What are teachers worth around the world? This infographic takes a look at the numbers on what teachers make in different nations along with other factors.

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Via: Master-Degree-Online.com

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  1. Robert Galley

    Perfect one. The matter of realization. The things to be optimized. Nut absolutely a matter of great concern. Thanks for the post.

  2. James Fry

    It’s a shame that United Kingdom is missing from the first bar chart – but a great graphic nonetheless!

  3. sherifffruitfly

    If I’m looking at this correctly, it appears that US teachers spend about 4 times longer preparing to achieve 1/2 as good an outcome as Finland for a class of about the same size, and at close to the same pay.

    Wonder how Finland got to be 8 times better than us. My guess is that they don’t have education majors as the dumbest people in college, like we do in the US.

  4. Observer

    Great visuals!…. but not nearly as comprehensive as it should be to really inform and educate. What is the income of the average family? How many hours does the average student spend studying homework in each country? What is the overall poverty rate of each country? Does each country educate ALL children or are some of these schools allowed to weed out lower performing students? What is the general attitude in these societies about the importance of education? Do all these nations teach for standardized tests? Once again, to narrow the focus of student performance to simply the teachers’ salaries, hours on the job, and number of students in a classroom omits serious data that can shed the light on REAL reasons for student success. Then again, that would require less simplistic and more higher order thinking skills, which almost a generation of US citizens seriously lack because… you guessed it…isn’t being taught in schools!

  5. Cheryl

    Interesting that we have 18 students per teacher; I wish.
    Food for thought though. We Do work very hard.

  6. Billy

    Where do you get your statistics? I have been teaching in New Zealand for 15 years and my class size every year has varied between 30 – 34. That’s pretty normal within most schools.

  7. Norwegian

    Finland has virtually no non-scandinavian imigrants, thus no problems with language, culture differences etc.

  8. If we want to optimize student performace per cost we have to do two things. First, we need to figure out what student performace is and how to measure it. Not as easy as it sounds. The easy thing to do is to test students. The cheap way to test is use multiple choice tests. The easy thing to test with these sorts of tests are fact regurgitation. But is it all that important that Columbus sailed in 1492, or is it more important to investigate weather Columbus knew about the New World, knew the circumference of the Earth, knew about Portugese and scandinavian discoveries, and therefore had an idea that his totally tiny 3 ships had a chance of completing the voyage. And the difference between these approaches is the difference between teaching trivia and teaching competence. So we’re back to the question, what is student performance, and how do we measure it? I’d vote for competence. It’s a harder goal, but it’s the only worthwhile goal. If you study piano, no one cares if you know when Mozart was born. It’s all about how well you play. So, we could learn alot about teaching by looking at how we teach music.

    Which brings me to the second thing we need to do. We need to optimize how we teach. And, we’d need to determine the goals here. Best results? Best results per cost? I’d advocate an evidence based approach. Collect ideas – there’s are tons of them out there. Speed reading. Japanese abacus for teaching arithmetic. Mnemonics. Take each idea and put it through a pilot study on a small scale. Ideas that show promise compared to the current bar would go on to a larger pilot. Successful larger pilots would move to regional, to nationwide, etc. The point is that the bar keeps getting raised. And, education could address the needs that students will have themselves or in industry. At the moment, these things are hardly coupled at all. If i hadn’t learned how to learn on my own, i’d have been totally left behind. And, what i needed to know 30 years ago isn’t what i needed to know 20 years ago. Competence in self education has to be in the standard. Does anyone have the slightest clue how to teach this?

  9. Caroline

    *fewer* hours per week, not less (in Who Pays Teachers Best for Their Time)

  10. Dani bISHOP

    14 students per teacher in Spain ?!?!?!?!?!


  11. Leah

    Thought I’d share this with you all. One of the best social media awareness campaigns I’ve seen. Greenpeace actually broke a guiness world record by garnering 70 000 reactions to this video post within 24hrs of going live. Facebook’s data centre facility uses enough coal-based energy to power 120 000 homes, so Greenpeace is urging facebook to switch to cleaner renewables. “Will Facebook Unfriend Coal?” http://ecomobility.tv/2011/04/21/facebook-unfriend-coal/

  12. kate

    18 students per teacher in ireland? HAHAHAHAHAHA. i had 36 in mine.

  13. sydney

    Only special education classes in Buffalo New York are as small as those in your graphs.

  14. mg

    14 students per teacher in Spain? Perhaps if you count PE, English, Music and RE teachers… but I have 26 6 year-old kids in my class.

    Still, this is very interesting although it makes me want to move somewhere else (NZ was an option… but 30-34 students per class? Ugh).

  15. Paid_For_Their_Work

    Teachers in the US complain about how little theyre paid, but in all reality they dont work a typical 2,080 work year like the rest of us. Teachers get 3-months off for Summer break, at least a week for Spring Break, 2 weeks for Christmas and New Years, what seems to be too many “In Service” days…and the other random holidays that not everyone (short of bankers and government workers) get.

    They complain about having to grade papers in the evening and on weekend…but I work well past by 8-hour day all of the time and full days on weekends, not just a couple of hours checking papers for spelling errors or grading math tests.

    Lets assume that teachers work 8-hours a day (just like the rest of us) and ignore the 2 weeks vacation that everyone – including teachers – receive. That puts us at 2,080 hours worked per year. Now take off the 3-months for Summer Break (we’ll assume 12 weeks) and thats 480 hours…minus 2 weeks for Spring Break…another 80 hours…and 2 weeks for Christmas/New Years Break…another 80 hours. So without really trying we’re at a total of 640 hours for which teachers get paid not to work.

    $45,000/year is about $21.63 an hour. Thats $13,846 in ‘free vacation’. Woe is me that a teacher has to spend evenings grading papers while I sit at my desk until 8:00pm, or VPN in to my company’s network when I get home or on the weekends.

    And Ill leave out the scheduled recess and ‘special learning’ periods like study halls, art, music and gym where teachers have a free period. I dont get a scheduled lunch every day…do you?

    If you want paid for a full time job, try getting one.

  16. Harvey

    This graphic fails to point out that the vast majority of countries listed provide universal health care for all citizens, including teachers. In the U.S., most teachers must also pay at least a portion of their own health care coverage out of the salaries provided. This reduces the U.S. teacher pay relative to other countries.

  17. SupportStaff

    Paid_For_Their_Work: You obviously don’t work in education. I’m not a teacher, but I don’t think I’ve met a teacher that takes the vacations OFF. They grade papers, prepare lesson plans (google those, they can be 1-3 pages PER lesson, NOT day), differentiate their student’s learning in every subject using IPF forms (especially math and reading), spend weeks preparing for standardized assessments, prepare for IEPs and IPS/PST meetings that are before or after school, fill out the paperwork for the students that are being taken up for problem-solving and/or full case evaluations, DIBELing/CBMing the students, and have to keep track of every minute they spend with a child regarding academic and behavioral interventions. I could go on and on.

    Have you seen a teacher on a “break?” I have. They are photocopying books because the school doesn’t have enough for the kids while they are eating their yogurts. They are eating a granola bar while meeting with parents who complain about all the free time teachers have because they are only free during THEIR lunch break. They leave school around 5-6pm because they stay after school to tutor your child.

    And just an FYI: Students get In-Service days off, not teachers. I recommend you find the nearest teacher once you fix your math problem.

  18. Matt

    This chart leaves out benefits. If you want an honest assessment of a country’s education system, just look at how much it spends versus the results:

    We spend the 4th most on education per pupil:


    Yet, we rank 15 and 18 on reading literacy and mathematical literacy (respectively):


    Either money has nothing to do with results, or we’re paying the wrong people too much (bad teachers with union protection and administrators).

  19. A.P.

    @Paid_For_Their_Work: Where did you learn to read this article, read and understand these charts, and write the words you use so harshly in your post? Good teachers spend most hours after school at their desks and most of their summers spending their own money and time to design creative ways to help their students learn. Likewise, they tend to spend unpaid hours at the school daily to be involved with free tutoring, free after school programs, and for some families-basically free babysitting. They do that all for free because they care about society…they care enough to help you learn so that you can sit at your ‘full time job’ and get paid, while they are under appreciated. Not to mention, most teachers seek out a full-time job in the summer, because we can’t afford not to have a job and still provide for our families.

  20. Parents

    Honestly, the biggest reason why our schools are failing isn’t “teaching to the test,” lack of funding, underpaid teachers (although I myself am a teacher and I’m content with my pay), or any number of excuses these days–it’s parents. I have witnessed this myself, and have come to realize it’s no coincidence that my students with involved, loving parents who make good choices (regardless of income) are the ones who succeed, and the students with deadbeat, uninvolved, cold, distant parents are the ones who fail (of course there are always exceptions, and we work THAT much harder to reach those kids). Truly, this is a national trend/epidemic and I have no idea how the U.S. is going to “fix” all of these terrible parents who continue this cycle of illiteracy & a general lack of caring. It’s sad and frustrating as a teacher.

  21. H.S.

    Paid_For_Their_Work: In addition to the comments made by “Support Staff” and A.P., I would like to add that during the children’s 15 minute “scheduled recess” we are outside with them teaching them to play organized games because they don’t get to play outside at home, helping them build social skills so they know how to get along with others and mediating disputes and helping them solve social problems so they know how to solve conflicts independently in the future.
    In regards to the “free period” that you mentioned, this is generally spent setting up manipulatives or other supplies for our next lesson, returning calls and emails to parents, filling out paperwork to document student progress for student support meetings, preparing lesson plans, creating learning centers that allow students with different needs equal opportunities to practice a skills, contacting community resources to solicit volunteers to mentor children, and contacting counselors or pediatrician (once the release is signed) to gather information to help the student maximize his/her learning in the school setting. We are “free” to do all of those things and many more that I have not added here.

  22. Have a full time job, too

    I know several teaches and each of them works AT LEAST two hours less than I do a day. They work AT LEAST two months less than I do a year. They pay AT LEAST a third less than I do for health care. They have AT LEAST two more weeks of vacation. I also know that they are not ‘on call’ and have never had to leave their own children in daycare for over 10 hours in a given day. As far as teaching, I know that as a MOTHER I teach my own children along with their teachers. I also NEVER have gotten a discount at a store because of my profession. I’ve NEVER gotten a huge compliment because of the job that I hold. I went to school to get an engineering degree – which required MUCH more academically and then carried a lot of loans. While I have a good salary, I wish I could get a smidgen of the congratulatory response for doing what I do. It requires countless ‘unpaid’ hours. Additionally, I’ve coached countless sports teams, volunteered through my job, worked with youth groups, etc. I do this on my already ridiculous 55+ hour work week. Why is it that only teachers get kudos for their extra-curricular activities? Teachers get a LOT more support than 90% of all others who hold another type of job.

  23. Are you serious?

    Paid_For_Their_Work: I’m sorry, but I take offence to your comments. I have been teaching for 14 years – 2 of those spent working full time AND studying part time to gain a Masters Degree to improve my own skills to better provide for ALL children. Simply ‘grading papers’ does not happen. As we are marking, we are also looking for the misconceptions or misunderstandings a child has shown, we analyse their errors and then plan our teaching to address the issues for EACH INDIVIDUAL student. Teachers these days have to understand a wide range of learning styles, behavioural concerns, physiological issues which may impede learning, address parental issues (more often than not, personal issues for the adults too) etc…we take a lot on board.

    As for Have a full time job, too: you have just insulted every teacher who has ever taught you or encouraged you to extend the academic skills you needed to get your Engineering Degree. My partner is an engineer and he and I have VERY different skill sets. He does things that I cannot understand, but he also concedes that he could never do my job as he doesn’t have the knowledge, emotional intelligence, empathy, the social skills and the thirst for continual learning that I must have, to name a few.

    I get paid for a 38 hour week and work around 60 during school terms as well as countless hours while we are on ‘vacation’. All unpaid. All for the kids.

    Everyone needs to understand that it takes all types of people to make our Global Society strong and functional. Everyone thinks they are an ‘expert’ when it comes to education because everyone has been to school. I would never assume that I can do someone else’s job as well as they can – but I welcome anyone to come and spend a week with me and my 28, 11 and 12 year olds – plus my 450 other kids and their parents – to see what it’s really like to be a teacher in our modern society.

    I salute every teacher who demonstrates passion, knowledge and COMpassion for the children they teach and for the families who help to make their school communities unique.

  24. Matt Again

    (I’m reposting this comment because 2 days ago I posted it and it had 3 links, so it’s probably in a spam trap somewhere. The links were to nationmaster dot com where you can find the stats to back this up.)

    If you want an honest assessment of a country’s education system, just look at how much it spends versus the results:

    We spend the 4th most on education per pupil.

    Yet, we rank 15 and 18 on reading literacy and mathematical literacy (respectively)

    Either money has nothing to do with results, or we’re paying the wrong people too much (bad teachers with union protection and administrators).

  25. Sarah

    thank you Observer, for trying to place some perspective on the data presented here. You don’t know where it came from, how they gathered it, if they were looking at like sources (i can’t believe that the US has 15 students to one teacher, unless they are counting lunch ladies, councilors, and school nurses), although they are very pretty graphs. If we all believed what we reviewed on some website, society would be in grave trouble, like a lamb led to a sacrifice alter!

  26. EEwan

    How do teachers in Lexembourgh earn the most in the first graph but nearly the least in the second? This info seems to be based on assumptions, not fact.

  27. EEwan

    How can you earn the most in Luxembourgh in the first graph but nearly the least in the second? I think this is based on assumptions, and has little factual content. Otherwise, I am moving

  28. Onceateacher

    One year I worked in a Magnet School in Chicago with
    38, yes 38, students in my kindergarten!

  29. Robert Galley

    What about Luxembourg? Is it really possible to cope with them for the other country. Their GDP is the highest among all. Thats very inspiring for the teacher.

  30. interesting, but Australian stats not quite so
    class size all greater than 20 with primary often 30+
    starting pay close to $60000 aust with top wage $85000

  31. just an add- on to previous comments:
    those who complain that we teachers get too much pay
    and too many holidays… why aren’t you doing our job
    then??? why don’t you give it a go for a year or two…
    or a lifetime?

  32. Robert Galley

    I want to be cleared about Luxembourg? Is it really possible to cope with them for the other country. Their GDP is the highest among all. Teacher are very much inspired of it. Thanks for the post. And Anyone please give a reply of my comment.

  33. US has 22% obscene poverty rate. Finland less than 2% (actually maybe less than 1%). When even half the children of poverty are removed from US statistics we score highest in the world. But poverty isn’t an issue … or health care. And remember Finland has universal free health care so teacher salaries don’t include costs of healthcare like US.

  34. Why-don't-you-become-a-teacher-?

    For those who are being so critical with teachers, I just would like you to think of becoming a teacher, think about it deeply, and if everything is so good and so easy, DO IT, BECOME A TEACHER. I really like my job, my salary, my Holidays!!!!! but most of all I LOVE CHILDREN, I love helping them, I love giving my best everyday… But that’s not an easy job, I can tell. Before I became a teacher I’ve been working for 15 years for a private company,and I remember disconnecting from my job… When you work in a school, you are always connected…Just one more thing: I cannot read-anything not related with education-during the course, I have no space/time in my mind.I¡m not trying to convince anyone, But it’s so sad reading all this. In my country I always have to hear to this kind and critics, even from some relatives. I always say them: come with me for one week: Live with me, do what I do, feel what I feel…Why don’t you become a teacher then????

  35. tchrmom

    Paid_For_Their_Work: There is SO much wrong with what you ASSume to be true about the teaching profession. Luckily, the colleagues and supporters who have already posted have address most of your erroneous charges. But one they have not covered is this: we DO NOT get paid for the 3 months we are off in the summer!! We are only paid for the days that school is in session. Our pay for 9 months is added together and split into payments over the course of 12 months so that we still receive a paycheck over the summer and during other breaks. We are not getting “$13,846 in ‘free vacation’”, I am getting laid off for 3 months of the year.

    In addition, I arrive at school EVERY DAY at 7:30 and RARELY leave before 6:00. That’s an average of 10.5 hours a day. Not to mention the work that I take home to work on after I put my own kids to bed and on the weekends.

    You have NO idea what you are talking about. For some reason, you have a low opinion of teachers. It’s quite obvious that you will not change your opinion. But just keep in mind, that you are so SUPERIOR in everything you do because someone TAUGHT you the things you needed to know to be successful. Many teachers spent their own money, took time away from their own families, and put up with closed-minded opinionated people who criticized them for merely wanting respect and a liveable wage for the work that they do, to educate YOU! The men and women who CHOOSE to become teachers are not less intelligent because they choose education. They did not become teachers because they were not SMART enough to become lawyers, doctors, computer programmers, or engineers. We did not pay any less for our 4-year degrees than you did. We do not spend any less time earning our Masters degrees than you do. We are PROFESSIONALS, the same as you. We attend professional conferences on our own dime, because our districts do not have the money to pay for our registration, travel and hotel fees. When was the last time your employer asked you to buy the stapler and staples that you use? How many boxes of file folders and reams of copy paper have you purchased with your own money?

    Do us all a favor and have a conversation with a REAL teacher before you continue making a fool of yourself on boards like this one, talking about things that you have no PERSONAL experience with.

  36. No Canada

    Canada has no education system.

  37. Jib jub

    Seriously sick of hearing teachers blubbering about their conditions. No night shifts,every holiday off, and well paid in Australia. Funny I walk through 2 senior schools every afternoon and the staff carparks are empty at 3.30. Give others who really deserve a pay rise one, such as police, ambos and social workers.

  38. Bud Krater

    Sorry, don’t need a blog. Best of luck in the sale.

    I doing research on a paper. Would you be kind enough to let me know your source on the above teacher/pay charts?

    Much appreciation.


  39. Jason D

    A lot of these comments are crap. So many people are talking about how much teachers do for free. Staying late after work, how hard grading papers are, all this jazz about how they have to pay for their own stuff, analyzing student learning…these are all things teachers do and deserve credit for. However, any assumption that these things are done for free is completely ridiculous. You guys get PAID to be teachers. I don’t really care if you have stay late at work, because so does everyone else. Unlike everyone else, once the summer hits you do not have to stay late, you do not have to grade papers, you do not have to teach. In essence, you don’t have to do your job.
    Why are you still being paid? There is no rationale for this, stop pretending there is.

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  41. Mrs. P

    Teachers are NOT paid for the summer time- If you believe that they are you are mistaken. I am a teacher and I have a percentage of my pay withheld from my salary throughout the school year so that I can continue to provide for my family in the summer time and yes, take a BREAK! I have already worked for that money!! I am considered to be unemployed in the summer time however teachers do not qualify for unemployment like many other seasonal workers do. Instead many of us choose to live with less pay throughout the school year or take on summer jobs to support ourselves during this “vacation”.
    I love my job, and wouldn’t trade it for the world. There is nothing that can pay better than the intrinsic rewards that come from knowing that YOU made a difference in a child’s life and helped to shape their future!

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  44. Tania

    Good post. I’m facing a few of these issues as well..