I Made $54,000 Last Year.

I can remember the first time that I ever asked my Dad — who was a foreman at a Chevy plant that made rear axles for pickup trucks — how much money he made in a year.  It was the mid-1980s and I was working on a project for school.

His answer:  $50,000.

From that moment, $50,000 became a target to me.

If I could make $50,000, I knew that I could support a family and have a good home and go on vacations and send my kids to college.  If I could make $50,000, I could be a good provider and a good husband — something that mattered to me after having watched my father do those things for our family.

Doing my taxes yesterday, I realized that I made $54,000 last year.

After 22 years of full-time classroom teaching, after earning a master’s degree and after earning certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards TWICE, I’m FINALLY making what my father made in the mid-1980s.





Related Radical Reads:

Teaching is a Grind

The Truth about North Carolina’s Historic Pay Raises for Teachers

More on North Carolina’s Historic Pay Raises for Teachers

10 thoughts on “I Made $54,000 Last Year.

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  2. Derek Hatch (Hatcherelli)

    Wow Bill, that’s unbelievable! Teachers in NC obviously don’t do it for the money. After I read your post, I looked at our salary grid and, I hate to tell you this, a beginning teacher with a Bachelor’s degree makes 58,000/yr. A teacher with your qualifications would make over 100,000/yr. That’s the thing, though. Pretty hard to move your whole family at this point in your love. Hang in there, pal. I still love reading your stuff!

    1. Bill Ferriter Post author

      Yup. It sucks, Hatch.

      What it leads to is being forced to work a thousand part time jobs — which is exactly what I do. And that leads to lots of lost moments with my family and lots of lost focus on my teaching. Each day, I walk out of school with my students simply because I’ve got to get started on part time work. Sometimes I wonder what my teaching could/would be like if I had a salary that made it possible for me to JUST focus on teaching.



  3. Julia Hendricks

    My parents both worked for General Motors as well (are you from Michigan?)! They also had much better benefits!

    1. Bill Ferriter Post author

      Hey Julia,

      I’m not a Michigan guy! Chevy had an axle plant in Buffalo for decades. I think they were taking advantage of the cheap steel being produced at Bethlehem Steel — a Buffalo staple back then.

      And no kidding: It was a great job for my Dad. He provided for us in a way that I wish I could provide for my family now.

      Rock on,

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