Sympathy For The Modern School Teacher

The following editorial cartoon is making the rounds amongst Ontario teachers on Facebook. I’m not a teacher, but I know a number of Ontario teachers, which is how I happen to have seen this comic.

Most of the teachers I know are extremely dedicated and put in long hours. But frankly long hours and dedication are what I’d expect of somebody making an average of over $90,000 a year in salary and benefits. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that dedicated, hard working teachers aren’t worth that kind of money. But I am saying that most people don’t make that kind of money and there are a lot of people who work a lot harder for a lot less. Given that the average family income in Canada (ie: the income of an entire family, not just one individual) is less than what an average Ontario teacher makes, I suspect that your average Ontario resident is going to find it kind of hard to feel sympathetic for teachers in Ontario; regardless of how many extra hours they have to work, or how poignant the editorial cartoon is that extols their virtues. 

Except that editorial cartoon isn’t extolling the virtues of Ontario teachers. That cartoon was published by “The Chattanooga Times”, so obviously it’s extolling the virtues of Chattanooga teachers. Of course teachers in Chattanooga, Tennessee face all of the same challenges as Ontario teachers, so it’s not surprising that some Ontario teachers see themselves in that cartoon. Except of course that Chattanooga school boards don’t receive anywhere near the same kind of funding per student that Ontario school boards do, and of course the average Chattanooga teacher makes less than half what an Ontario school teachers does. Let me repeat that, the average Chattanooga teacher makes less than half what Ontario school teachers make for doing what amounts to exactly the same job.

I would argue that the average teacher in Chattanooga, Tennessee probably deserves our sympathies. The average teacher in Ontario – not so much.

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