This Sunday marks the end of Teacher Appreciation Week.
Amidst celebration, however, many teachers were reminded of the profession’s struggles. On Tuesday, over 600 Oregon schools closed due to teachers protesting lack of school support and overcrowding in classrooms. In regard to salaries, 2019 has seen many other strikes as teachers advocating for higher pay made headlines in locations such as Denver, Los Angeles, and West Virginia.
Data released by the OECD reveals that in the US, the average American teacher makes a starting salary of around $39,000 a year, and about $67,000 for a veteran teacher.
The OECD’s full data set reveals a yawning gap between the highest- and lowest-paid teachers around the world. When converted to US dollars, many of the salaries fall well short of the average American teacher, while others far exceed the American pay range. For comparison, the starting salary for a high school teacher with no experience in Luxembourg is about $70,000. The peak salary for a veteran teacher is $124,000.
Elementary school teachers — best and worst
In Luxembourg, one of the richest countries in the world, an inexperienced teacher can expect to make more on his or her first day than teachers in nearly all other countries can hope to make in their entire careers.
The only exception is Switzerland, where elementary school teachers make nearly $86,000 at the top range of salaries.
Meanwhile, salaries in the four lowest-paid countries all top out below the starting salaries in the 10 best-paid countries. End-of-career salaries in the Slovak Republic, Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary remain below $30,000.
High school teachers — best and worst
Luxembourg’s and Switzerland’s dominance continues on for high school teachers. Likewise, Korean teachers still see the biggest jumps in pay over their careers.
Though a brand-new teacher in Korea makes just $30,000 in their first year, by the time they’ve hit the 10-year mark, their salary rises to around $50,000, and at the top end, it’s $84,000.
Austria is one of the only countries to jump significantly from elementary school pay to high school. High school teachers make about $10,000 more at the top of the scale.