The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

COLUMN: Educators need to be more valued


There is a national shortage of teachers. It has been the same thing we have been hearing since COVID-19 hit, and there seems to be no rebound. 

It is because of one thing: teachers are not being valued. 

According to ZipRecruiter, a job search website, the Illinois average first year teacher salary is $42,467. That is approximately $20.42 an hour.  

The nationwide salary is higher than Illinois, but not by much. The nationwide average for first year teacher is $46,590. 

Some of the highest paying cities in Illinois include Batavia at $51,536 a year, Champaign at $48,140 a year and Chicago Heights at $48,032 a year.  

Not going to lie, it was a little disappointing to see that I could possibly be making more at a McDonald’s than in my first year of teaching.  

But you know, I just spent three and a half years earning this degree. I guess that is cooler than breaking the ice cream machine.  

Now as a college recruiter or teacher of pre-teachers, how does that sound? 

A teenager flipping burgers for a living can make more than you and without paying or earning a degree.  

Now, your salary moves up the more you teach, but it does not move quickly unless you start picking up more degrees or more certifications. Now if you are barely making enough for loan, car, insurance or daily living expenses, how are you going to pick up another degree?  

If you can barely pay off your current degree, how can you make more payments? See how hard it is to get new teachers or people to finish out an education degree?  

That is why some teachers adopt the phrases “work of heart” or “in it for the outcome, not income.” 

Now, I am going to put this out there. I am not in education for the money. I knew that coming into the field. I know I am not going to be a billionaire being a special educator, but I would like to make car payments.  

The cost of living is seeming to never go down, and the price of gas seems to never go down no matter the president.  

But teaching is really a field of passion. No matter the phrases to get you through the day, it really is a work of heart and soul.  

You may work in a big district or have multiple degrees that get you the big bucks, but for rural American teacher that is rarely true.  

There needs to be more compensation for teachers and their work. They are literally educating the next generation.  

Teachers are such a big influence on children’s lives and often are inspired by their teachers. Without educators, who knows where the world would be.


Ellen Dooley can be reached at or 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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Ellen Dooley
Ellen Dooley, Opinions Editor
Ellen Dooley is a senior special education major. She previously served as the opinions editor at The News.

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