money is going into special education, which tend to have smaller class sizes, which means you end up hiring more teachers instead of paying the teachers you have more.
Last year, more than 200 teachers in New Jersey broke state law by striking over pay and benefits. That landed them in jail.
(INAUDIBLE) ...go no where, that's the whole point of this.
Teaching is an emotionally demanding job and teachers often get little respect.
Don't forget this, too.
Yet, O'Neil won't give up the chalk talk for anything else.
I get a lot more back, that's what it is, I think. I'll be teaching a class and a kid will pop in and go, hey, you know, I really miss you.
His colleague, who teaches health, could earn six figures with his medical degree, but finds joy in teaching kids.
DR. KELSON, HEALTH TEACHER
The way medicine is being practiced now, being so managed, I found out that through education, I'm getting a lot done.
They'll have to keep banking on emotional rewards, not financial, given the slow economy, their paychecks aren't likely to get fatter any time soon.