How much will I be paid?

How much will I be paid?

Jun 8
Debra Korte, Teaching Assistant Professor, Agricultural Education

How many of us have either asked or been asked this question? Sometimes I invite people to help with activities or events, and their first question is, “How much will I be paid?” But for a rare few, this is the last thought that enters their mind. Most frequently, I’m referring to the servant leaders and life-long learners who have answered the call to become teachers.

The Agricultural Education Program was privileged to host 22 Illinois high school agriculture teachers for a three-day course on June 1-3. Most of the teachers have less than three years of experience and are still considered “new” to the profession. Teachers were able to learn about and practice science-based laboratory experiments they can immediately use in their classrooms. Besides the valuable skills and ideas teachers acquired, the best parts of the course may have been the life lessons shared by the veteran high school ag teachers who taught the course – Mrs. Sue Schafer (Taylorville), Mr. Tim Reed (Southwestern-Piasa), and Mr. Don Lockwood (Sullivan). All three of these individuals have previously served as cooperating teachers for the Agricultural Education Program, hosting and helping train future agriculture teachers.

In addition to sharing lesson plans, lab experiment ideas, and assessments, I had the opportunity to hear these three teachers share life lessons about being a teacher, managing a classroom, and balancing family and work responsibilities. Although they were more than willing to give up a day of their time to teach and spend multiple days planning instruction, none of them were paid for their time; in fact, none of them even asked about payment. In many cases, not only did they not receive payment, but they spent their own money to purchase some of the supplies and drive to and from campus to share ideas with other teachers.

Some people think teachers have it easy. After all, they get the whole summer off from work, right? (That statement always strikes a sensitive cord with me, as I am confident it does with most teachers.) For many teachers – especially agriculture teachers (in my overly biased opinion) – there is no summer off. Twenty-two teachers volunteered their summer time this week to learn from others and improve classroom instruction for students. Three additional teachers gave up valuable time to serve as instructors for the course. How much are these 25 individuals getting paid for their efforts? Zero. How much would they be willing to give of their time, energy, and efforts to help fellow teachers, students, and their communities? For most, that value is simply immeasurable and endless. Time well spent helping others, collaborating with other professionals, and improving one’s skills cannot be accurately measured with dollar signs and pay raises.



Agricultural Education Program