The role of education in a society is of crucial importance - in order to have a civil and organised society; citizens need knowledge and the ability to think critically. They also need basic literacy and numeracy, and some knowledge of the world around them. This is not disputed, however, the need for teachers who receive high salaries and for 20 percent of the year are on holidays is rather questionable. One needs look no further than to the forum section of the Sydney Morning Herald to find the truth – that teachers are overpaid and under worked. [1]

Teachers enjoy an excellent remuneration package. One needs to search hard to find a career that, in the first year after graduation, can be paid up to 45 thousand dollars.[2] Compared to the starting salaries in other careers, teachers can be seen as rather generously compensated. According to figures quoted in the Good Education guide, the average starting salary, a graduate entry teacher is paid, on average, $35 574[3] and have some of the lowest course costs. This is compared to such courses as law and architecture, which have nearly double the course costs, an extra year of study and can only expect an extra two thousand dollars per annum. In the case of architecture, the average graduate can only expect a starting salary of $29000.[4] With all this in mind, teachers can barely claim to be poorly paid at all.

Teachers also claim to be overworked. However, this is a fallacy for two reasons. Firstly, teachers enjoy 12 weeks of holiday time a year. This is in direct contrast with the average employee, who receives a minimum of four weeks a year. Coupled with this is the fact that teachers enjoy all the public holidays away from the classroom. Their working hours are, essentially, between the hours of 8am to 3:30pm weekdays. This is different to the normal worker who has 8-hour days, and can work every day of the week. Teachers do have a fantastic deal! [5]

A teacher’s job is not overly arduous, nor is it particularly dangerous. To highlight this fact, one needs only look to those career choices, which are more dangerous, but much lower paid. According to Work Cover Western Australia, the teaching profession for males only lost 9.1 hours per million working hours due to illness or injury. This figure is only bettered by the insurance sector. For comparison, the manufacturing industry, the worst industry as far as lost time for injury and disease is concerned, lost 24.3 hours per million. In the case of women, the educating profession only lost 6.3 hours due to injury or illness.[6]

As illustrated previously, teachers, compared to the rest of society, are overpaid and under worked. They are paid extremely well once they have graduated and receive much better holidays. They also have a safe and secure workplace compared to other lesser-paid workers. This safety shows that their career is not overly dangerous and can show teachers are overpaid, or on the contrary, that other workers need to be paid more danger money. Teachers are overpaid and under worked.

[1] http://smh.com.au/yoursay/2003/09/17/ accessed 01/05/2004

[2] http://education.qld.gov.au/hr/recruitment/administrative/docs/classroom_teachers accessed 01/05/2004

[3] http://www.thegoodguides.com.au/fostable.cfm?coursetype=undergraduate accessed 01/05/2004

[4] http://www.thegoodguides.com.au/fostable.cfm?coursetype=undergraduate accessed 01/05/2004

[5] /http://education.qld.gov.au/hr/recruitment/administrative/docs/classroom_teachers accessed 01/05/2004 and Suncorp Certified Agreement, page 9

[6] All figures from WorkCover WA Injury Statistics (2002) http://www.safetyline.wa.gov.au/pagebin/injrstat0311.pdf accessed 01/05/2004