Demystifying Teacher Compensation

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Unlike most jobs, direct managers rarely impact teacher compensation. This presents several challenges such as how to navigate issues that arise. Throughout the course of the year this can seem especially hard when teachers may feel overwhelmed or under-appreciated or during long breaks when they may consider other opportunities. Money isn’t everything – but it does matter!

Cate Reed, seasoned administrator, current Senior Vice President of Teach For America, and Possip Reporter, explores ways to empower your staff and proactively address compensation concerns.

Principals and other managers like you don’t want to lose great staff because of how people are paid, especially when that is out of your sphere of control. However, you also may feel unsure about how to support or broach the subject of teacher compensation with your team. Instead, you may need strategies for clear communication about compensation structures and opportunities, enhancing transparency, and maximizing staff satisfaction.

Here are some tips for proactively demystifying compensation for your team:

Know Your School or District’s Teacher Compensation Structure

Understand Your Step System (If You Have One)

Keep copies of the salary schedules in your office. Be sure to share them with staff yearly so they know you are both on the same page.

Read Your Collective Bargaining Agreements

Administrators should be aware of anything they can or cannot ask staff to do, so they are not caught off guard. They should also know about any additional compensation opportunities outlined in these agreements (e.g., coaching, tutoring) so they can share those with interested staff.

Keep Track of Key Milestones in Teacher Compensation

Discuss the importance of making staff aware of significant salary jumps, such as super steps. Make sure to outline how and when they occur.  Know when each of the people in your building will be eligible for these as well.