Depending on the size and structure of your program, you may have full-time online teachers, full-time teachers that split their responsibilities between online and traditional classroom instruction, and part-time teachers, each of which may have a different salary structures. In addition to the information below about teacher salaries, you may find the information in the Teacher-Related Policies topic helpful, especially the areas related to teacher contracts.
Throughout the rest of this topic, online teacher pay is often described in terms of the number of students assigned to the teacher. While this sounds rather straightforward, it can be more complicated than it appears. Here are some issues to consider:
- How will you handle the situation when a student drops during an initial grace period? Some programs do not count that student at all, while other programs will pay the teacher a fixed amount or a weekly rate for such students.
- If your program allows for rolling enrollments, how will this impact the student count calculated for the teacher?
- If a student is not successful in the course, will that have any impact on how students are counted for teacher pay? Some programs are directly connecting teacher pay to successful student performance.
Full-Time Online Teachers
There are a number of questions that need to be considered when determining salaries for full-time online teachers:
- How will define a full-time teaching load? In a brick-and-mortar school this is typically determined by teaching a certain number of courses, an expectation of being in the school building during the defined school day, and having a certain number of contract days (schools days and other teacher work days). However, for online teachers, full-time teaching is more frequently defined by the number of students assigned to the teacher and the expectations regarding days and hours worked may be significantly different.
- If the full-time teaching load is defined based on the number of students assigned to the teacher, will any adjustments be made based on the specific course(s) taught because some classes may require more student-teacher interaction or require more grading time based on the types of course assignments?
- If you are a district program, how will online and classroom teachers be treated equitably as far as teacher pay and teacher workload expectations?
- If teachers come from various organizations with different salary schedules, how will this be handled?
- Will teacher salary take into account regional differences so that the salary will be considered competitive to the opportunities available to that teacher in a traditional school in the area that he/she resides?
Teachers that Teach Both Online and in a Traditional Classroom
The questions for teachers that have both online and traditional classroom assignments are similar to the issues for full-time online teachers.
- How will you equate online and traditional classroom teaching loads? In other words, for each class that is removed from the teacher’s traditional classroom teaching load, how much online teaching responsibilities should be added?
- If online teaching load is determined by the number of students assigned to the teacher, will any adjustments be made based on the specific course(s) taught because some classes may require more student-teacher interaction?
- If the work day, school calendar, and work location are not the same for online and classroom teachers, how will this be handled for teachers that teach both online and in the classroom?
- If a full-time classroom teacher is asked to teach an overload by teaching some online students while maintaining a full-time classroom load, how will the additional pay amount be determined? If your program also has part-time teachers, how will the pay for teacher overload relate to the pay of part-time teachers?
Part-Time Teachers / Adjunct Faculty
The questions for part-time teachers and adjunct faculty are mainly regarding how to determine the salary schedule. The following are several possibilities to consider:
- Determine the salary based on the number of students assigned to the part-time teacher compared to a full-time teacher. For example, if a part-time teacher is assigned half the number of students a full-time teacher would be assigned, the pay would be half that of a full-time teacher.
- Determine the salary based on the number of students assigned to the teacher, but do not equate it to a full-time teacher schedule. Instead the teacher is paid a flat fee for each student.
- Determine the salary on a sliding scale based on the number of students and number of courses taught. This approach takes into the account that the effort to prepare for a course is the same regardless of the number of students, and that the work load for the teacher increases as the number of students increase. Thus the salary schedule is structured so that initially a teacher receives more money per student.