At the start of another school year here in South Africa, there are once again rumours that teachers in the highly politicised government teachers’ unions might go on strike to demand more pay. This is just crazy.

Teachers’ hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or 10 months a year (in some government schools, even less)! It’s time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do – babysit! We can get that for minimum wage.

That’s right: let’s give them R9.85 an hour (which is the 2013 government-mandated minimum wage for an unskilled domestic worker who works more than 27 hours in an urban area – and we all know that it is these women who provide the bulk of South Africa’s babysitting services), and let’s only pay the hours they worked. Teachers will whine that there’s a lot of planning time, and marking and extramurals. But who can really tell how hard that all is, and besides teachers love it, so they can just treat that stuff as a hobby.

Let’s stick to paying them for their time in the classroom – when they’re actually babysitting the children. That would be R64 a day (they start at 7am and end at 2pm, with a half hour -unpaid!- for lunch: that equals 6 1/2 hours: R9.85 * 6.5 = R64). (I just checked with my wife, and we pay the woman who works in our home a couple of times a week about R 180 per day, but she is lovely, charming and works REALLY hard. I also believe that we paid a university student about R20 an hour last week to babysit while we went out to movies – but she wore glasses and looked very clever, and it was at night, so I am sure she deserved it).

Anyway, R64 per day sounds right for teachers. Each parent should pay R64 a day for these teachers to babysit their children. Now how many students do they teach in a day: maybe 32 (in good schools – more in other schools)? So that’s R64 x 32 = R2,048 a day. However, remember they only work 180 days a year! We’re surely not going to pay them for any vacations!

So that’s R2,048 X 180 = R368,640 per year. And not a cent more, I tell you!

Simpson teacher salaryBut wait…

The median High School teacher’s salary in South Africa is R153,324 per year. R153,324! So let’s see: R153,324 / 180 days = R851.80 per day / 32 students = R26.62 / 6.5 hours = R4.10 per hour per student – a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your kids! WHAT A DEAL!!!!

Heaven forbid we take into account highly qualified teachers and what they should be earning.

Make a teacher smile; re-post this to show appreciation.

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