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Will future Educators make a livable wage, so they can live in the communities they serve?

I want to be an educator

+25 Karma if successful
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Subject: Career question for you

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Kodi’s Answer

Hey Kashif, you've asked an excellent question that really gets to the heart of the kind of life you can lead with a career in education. I spent a decade as an educator, teaching for two years in the US before moving abroad to work at international schools in China and Japan for seven years. Over time, the cost of living in California has become increasingly expensive, making it challenging to earn a comfortable living as an educator. One reason I decided to move overseas, besides my desire to travel, was the higher pay and more affordable living costs at international schools compared to California (I lived in the Bay Area).

However, you'll need to consider factors like schools, school districts, and whether you'll live near your workplace or commute from a more affordable area. There are also other states and cities where the cost of living is more manageable for educators.

Ultimately, I suggest looking into the communities you're interested in and researching the average teacher salaries and living costs in those areas. Remember, educators aren't limited to the US; traveling can be an invaluable education in itself, and there's something special about sharing and experiencing different cultures. Although I'm no longer an educator since returning to the states, those years were incredibly rewarding. As a teacher, you have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of not only your students but their families as well. I don't want to discourage you from pursuing this path, as we need dedicated and caring educators.

Be prepared, though, for the possibility of having to purchase your own classroom supplies. When I taught in the states, I often bought my own materials, and many teachers face the same challenge. Educators are truly remarkable individuals, and they deserve greater compensation for their efforts. As you move forward, research school districts, preferred grade levels, local living costs, and potential career growth (like becoming a principal someday). I wish you all the best on your journey!
Thank you comment icon Thank you for taking the time to help. Kashif
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Mona’s Answer

Hello Kashif. This question is a little difficult to answer because it depends on many factors and is also somehow a personal matter.

As someone who has had so many different jobs since I started working at the age of 16 and studied different majors, and eventually decided to spend the rest of my career teaching, I can tell you; this profession is absolutely rewarding. It gives a sense of purpose and fulfillment that I can not compare with my other work, although the salary is much lower. That's why I said it is a personal matter because if you do not have the passion and the motivation, you might lose enthusiasm and patience anytime you might face an economic shortage.

And I said it depends on many factors because the issue of educators' income and their ability to live comfortably in the communities they serve changes significantly across different areas and countries. Although, recently, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of educators' role in shaping the future more than before. And also, economic factors, government policies, and social attitudes toward education all influence this subject as well.

There is also the fact that the level of education that you achieve matters a lot. Depending on the age group you wish to work with, the community you want to join, or the subject you want to teach, the higher your education, the better your salary.

At the same time, the definition of a "livable wage" can differ from one area or community to another or even from one person to another, depending on the cost of living and other local factors. So it matters where you decide to live and how you decide to live your life. Some might consider a certain amount of income comfortably livable, while another person might think it is not covering the expense of their life. It depends on people's lifestyles and habits.

These days though, the cost of living, in general, has increased significantly. So many people all around the world struggle through the month or year, not just in the education field but also in so many other professions as well.

I suggest you do a lot of research and see if you are willing to relocate or if there are opportunities offered by some communities near you that are better than others regarding the hourly payments. For example, if you are going to be a part-time teacher or an adjunct, your salary would be much lower compared to someone in a full-time position or tenure track. So it would be best if you had higher education and relative certifications to have a chance of getting a better job.

I personally do not rely only on one stream of income. I have an MFA, and therefore most of the opportunities available to me, in general, are on lower hourly payments or fewer hours per week. But there are so many other jobs and activities that can be related to what you like and can boost your income without taking your primary focus from your mentoring because, as you probably know, teaching requires lots of work and preparation. There are also so many websites and platforms with which you can connect and mentor online at your pace and based on your available schedule.

I am sure others can give you more guidance and tips from their own experience on how to manage your expenses so you can full-heartedly continue what you are passionate about doing. I hope this was helpful and wish you lots of success.
Thank you comment icon This was super helpful, thank you! Kashif
Thank you comment icon You are very welcome. If you are serious about this, I suggest you start shadowing some educators in your local area. See how their days go by and volunteer in schools or after-school programs, if any are available near your home that you can apply for. They are great ways for giving you an idea of whether this is right for you. Best of luck Mona Ahmadi
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