Teaching has its various merits and drawbacks, for me.
First of all, no matter what educational bracket you are in, academia is the lowest income bracket you are looking at. This is why most teachers do lots of extra stuff – anything from coaching sports teams to staying after school to monitor kids getting on the bus. Every little job a teacher does that isn’t part of their job as a teacher, they are paid extra for – classic union stuff, and fair, if you ask me. Teachers get paid like chumps. Teachers, nurses, firemen, grunt soldiers – all our heroes apparently need to be satisfied with our praise and not a sizable stock portfolio. Anyway, before I get off on that kind of rant…
Arkansas is a horrible place to work, in the private sector. It’s a “right to work state,” which means that an employer can fire an employee at any time for any reason. Yes, this is a place where people can say, “My boss fired me because I’m prettier than her,” it can be entirely true, and that’s just the way it goes. When I lived here in 2007, I worked at a law firm called Wilson & Associates, in the department with the highest BAs per-capita (around 75% of us) making an insulting $11/hour while billing out $150/hour for the Partner over the department. Hoes get higher cuts from their pimps.
Substitutes make about the same. You get a $75 check for a seven-hour workday, which breaks down to $10.71/hour. Take note that the same pay I was getting to scrutinize real estate documents and cure real estate title issues…I now get to substitute teach, which really breaks down to glorified babysitting (and it would shock and appall you to know how many “real teachers” are nothing more than that, too – we’ll get to that another time). And before you start to whine, you’re getting me cheap, as a taxpayer. I have 20 kids a class. Having me watch them do a worksheet for an hour costs you around sixty-cents a kid, including the cost of the worksheet and lights.
The point of this is to peek into what would be someone else’s life if it wasn’t mine. Sadly, those without a BA/BS make only $55/day, which is still not horrible – you can become a substitute teacher by graduating high school and paying for a background check. That’s it. Maybe there’s a correlation between that and paying such ridiculously low wages. Again, for another time. Point being, even if someone managed to work every day (which is doable, but not enjoyable – your commute could be as far as driving the length of Rhode Island) making $75/day, you’re pulling $1600 before tax ($1400 after), no benefits. On the flip side, working 40-hours a week at Wilson & Associates, I made $1760 before tax ($1400 after), with benefits. It’s a little freaky, to think about.
I’d certainly tell anyone without a job and criminal record to get into it, though. I actually have a background in education, so I get a lot of work from teachers calling me personally, but anyone who has the ability to control a room of people (while having things like security officers as a crutch) and has no job should really be getting into this. A standard two-bedroom in Little Rock runs you $1000 with utilities; with a roommate, two kids fresh out of college can live as well as they would in a cubicle job as they do getting off work at 3pm every day. If you go the summer and can’t find work, this is how to at least be doing something semi-professional (haha) in the meantime.
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