US Teachers vs UK Teachers – How Do They Compare? Hours & Salary Comparison

US Teachers vs UK Teachers – How Do They Compare? Hours & Salary Comparison

October 25, 2019 100 By Stanley Isaacs


We may believe the experience of going to
school is universal, but it varies greatly depending on which country you live in. Some might say that the purpose of education
is learning valuable information. Others would argue it’s primarily about
becoming an effective critical thinker, or that it’s simply a bridge to university. As the learning experience can vary depending
on culture, politics, and economics, the teaching experience also comes with its own set of
unique activities. Today we’re going to be looking at how teachers
on different sides of the Atlantic deal with their day to day at school. What is similar and what is not, and who has
the best role of the dice with the perks of the teaching game? Welcome to this episode of The Infographics
Show: US Teachers vs UK Teachers. When we started doing our research online,
we first came across a topic that has been making headlines in the United Kingdom…the
UK teacher recruitment crisis. The UK has a shortage of teachers, an issue
that has arisen as a result of the boom in birth rates and the rise in the number of
pupils attending schools. Though the number of primary teachers has
been steadily going up, it is not enough to deal with the increased number of children
joining primary schools. Adding to this, there have been complaints
of high workloads, increased targets, and insufficient remuneration, which have resulted
in experienced teachers leaving the profession. According to a YouGov poll, 53 per cent of
teachers are considering leaving their jobs. 11,000 young teachers actually leave during
training; a figure that is three times more than it was six years ago. British newspaper The Guardian reported that
Ministers had failed to meet teacher recruitment targets for five years in a row, leading to
10,000 fewer secondary school teachers being hired, than intended. And that recruitment target for computing
teachers had been missed by more than 1,000 over a five-year period. A shortfall in physics teachers of almost
1,200, and the target for mathematics teachers has been missed by 1,850 recruits. The figures published by the Department for
Education in 2016, also showed teacher vacancies up by 26% over the year, with 920 vacancies
for full-time permanent teachers in state-funded schools, up from 730 the year before. So how does this compare to the US teacher
talent pool? When we looked online, it seems many of the
same issues are apparent. A 2017 Washington Post article referenced
a study which published data stating that teacher education enrollment dropped by 35%,
from 691,000 to 451,000, between 2009 and 2014, and that nearly 8 percent of the teaching
workforce is leaving every year, many before retirement age. The reasons behind the shortages are similar
to those in the United Kingdom. 1. Student enrollments are increasing and will
continue to do so by 3 million, to 53 million total, in the next decade. This is driven by higher birth rates and immigration. 2. Teacher attrition is high, at 8% annually,
with two-thirds of those that leave, doing so before retirement age, and most because
of dissatisfaction with the conditions of their employment. So it seems there is a similar situation with
the teacher shortage in both the UK and US. So this is all interesting, but what about
the day-to-day experience of those teachers who are working in schools. How do the jobs compare? We took a look at salaries, and using data
from The OECD, we did some side-by-side comparisons. This is what we found out. For starting salaries, US teachers are paid
up to $42,000, where as in England, it is up to $31,000. For teachers working in the industry beyond
15 years, US teachers are paid up to $45,000, and in England it’s $42,000. For top of the scale teachers, US teachers
are paid up to $46,000, where as in England it is still $42,000. Looking at how the ages of these teachers
compare, the average age of a schoolteacher in America is 43, where as in England it is
39. In fact, teachers in England are the fifth
youngest, based on a survey of 5 million teachers in 34 countries. So US teachers do a little better on the salary
front, but maybe there are some other drawbacks. What about working hours? Well, unfortunately for those teachers in
England, the lower pay doesn’t equal lower hours. According to a study that was referenced in
an article in the UK newspaper, The Independent, teachers in England work longer hours than
almost anywhere else in the world. The study found secondary school teachers
work an average of 48.2 hours per week, with one in five working 60 hours or more. That’s an extra 2.7 hours per week compared
to teachers in America. The extra hours are spent on marking papers,
lesson preparation, and filling out forms. So the pros of teaching certainly seem to
be weighted to the US side, but an area we haven’t explored, is teaching materials
and supplies. UK schools are provided with supplies such
as pens, paper and learning resources, and though we did find some cases where the school
budget had been exhausted and the teachers had to dip in to their own pockets, these
seem to be isolated. However, in the US, this is a highly controversial
area and in many cases, teachers are being lumbered with large bills for supplies, which
if they do not buy, the teaching activities may not happen. According to a study by the National School
Supply and Equipment Association, US teachers spend around $500 of their own money each
year on supplies for their students. And in 2015, when the Huffington Post asked
teachers to tweet how much they spent on their classrooms, many replied saying several hundred
dollars, and some even several thousand, so this $500 average might be low. We all know the importance of good teachers,
so let’s look at what the data says in terms of student perspective. Statistics from an ING Foundation Survey,
told us this; roughly 88 percent of people say a teacher had a “significant, positive
impact” on their lives; Around 98 percent of people say a teacher can change the course
of a student’s life, and though it can vary by grade level and number of years teaching,
the average teacher affects more than 3,000 students during their career. There’s a lot to say about our community
of teachers on both sides of the ocean, and whichever country a teacher is based in, there
are always benefits and drawbacks. Are you a teacher who has his or her own perspective
on this subject? Maybe you’ve worked in both the US and UK? If so, we’d love to hear from you in the
comments. Also, be sure to check out our other video
called Average American vs Average European! Thanks for watching, and, as always, don’t
forget to like, share, and subscribe. See you next time!