Young people should pursue teaching

A story that we ran in Tuesday, May 21’s Mining Journal out of Lansing said only 25 percent of Michigan teachers recommend the job. On Sunday in The Mining Journal, Bryan DeAugustine, NICE Community Schools superintendent, wrote an op-ed in defense of a career in education.

We agree with Bryan that education is an important and personally fulfilling job. We also believe that when you look at the entire financial package that teachers receive, the profession has one of the best pay and benefit packages of any profession. We recognize that the starting pay compared to some other professions is low, but when you look at someone who has 20 years of teaching behind them, and then you add in the benefits for health care and pensions they receive, teachers are very well compensated.

We urge students thinking about going into teaching to do their homework and get the facts straight when making their decision. Talk to someone in teaching and see if they are willing to share with you how they are compensated with their total pay and benefit package. We checked on the pay and benefit package for someone with 20 years tenure at Marquette Area Public Schools and we found that a teacher with two decades on the job would average a pay and benefit package of close to $116,000 per year. When you consider the average family income in Marquette County is $48,491, that tells you teachers are very well compensated compared to many other professions locally. The average family income does not take into consideration pension and health care benefits like we show in the total compensation for teachers.

Teaching is a very important job because our teachers are helping to structure our future for our youth. Many teachers will also tell you just how rewarding a career in teaching can be. Bryan DeAugustine’s op-ed talks about that. Just like any other profession there will be teachers that love their job and others that are dissatisfied. We believe when you look at the profession in its entirety that teaching is one of the most respected and important jobs a person can choose to go into.

Another thing to be considered is the time off that comes with teaching. We know during the school year that teachers put in many hours, just like people do in other professions. But when you consider the summer vacations for schools plus the Christmas and spring breaks, you will see that teaching also offers more personal time off than most professions.

Consideration of the amount of personal time off should be added into the equation for anyone considering teaching as a profession.

The bottom line is that we have great respect for teachers and we also feel that they are fairly compensated compared to many other professions. We hope students that are looking at teaching as a career do their homework and check out all the details that come with being a teacher. Teaching is a respected career with a strong pay and benefits package and should be looked at as an excellent profession to pursue.