Currently, I am working with a coach to manifest a lifestyle that I desire, and an income that supports that lifestyle. An income that supports me, my partner, pets and future children, my parents and brothers, that makes it so I can buy what I want when I want and never have to worry about money. As a starting point on this journey, I have raised my rates considerably for my voice and ukulele lessons. This week, I started to feel a lot of anxiety and guilt around this. I have gotten inquiries from administrators, parents, other teachers - "So, WHY is it so expensive?"
I realized that the meaning of designing these new courses and offerings had become centered around manifesting a higher income for myself, and that made me feel BAD.
Cue my inner critic:
"You're so greedy. All you care about is money. What about all those people who need your services but can't afford these higher rates?"
I realized that I was being triggered by these inquiries coming from my circle. When people inquired about why the cost had gone up so much I was feeling guilt, shame, fear. In planning all this out, I decided that my goal was to make $100 per hour after I paid 25% to the school where I teach and after I save 30% for taxes.
Here are other professions that make $100 per hour (or more):
The list goes on in this article:
After I read this list, I wondered, why is teaching not as important to society and as valuable as these professions? We are artists, we make the world brighter and more joyful, we inspire people to pursue their dreams and be truly happy, we prepare people so they can go on and change the world, and I can promise you there are teachers all over the world, a lot of them, in your neighborhood schools even, who have SAVED LIVES. (And I don't just mean like, actually hide kids in a closet so they don't get killed by a man with a gun). And why should I be made to feel guilty (by myself, people around me, or society) for demanding that I get paid more as a teacher? I shouldn't, because I deserve it. I deserve to be making a lot of money, and so do you.
The other part of this guilt I realized is that when I charge more I am limiting accessibility to these specific services. This is the plea of public and non profit educators and advocates everywhere - low to no cost schooling is the only way to give access to education for ALL PEOPLE no matter their socio economic circumstance, their physical and mental abilities, and their own mindsets about success, worth and money. I felt bad that my rates were going to keep people from taking my classes and lessons because they can't afford it.
Now, here comes savior me. Yes, I have a savior part, a part of me that wants so badly to just swoop up every single suffering person in this world and bring them into my heart and my home and make their lives better. That is the part of me that made me want to be a teacher, and though that part can easily get out of balance and lead to me over extending myself (another blog post topic!) I love and value that part of myself because it helps me show up in the world and truly make a difference. That part also makes me feel guilty for charging more for my services.
But here is the thing -
Do these other professionals feel guilty about their rates because they are keeping people from getting their services? Do anesthesiologists feel guilt about their salaries because there are people dying every day who need surgery and can't afford it? Do tattoo artists feel guilty for charging a lot of money for their art because they are "preventing" people from being able to express themselves through body art? Massage therapists? Orthodontists? Arbitrators? DOUBTFUL! Because the norm in those professions is that those people are compensated highly for their contribution to society, because those professionals and society have decided that they deserve six figure salaries. And the norm in education is that we get compensated just enough to get by because society believes we deserve that. And that is a lie. This a norm, not a rule, and norms are meant to be challenged and changed as the culture transforms it's values and priorities. (Check out Seth Godin's podcast titled "Norms and rules" for more on this topic)
Teachers, the world needs us. We need great teachers in the public schools. We need to be tutoring and volunteering and giving our talents and passions to people in need. But we also need to know our worth. We need to step into the truth that we are HIGHLY VALUABLE and we deserve to be highly compensated for our contribution to society. The world of education lives in a mindset of lack - there is never enough time, money, energy, food, materials, and we are constantly drained. However, if we make money, lots of money or the exact right amount of money, and we feel secure and satisfied and have the freedom to teach what we want when we want and follow our passion, then we are stepping into the flow of having the resources we need to make an even deeper impact. We can take those GOBS of money that we are suddenly making teaching music lessons (😁😆😉) and donate it to organizations who are doing the work we value, or start our own organization, or donate our services for free because we want to and we have the financial freedom to do so. BUT it all starts with the mindset and really believing we deserve more and taking inspired action so we can make it happen.
A new understanding and meaning has risen to the surface for me in this journey.
I am here to challenge the norm of moderate pay for teachers.
Now, am I teaching because I want more money? NO. And I had to dig deep and investigate this to make sure it was true. I am teaching because I am really good at it, it comes naturally to me, I love my students and my students love me. Teaching is my thing, its my talent, my passion, my innate skill, and it serves a need in the world. And I deserve to be compensated generously and highly for this skill and for the fact that I am dedicating my life to this skill. And I have to stay connected to the WHY of teaching and how I can make a deeper impact when I am satisfied and secure in my own life. If I was doing work simply to make money I would have become a lawyer or an anesthesiologist.... 😖 NO THANKS.
Teachers - you deserve more. Don't ever stop telling yourself this and don't be afraid to ask for more. If you own it and believe it, the people who truly value you will show up and support your new belief system. YOU DESERVE IT. YOU DESERVE IT. YOU DESERVE IT.
What action are you going to take today to shift your mindset and show up in the world knowing that you deserve to be earning 6 figures as a teacher?