Alabama not the best state for teachers to work
A recent study conducted by WalletHub compares the best and worst states for teachers to live and work. Alabama ranked 34 out of 51. The score was disappointing for teachers in Butler County.
“I don’t feel like it’s accurately representative of… the teachers and the students in this state,” Greenville High English Teacher Naomi Pryor said of the study. Pryor’s taught at GHS for years because not only is Greenville and Alabama her home, she has a passion for her job.
“Nobody gets into this job because you want to be a millionaire,” she said. “You get into this job because you’re called to serve, basically.”
The study compiled data including median starting salaries, living expenses in each state, student to teacher ratio and even how safe teachers feel in classrooms. Alabama had a score of 48.44, nearly 15 points below top ranked New Jersey with 63.26 points.
Butler County Superintendent Amy Bryan understands why her state’s numbers are so low. She believes teaching is now seen as an “unattractive” job, because of low salaries and little to no benefits.
“I think we’re trying, we’re doing our best to mentor our new teachers, to make them successful in their first years and hang on to them. But it’s hard to do,” Bryan said. “In my opinion, it’s an economical issue. And until the state has enough money to put into education, to fund those teachers…,” she trailed off with a shrug.
There is no way to know when or if Alabama teachers will ever get a raise, or if conditions will improve to move the state higher on the list. Teachers in Butler County, like Pryor, believe a “thank you” from parents and legislators could make the job a little more rewarding.
“Recognizing the students when they do well! Recognizing the teaches when they do well,” she said. “To not feel put upon all the time, like ‘you’re the cause of what’s worse in the country.’ It’s amazing how a little positivity and positive recognition can travel, if it’s done.”