How much does a teacher really earn?

WagesThis post follows on from my most popular blog post to date ‘How much does an NQT earn?’ Written just over two years ago, it has had over 18,000 views and it it always looked at daily, even now.

So I’ve decided to do the same post but with an actual wage slip of when I was in the swing of teaching. As with the last post, you have to bare a few things in mind: This wage slip is from two years ago. It was when I was teaching in a mainstream school. I have quite a large student loan and although the dedication looks small on this wage slip, I get over double deducted now and I am outside of London. Also don’t forget that us teachers have had our oh so generous 1% pay increase each year for the past two years.

So here is a complete breakdown from my actual wage slip and gives you an insight into what a teacher earns. I am currently suffering from baby brain so I can’t quite remember what M scale this was from, but I think I had been teaching around 4 years.

Total Pay & Allowances:    £2,161.00

DEDUCTIONS

Employee NIC:     £155.23

Tax Paid:     £302.00

Pension:      £159.91

Student Loan:     £64.00

Total Deductions:    £681.14

TAKE HOME PAY: £1,479.86

As you can see, a lot of your wage you never actually get to ‘feel’. A lot is deducted before it even hits your bank account. However, I may be in the minority but I am actually pleased with my wage. Yes, I definitely think teachers deserve more and when you break down the hourly rate, most teachers are on less than minimum wage. But, now two years on, I am earning more than the figure above (surprisingly, not that much as I get taxed a lot more now and have larger student loan deductions and pension contributions) and I am earning a good wage. A wage that allows me to pay my mortgage, go on holiday, indulge my shoe and clothing shopping habit and generally enjoy myself.

You have to remember that you will start off on quite a basic wage but it soon creeps up and along the way you may be lucky enough to add on a TLR payment, SEN points of get appointed as a member of SLT. Sometimes you need to weigh up the stress/ workload balance though. I was offered a behaviour TLR at the PRU where I work. As is obvious, behaviour isn’t normally a strong point for referral units and the TLR was worth £1,300. The extra workload and pressure just wasn’t worth it for me at this time in my life so I declined. But it just shows that there are ways of boosting your income in education.

The financial drought until 30th September (Pay day!)

So, yay! I’m going to be getting a salary. A salary. I will actually have the same amount of money coming into my account at the same time every month. Every month. And if Gove doesn’t stick his oar in, it will only go up every year. Wow! Never in my life have I had a salary. I cannot express how excited I am about this prospect. Having been self employed in the past I never knew how much was coming in each month, I didn’t get paid for holidays and some months, I didn’t even have any income at all. So I am almost bouncing off the walls with excitement about my NQT salary. Almost.

That is because it is now July and I do not get this salary until the end of September. I will not have any money coming in until 30th of September 2013 at 00:00hrs. Since finishing university I have been working full time in my school. I’ve been meeting my new class, getting to know the staff, going to meetings, school trips and getting to grips with the school’s planning and marking policy. My time going in has been worth it’s weight in gold. I am confident now about September, feel a little bit more at ease and have gotten over all that awkward meeting new people and I even feel comfortable and at home in the staff room. The only problem is…. I’m not being paid. Other people on my course are going into their school and being paid. ‘Isn’t it great! We’re going to get paid in july and August!.’ Well, yes, it’s great for you… but not so great for me.

When I got my job the head teacher said it would be ‘fabulous’ if I could come in when my course had finished, ‘I might be able to pay you, which will be good.’ Yes, yes it would. Except when i started, money was never mentioned. At the end of my first day I spoke with the other two NQTs and asked them if they were being paid. They weren’t. ‘Are you going to ask to be paid?’ I had asked. Their astonished faces told me other wise. Of course not! We were lucky to have a job! So, not wanting to be the greedy, money grabbing NQT I didn’t say anything. Schools are bitchy places and I didn’t want people to discuss me higher up even though it is my right.

The annoying thing is that I gave up a very lucrative job for the whole of July. A self employed job that would have been more than my month’s teacher salary. I am literally out of pocket. So now I have to live on beans on toast, sell things on Ebay (old PGCE books) and convince my friends that a gossip in the park is way better than going out for a meal and cocktail. ‘Come on- let’s make the most of the hot weather. We don’t know how long it will last!”

After a PGCE you are tired. You deserve a rest, you don’t want to work behind a bar or in a shop for the six weeks holidays. But needs must. Except, there aren’t many places that want to take on a worker for 4 weeks who has to have a few days off in the week to ‘sort of my classroom.’ Believe me I’ve looked.

So for now, everything has to stop. Buying clothes (sob), buying those new heels (louder sob!) and going on that much needed holiday. I have my last bursary to cover three months of rent, bills, car insurance.

I wonder if I can still get that maintenance grant, thingy? I really need to read through all that boring student finance paper work….