Earning a Raise: Teacher Income Update

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Photo by Daniel Fazio via Unsplash.com

I’m excited to announce some big salary changes this year! As you guys know, I made about $49,000 last year, plus about $3,000 with my summer job for a total of $52,000 gross income. It was definitely enough to pay off debt and live comfortably, but with some of the lifestyle inflation I’m experiencing (aka much higher rent) I feel really blessed to be able to make income moves and take some pressure off of myself.

I’d like to start by saying that the biggest raise I’ve gotten is one I’ve given myself by getting out of debt. I suddenly have $13,500 more this year than I did last. That being said, I’m making a few career moves this year to earn more. Obviously, as a teacher, I can’t negotiate my salary. Everything is based on a step system, so the only mobility you get is with time, education, and stipend positions. Within those confines, here’s what I’m doing to increase my income:

I got a new position as the school newspaper advisor. This might be the most exciting change– I was the editor-in-chief of my high school’s newspaper way back in the day and it was one of my favorite classes ever. I feel incredibly blessed that I get to do this and get paid for it at the same time! It’s a little more high-stress than teaching a regular class because of deadlines, fundraising, and managing student staff, but that’s why it’s a stipend position, and I’m happy to take it on.

I started coaching JV Field Hockey. This has been so much fun already. I had never played Field Hockey before, so I had a lot of learning to do, but coaching a small group of girls has been a blast. Sports (for me, volleyball and track) were a huge part of my high school experience, so I knew I wanted to coach eventually. Since the Field Hockey position opened up, I took a risk and applied for it despite not having experience playing, and it’s definitely paid off. The biggest downside is that it extends my work day by two hours (and more on game days), which also means a longer commute home, but so far it’s been entirely worth it. Plus, the season only lasts until October 16th, so after that I’ll get all the time back in my day.

I’m starting Grad school. This one’s a little scary for me on top of all the other changes right now, but I’m nevertheless excited to get back to being a student. I love being a learner, and the long-term payoff of having a Master’s degree will be huge for my future income. It’s a bit of a grind since I won’t see a salary increase from this until I complete the program in a few years, but it sets me up for much higher earning potential.

Here are the totals:

Base salary changes: I moved a step on the salary scale this year and all steps increased a bit for cost of living, so my base salary is now $51,250

Newspaper stipend: $3,375

Field Hockey stipend: $2,580

New salary: $57,200

Total salary change: +$5,200 (if I don’t work over the summer again)

How am I using my new salary?

I decided to put both of the stipends away for the summer months, so I’ll have a full summer fund of about $5,900 minus taxes. This will allow me to have the option of not working again this summer, though I may decide to anyway. If I make this choice, my income will increase by about $8,200. I’ll be considering whether or not this is what I want to do when I’m a bit closer to the summer. I’m excited to have a more complete summer income, because it will give me the ability to invest and save consistently in those months as well, instead of simply covering normal costs.

I’m excited to start making more money and being more consistent with my finances year-round, something I was definitely lacking this past summer. I enjoyed working my second job, but I’m looking forward to having the option to maybe take off and dedicate my summer to my blog (and some exciting new projects) full time. 

Am I putting too much on my plate?

I don’t think so. I recognize that it’s a lot of change at once, but I’m filling my schedule with things that I truly enjoy. Plus, in mid October, one of these new positions will already be off my plate. At most, I think it will result in a few high-stress periods throughout the year (perhaps newspaper deadlines intersecting with my degree work or lesson planning), but such is life, and such is the life I’ve lived up to this point. So, I’m cautiously optimistic that I can remain effective and keep everything under control. 

Here’s to new positions, higher salaries, and getting back into #teacherlife!

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