I have a cousin who quit her six-figure corporate sales job to go back to school and become a grade school teacher. Her father told her she was nuts. Why would she leave a job making that kind of scratch to become a teacher? There are lots of reasons and proof to back it up.
We are in a teacher shortage. Young people are getting the message from their parents that a teacher’s salary won’t provide the kind of life that they always envisioned for them, or even worse, in many cases, it won't even continue to provide the lifestyle they've already grown accustomed to. My cousin was not alone in hearing that, her friends heard that message loud and clear as well. However, she was a rebel, so she threw her high-paying corporate gig by the wayside and became a 4th-grade teacher anyway.
How did it turn out for her? That decision is paying off and if you live in New Jersey or PA, it can for you too. New Jersey was just ranked the 16th best in the entire country for being a teacher, PA ranked 15th. A company called Schoolaroo did an in-depth study to see the Best and Worst States for Teachers and it feels good that the tri-state held its own.
Schoolaroo compared salaries, retirement packages, and pensions for public school teachers across all 50 states. New Jersey ranked high in the category of how easy our state makes it to become a teacher. Programs are streamlined and fast-track goals of getting a classroom. Our state also scored really well in the salary, compensation, and work benefits areas as well. The average teacher salary in New Jersey is about 71K dollars per year, add a summer work plan, coach a team or run a club, put your time in and you can hit that six-figure mark doing what you love.
There is another reason to follow your heart if it pulls you to teach. My cousin's sense of purpose has never been stronger. She is happier and she is going above and beyond to make a difference and promote inclusion. I’m so proud of her and over time with raises, she will match the salary where she was and with much more work-life balance. Her former sales job was relentless and it doubled her current work day. Time is money, and if you account for the hours put into the other corporate gig vs. her hours now, she's already hit the mark. I think so many of us forget to break down the time we spend vs. the money we bring in. If you do the math to break it down to an hourly wage, it can be sobering (and eye-opening).
Another study came out today crowning New Jersey the 3rd Best School System in the Country! Don’t let anyone dissuade you from becoming a teacher, especially in New Jersey. We need you, and your future is bright here. Plus, rumor has it that you are one smart cookie. Read more about it on the Schoolaroo website or in The Patch.
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