Complications surrounding professor pay raises have only increased as the weeks have gone on and put certain professors’ financial stability at risk.
TCC professors have spoken out about how the lacking pay has affected their livelihoods and shared how teaching has impacted their lifestyles, like Becca Goodwin, NE assistant professor of English and Ph.D.
“The issues surrounding teacher pay are complicated at best,” Goodwin said.
She believes teachers and other first responders on a government budget should receive a higher salary and that said salary should be balanced.
“As a humanities professor, my pay is often less than other disciplines,” she said. “I do not agree with disproportionate discipline pay like this at the university and college level. Fortunately, TCC pays its faculty based on education and years of experience — wonderful attribute of working here.”
The financial reality of teachers often involves working multiple side jobs to be able to make ends meet, Goodwin said. This reality is one Taryn Seidler, CN adjunct English professor, is currently living.
“I work two jobs,” Seidler said. “My day job is as a high school teacher in a school district – this is incredibly demanding. Teachers in school districts already claim to be overworked and underpaid. On top of that job, I teach part time here at TCC. I work every minute of every day to pay the bills, and it is exhausting, to say the least.”
According to EdSource and a nonpartisan organization known as Teacher Salary Project, a 2021 nationwide survey of over 1,000 classroom teachers found that “82% of respondents [teachers] said they either currently or previously had taken on multiple jobs to make ends meet” and 53% of that said, “they were currently working multiple jobs, including 17% who held jobs unrelated to teaching.”
Goodwin said there was a time when she worked multiple part-time jobs while staying home with her children for multiple years.
“For our family, the decision came to this — do I work a full-time teaching job and all that income goes towards childcare, or do I only teach part-time and work as a mom?” she said.
The lack of an accommodating salary for Texas teachers has not gone unnoticed by Governor Greg Abbott, who, according to one of his public speakings at the Texas Public Policy Foundation earlier this year, said he would agree to raise teacher pay and increase public school funding if the Texas Legislature passed special vouchers.
When asked about what type of changes should be made in the future to ensure better financial treatment of teachers both state and nationwide, Goodwin said there are some changes that must be made.
“We will not see any change towards teaching across the nation until we do two things,” she said. “The first [change] is to completely reevaluate and restructure the current education system, and the second is to understand the incredibly challenging job that is teaching. Our students deserve better, and our teachers certainly deserve more respect.”
Seidler shared a similar sentiment. Less from the perspective of her TCC career, but her high school teaching career, hoping for more enticing changes across the board.
“A pay raise and a day off each week to grade and prepare would entice me to stay,” she said.