Teacher Salary Stories: A Connecticut 6th Grade Social Studies Teacher Earning $95,680 in 2024

Conneticut Teacher Salary

In our series Teacher Salary Stories, We Are Teachers readers share how they’re making it work—or not—on a teacher’s salary. The goal is to take an honest look at teacher pay in the United States and around the world—what’s working, what’s not, and what needs to change if we want to stem the flow of educators leaving the profession and recruit new teachers to the field.

In today’s Teacher Salary Story, we hear from a Connecticut 6th grade social studies teacher and team leader who has navigated a 14-year career in education—his first and only career to date. Starting with a salary of $51,566, he now earns a combined total of $95,680 due to standard step increases, advanced degrees, and additional duties such as a team leadership role. Despite managing a net worth of $413,000, the rising cost of living in Fairfield County poses continual financial challenges, influencing his family’s lifestyle choices and future plans. His story underscores the struggle many educators face with stagnant wage growth relative to living expenses, highlighting the need for systemic changes to support and retain teachers.

Where do you live?

Trumbull, Connecticut.

What is your job title?

6th grade social studies teacher and team leader.

What is your annual salary?

$88,764 + $6,916 for the team leader position.

What is your highest level of education?

Master’s degree.

How did you pay for your education?

Scholarships and loans.

How long have you been teaching? Is this your first career?

14 years, first career.

What was your starting salary as a teacher?


Tell us about your income progression (e.g., have you received standard step increases, taken on extra duties, gotten an advanced degree, or switched roles?).

Standard step increases, advanced degrees, additional duties (team leader), second job.

How much is one paycheck, after taxes, and how often are you paid?

$2,300 to $2,900. Every other paycheck has TRB taken out for teachers retirement benefits.

What is your approximate net worth including savings, investments, retirement, and other assets?

$413,000 (savings, investments, savings and retirement accounts, home, car).

Who lives with you in your household? Are you the only earner?

Three total people in my household, and I’m married with a newborn. My wife is currently not working following the birth of our child, and we are unsure whether she will return to work.

What are your approximate monthly expenses (e.g., rent/mortgage, car payment or other loans, childcare, food, entertainment, phone/Internet/utilities, other subscriptions)? 

Mortgage: $2,400/month

Car: $380/month

Food: $300/month

Roth IRA/savings: $300/month

HSA contribution: $100/month

Utilities: ~$500/month

Do you receive a school- or PTA-provided budget for classroom supplies? If so, how much?

$400/year school, $150/year PTA.

How much of your own money do you spend on your classroom every year?

Rarely. I can usually fit it within the school and PTA allotments.

What kinds of things do you buy when you treat yourself?

Video games and books.

What expense would you take on if you suddenly got an extra $1,000 per paycheck?

I would put it toward the Roth IRA or 529 plan for my child.

How does your district handle retirement? Will you receive a pension?

I must work 37.5 years and be over 50 for a full pension. Brings in people to offer 403B plans often. I invest in a Roth IRA and will switch to 403B when I am older.

Do you have any secondary sources of income, like a side hustle or another job?

I have to work the majority of the summer running a summer camp to be able to make it through the summer.

How satisfied are you with your teaching salary on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being very satisfied and 1 being not at all satisfied? Please explain.

8. I am not complaining as it is one of the highest in Fairfield County, Connecticut, but so is the cost of living. And the increase at the top steps does not keep up anywhere near with the rising costs in living. I’m constantly looking for other avenues of income and considering getting another degree to move up to the last column of the pay scale just to be able to afford having my child and providing them a childhood with opportunities to travel every now and then, play sports, or engage in whatever other hobbies or interests they develop.

Has your current and/or future salary impacted your decision-making around other major life choices (e.g., where you live, whether you rent/own, whether or not to have kids, etc.)? Please explain.

I always wanted kids, but was worried about them monetarily. I’m making it work currently, but worried I won’t be able to give them the same experiences my parents were able to give me.

We live farther from my job than I would like to commute, but it is impossible to move to any town closer because of the cost of living and housing. We were lucky to be able to buy our home when we did before home prices increased, otherwise I’d be commuting 45 minutes to an hour each day. However, we did have to go a little higher than we thought we were able, and are living paycheck to paycheck still, nine years later.

We have not been able to go on a vacation since our honeymoon, and I don’t see any chance of it happening anytime soon. The funds we received from wedding guests made our honeymoon possible.

Do you plan to stay in education?


Do you have any other thoughts about teacher pay that you’d like to share?

The more I hear about teacher pay (and treatment of teachers) around the country, the more it blows my mind that anyone even considers entering this profession.

Are you interested in participating in our Teacher Salary Stories project? Fill out the Google Form here. If we choose your story for publication, we will notify you and send you a $150 gift card. All responses will be published anonymously.

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