You Do The Math

More columns

written by Laramie:

written by Laramie:

Your comments about this column are welcome ~ e-mail Laramie at

The Spectator

founded 2004 by ron cruger

A place for intelligent writers

A place for intelligent readers

Laramie Boyd
A place for intelligent readers

Let's see. I worked as a high school mathematics teacher for 32 years. Lets round that
off to 30 years for ease of calculations.(As a mathematics teacher, I learned my shortcuts using zeros in problems). 30 years adds
up to 300 months.(We were only paid for 10 months per year, and 10 x 30 months is 300 months). Now you see why I taught math.(Let's
call it math, as mathematics sounds like what they teach in universities, which is not exactly like what is taught in high school.

My starting salary in 1960 was $500 per month, or $5000 per year,(10 x $500 is $5000). When I stopped teaching 30 years later, my pay was $5000 per month, or $50,000 per year,(10 x $5000 is $50,000). So, in 30 years of teaching, my pay was raised by $45000 per year, from &500 per month to $5000 per month, ($50,000 minus $5000 is $45,000), which is a pay raise of $1500 per year.($45000 divided by 30 years is $1500 per year; 30 goes into $45 once, subtract 30 from $45 and get 15, bring down the zero..... well, you know the rest). That's $150 per month,($1500 divided by 10 months is $150), or $37.50 per week,($150 divided by 4) which is $7.50 per day($37.50 divided by 5), and so forth. So on the average, for every one of the 6000 days I taught, (30 years teaching at 10 months per year is 300 months, each month is 20 teaching days, and 300 x 20 is 6000 days), I got a raise of $7.50.

Now, in 1960 when I began teaching, I taught 5 classes per day, at an average of 30 students per class, which is 150 students per day,(5 x 30 is 150), at a salary of $500 per month. That's $25 per day for 20 days,($500 divided by 20). Teaching 150 students per day for $25 means that I received $.17 for each student each day. Then 30 years later, at a salary of $5000 per month, the amount I received per student per day, was $1.70, 10 times the amount spent on each student per day 30 years ago,($5000 is 10 times $500, so the amount spent on each student would be 10 times more).

Based on this information, it seems to me that two questions stand out. One, do the services that teachers provide have so little monetary value, when compared to the salaries of athletes, some with criminal records, and CEO's of failed companies that need government bailouts to stay in business? And two, are we giving our children the best possible preparation for a life after their education is finished? And I don't think the answer "Well, teachers knew about the low salaries and no one made them enter that profession" comes anywhere near a reasonable explanation. Nor does, "Kids just don't want to learn the things that are taught in schools anymore."

My starting salary in 1960 was $500 per month, or $5000 per year,(10 x $500 is $5000). When I stopped teaching 30 years later, my pay was $5000 per month, or $50,000 per year,(10 x $5000 is $50,000). So, in 30 years of teaching, my pay was raised by $45000 per year, from &500 per month to $5000 per month, ($50,000 minus $5000 is $45,000), which is a pay raise of $1500 per year.($45000 divided by 30 years is $1500 per year; 30 goes into $45 once, subtract 30 from $45 and get 15, bring down the zero..... well, you know the rest). That's $150 per month,($1500 divided by 10 months is $150), or $37.50 per week,($150 divided by 4) which is $7.50 per day($37.50 divided by 5), and so forth. So on the average, for every one of the 6000 days I taught, (30 years teaching at 10 months per year is 300 months, each month is 20 teaching days, and 300 x 20 is 6000 days), I got a raise of $7.50.

Now, in 1960 when I began teaching, I taught 5 classes per day, at an average of 30 students per class, which is 150 students per day,(5 x 30 is 150), at a salary of $500 per month. That's $25 per day for 20 days,($500 divided by 20). Teaching 150 students per day for $25 means that I received $.17 for each student each day. Then 30 years later, at a salary of $5000 per month, the amount I received per student per day, was $1.70, 10 times the amount spent on each student per day 30 years ago,($5000 is 10 times $500, so the amount spent on each student would be 10 times more).

Based on this information, it seems to me that two questions stand out. One, do the services that teachers provide have so little monetary value, when compared to the salaries of athletes, some with criminal records, and CEO's of failed companies that need government bailouts to stay in business? And two, are we giving our children the best possible preparation for a life after their education is finished? And I don't think the answer "Well, teachers knew about the low salaries and no one made them enter that profession" comes anywhere near a reasonable explanation. Nor does, "Kids just don't want to learn the things that are taught in schools anymore."