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Teachers work only 9 months a year? Misleading?

By Lee Cleveland - June 25, 2023

Teachers play a vital role in shaping the lives of students, but there is a prevailing misconception that they only work “8-9 months” per year due to spring break and summer vacation.

Is it really easier to work as a teacher than a job where you have to work year-round?

Kyle Cohen, an elementary school teacher from Cleveland, Ohio, took to TikTok to respond to this claim and shed light on the realities of a teacher’s workload and compensation.

Cohen, who entered the teaching profession after earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology and leadership studies, shared his personal experience as a fourth-grade teacher. In his first year, he worked at a charter school and earned a meager salary of $31,000, despite having a class of 16 students with diverse special needs. The revelation of his low income shocked many viewers, prompting them to express their concerns about the underpayment of teachers.

One teacher even shared her own salary, highlighting the minimal raises she received over the course of her career. The lack of significant salary growth further reinforced the notion that teachers are not adequately compensated for their valuable contributions.

To counter the claim that teachers have an easy schedule due to the supposed shorter work year, Cohen presented a compelling mathematical breakdown. He revealed that he typically works from 7 AM to 5 PM, amounting to approximately 10 hours per day. Considering the five-day workweek, this equates to 50 hours.

Additionally, he accounted for another 10 hours per week spent in meetings. However, Cohen clarified that this estimate only scratches the surface, as he invests numerous extra hours in planning lessons and completing administrative tasks outside of regular class time. In addition, they have to grade tests and reports when not in the classroom.

By extrapolating his estimated monthly workload of around 240 hours, Cohen illustrated the true extent of a teacher’s dedication.

He then calculated his annual salary against the number of hours invested, concluding that he earns a meager $14 per hour. This revelation emphasized the stark reality that many teachers earn wages just slightly above or equivalent to the minimum wage in their respective states.

The video sparked disbelief among viewers, generating a strong reaction against the systemic underpayment and underappreciation of teachers. Many echoed the sentiment that the existing system urgently needs reform to rectify this injustice and better recognize the value of educators’ hard work.

However, Cohen made it clear that his intention was not to complain but rather to advocate for better teacher compensation. He expressed his profound love for his profession and gratitude for the opportunity to be an educator. Nevertheless, he emphasized the need for conversations and actions to rectify the inappropriate pay scales that fail to match the significant efforts teachers invest in throughout the year.

“I don’t want to come off as ungrateful, Chien said via YourTango.

“I’m not ungrateful because I absolutely love what I do, and I would not trade being an educator for anything. I am incredibly grateful to be in this field,” he said.

“But what I am hoping we have conversations about is the fact that teachers who are ‘only working for eight to nine months of the year’ are being paid inappropriately for the amount of work that they are doing.”

Since the video’s release, Cohen has obtained a master’s degree in education and continued his teaching career for three more years. It is hopeful that his dedication and contributions, both inside and outside the classroom, have been recognized with an appropriate raise, reflecting the immense value he and other teachers bring to the education system.

In conclusion, Kyle Cohen’s video successfully debunked the misconception that teachers only work “8-9 months” per year. His simple math and personal experience shed light on the significant workload and insufficient compensation faced by educators. This call for change has resonated with many who acknowledge the underpayment and undervaluation of teachers, fueling the demand for fairer treatment and improved salaries in the education sector.

@mr.kylecohen #stitch with @itsnitababyyy #teachers #teachersoftiktok #teacherlife #money ♬ original sound – Mr. Kyle Cohen