Are Teachers in Costa Rica UnderPaid?

There is an ongoing debate between teachers and professors about how much we earn and if we are being underpaid or not, I have worked in public high schools and universities and I can confirm that there is a gap between how much you earn in the private sector and how much you can earn working in a public institution such as MEP and that gap can be huge depending the private institution you work for.

Let’s start by talking about the public education system which is the sector that I am more familiar with. Most teachers I know want to work for the Ministry of Education because it is an easy way in if you have your degrees and certificates ready.

I have worked in technical high schools and some teachers working 40 hours a week are making around $2800 a month and let me state it clearly, that’s a very competitive salary,  a salary that is hard to make working in the private field.

Other Public institutions offer more than a good salary, public universities usually pay a half of what the MEP pays but they care about some things that the MEP has neglected for years

I started teaching in the private sector more than 7 years but I can speak for all schools and universities in that field but their salaries are not competitive at all.  They tend to pay enough for standing in front of students for a couple hours but not enough to cover all the time spent planning lessons, grading tests and checking homeworks.

When I started working in those institutions, I did my best to meet or exceed the standards because at the end of the day, it is my name that is on the line but I thought that their payment wasn’t fair and hardly ever compensated what I did at home to come prepared to the class. 

So to conclude, I think that teachers in the ministry of education are compensated well. They need to fight more for improving their working conditions, not everything in life can be about money because no money can compensate for a job that you love under conditions you hate because at the end you will end up hating yourself and what you do.

I think that teachers in private sectors should be compensated more because that sector is the one that usually gets faster and better results, those places are good for gaining experience that will set everything up for more opportunities in a near future if you are smart enough.

I think the problem in both fields resides in the fact that private owners manage schools and universities like they would manage any other company which is by investing some money and expecting to triple that amount in the years to come and public school tends to spend a lot of money on salaries expecting good results in return, sometimes getting them and sometimes not.