In South Africa, the salary bands of teachers remain a matter of deep concern. An entry level Grade R teacher with less than three years of experience can expect to earn an average salary of R6000 gross per month. So we ask the question, are teachers valued?
A mid career Grade R teacher with 4-9 years earns about R7000 and an experienced Grade R teacher with 10-20 years makes on average R7800 per month.
81% of these teachers are female and 19% are male.
Does the salary determine the value?
Brain science has now shown how incredibly vital the early years are in the development of the child. If we can get our children to start ahead we can almost guarantee that they will stay ahead according to the OECD report. The quality of the people delivering the early childhood development has a massive role to play and the current salary band is unacceptable.
Let’s look at the YouGov Survey Results
The YouGov survey in 2019 in the UK presented some revealing findings on how teachers and the public perceive their value.
- 62% of people agree teaching is a job for life
- 53% of teachers would not be likely to recommend teaching as a career to children and young adults
- 61% of the public think the work of teachers is valued less than it was five years ago
- 78% of the public agree we need to do more to recognise the work of teachers
Perhaps the most distressing result of this survey is the reality that more than half of the teachers surveyed would not recommend teaching as a career to children and young adults. This is a very sad reality, but not unexpected when the take home pay for those Grade R teachers is so low.
“…more than half of the teachers surveyed would not recommend teaching as a career to children and young adults.”YouGov Survey 2019
What can we do?
With 62% believing it is a job for life, we need to embrace the commitment and ensure that they are encouraged and celebrated often. Teachers thrive on recognition – as do their students, and simple acts of recognition for their commitment and enthusiasm goes a long way to demonstrating appreciation.
“Our teachers play a crucial role in shaping the lives of young people. Despite growing workloads and stretched resources, our teachers have a positive impact on society every single day. With these growing pressures, it is unfortunately not surprising that people are reluctant to recommend teaching as a career.
At the Chartered College of Teaching we wholeheartedly believe that teachers should be celebrated for their work. They need to have the support of the whole of society and have access to the tools and insight to be the best teacher they can be. If we can support teachers from the second they start training, and celebrate them throughout their career for their impact, we can build the strongest profession possible.
– Professor Dame Alison Peacock
So, are Teacher’s Valued?
In short…No! We need to shout the words of Dame Alison Peacock from the hilltops to ensure that policy makers, education departments and school boards realise that teachers require continued support and celebration through their careers in order to be successful. If we do this, we can change the narrative.