A Look Inside A Career In Elementary Education
By Alyssa Lauri (‘23)
Everyone has had a teacher who has made an impact on them in some way. Whether they know it or not, teachers have shaped generations of students into successful adults. The question is, do these teachers get everything they deserve for completing the task of molding young minds?
Third-grade teacher at Hillsborough Elementary school, Mrs. Jennifer Hopson, said “my least favorite part of my job is paperwork and the salary. Teachers are underpaid for all their hard work.”
This is proven in their average salary. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, an elementary school teachers’ median salary is $57,980 a year. This may make sense if you are only considering teachers’ contracted hours of usually seven hours a day, except that teachers often work way beyond these hours.
Mrs. Hopson said that “I never work to contract. It would never be possible to get everything done and be a great educator. I work at home each night and on weekends.”
For a relatively low average salary, almost all educators put a lot of their time in.
Additionally, elementary teachers do not get very many days off for personal things such as family vacations. Mrs. Hopson gets two personal days.
According to her, it seems that the occupation of teaching has gone downhill over the years.
Mrs. Hopson said, “Teachers are expected to do more work than ever before with no extra time and compensation.”
On the other hand, chances of getting a job after graduating college are high. There is a projected number of 53,100 new jobs in elementary education according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics. Mrs. Hopson got a job in education quickly, working half a year in a special education setting, until solidifying her current job.
Nevertheless, studying to become a teacher takes a lot of work. Teaching requires a bachelor's degree in education. Many colleges offer education majors such as Rider, The College of New Jersey(TCNJ) and Rutgers. As far as cost goes, the total tuition for a bachelor's degree is on average $24,000 a year, at TCNJ, depending on home income.
Mrs. Hopson studied at Rider, and graduated with an elementary education and psychology degree. She also got her master's degree in education as many other teachers do. Teachers can increase their salary by getting a master’s degree or by years of experience at a single school.
Mrs. Hopson has worked at Hillsborough Elementary school for 22 years.
Elementary school teachers' rates of unemployment are very low, at 2.8%. According to BLS.gov. With so many possible positions, a person searching for a job in elementary education can find a job quickly.
Common Core Standards have made teachers’ jobs a lot more difficult.
Mrs. Hopson stated that “Each child is unique and one standard does not fit all.”
For those who are willing to suffer the consequences of teaching, but would enjoy its rewards, elementary education may be a perfect career choice.