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Friday, February 18, 2011

If Teachers Were Paid Like Babysitters…

Maybe that's all teachers should be until society gets its priorities straight. -cpg

by sittercityspeaks

We came recently came across a blog by a soon-to-be first-year teacher who was making the point that, despite complaints to the contrary, teachers are NOT overpaid. (Not sure who he’s been talking to, since we rarely hear that claim!) Nonetheless, here’s what he says he would make if teachers were paid like babysitters.

He starts by saying that all of this will be based on the average babysitter rate of $5/hour.

Note: The national average for babysitting is actually $10-12/hour for college-age babysitters. Check out our Rate Calculator to get a much more specific idea about what babysitters in your neighborhood are actually making.

Teacher wage per hour: $5 per hour for each student.
Average number of students per class: 22.
Average number of hours per day a teacher works: 7 hours.
Average number of days per year a teacher works: 180.

Class, let’s pull out our calculators.

Remember this? The calculator from hell.

The blogger continues…

22 students at $5 per hour = $110 per hour.
$110 per hour multiplied 7 hours a day = $770 per day.
$770 per day multiplied 180 days a year = $138,600.

He also argues that on top of this, most teachers put in an extra “three to four hours a day preparing, assessing, tutoring and participating in extracurricular events to ensure the success of their students.” Based on that, plus the fact that the average rate of babysitters is around $10/hour, his calculator should actually be well more than doubled… in the high $300,000s.

How’s THAT for a starting salary?


  1. Good point, but it fails to consider the economic law of conservation.
    A better analogue would be daycare rates.

    If I make dinner for myself, I put in a 100% of the labor required to make dinner. But if I double the recipe, twice as much work is not required.

    I'm making no stance on any political issue, just suggesting that there is a way to make your argument closer to reality and more helpful.

    1. Every teacher knows what "individualized instruction" means and is charged with it. It's not like doubling a recipe.

  2. It might not be a bad idea to use this as a starting point for school funding, however. But, let each teacher run his or her class like a medical office. From this amount in the 300s let him or her pay for all materials, support, and utilities. More of a return to teacher as independent contractor and less of teacher as collaborator/mandate-receiver.

    1. Do you pay for all your supplies where you work? Do you share the utility bill payments? Just asking. Please don't bother saying you're the owner....

  3. I just want to play with the numbers a bit, to provide a more down-to-earth example.

    I am a teacher in Indiana with five years of experience. Currently, my salary is about $33,000 a year, before taxes.

    My son attends a local day care; we pay $2.70 an hour for this service, a very competitive rate in our community.

    I have, on average, 29 students in my classes this year. I am contractually obligated to be at school for 7.5 hours a day, but I have students under my direct authority for a total of 4 hours, 45 minutes a day (this does not include personal prep, team prep, or even passing periods or lunch).

    We are contracted to work 185 days a year, but students are with us only 180 days a year.

    Now, no analogy is perfect, but I'm going to use these numbers and see what we find:
    $2.70 an hour
    29 students (average class size this year)
    4.75 hours
    180 days

    All told, my salary, using these numbers, should be $66,946.50, a little over 200% of my actual salary.

    Again, I understand no analogy is perfect; off the top of my head, I understand that the $2.70 an hour I pay to day care also goes to overhead and expenses beyond day care provider salaries. At the same time, however, I work much, MUCH more than 7.5 hours a day for 185 days a year. I easily put in 60 hours a week when I'm teaching, and I continue to put in hours on weekends and in the summer as well. Good teachers do that; they understand that it is a part of the job. We're not complaining; we're trying to provide perspective from people that are actually in the field.

    1. Where you teach is important. In suburban Hudson Valley NY, (, the mean salary is 100,000,000. I just lost my 34k job and had to read a Facebook meme that reads "you is broke, you is tired, you is teacher"

      The person that posted it as "liked" is a teacher in her 40s who makes $130,000 per year. (step raises like crazy). She will retire with great medical and a $100,000 pension with no state or local tax taken out.

      ....and summers off