"Wanted Immediately: A Sober diligent Schoolmaster capable of teaching READING, WRITING, ARITHMETICK, and the Latin TONGUE... Any Person qualified as above, and well recommended, will be put into immediate Possession of the School, on applying to the Minister of Charles Parish, York County."
- The Virginia Gazette, August 20, 1772

History of compensation... In Colonial times, teachers were called schoolmasters. They were responsible for teaching religion as well as the three R's: reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic. During this time, the profession lacked the economic status it has today and teachers salaries rivaled the wages of skilled laborers.

In 1647, Massachusetts Bay Colony was the first to mandate school attendance by law. Teachers wages were paid a small sum out of the town treasury, and anything else came from the pupils tuition fees. There was no structure in schoolmaster salaries so it varied by town and wage increases were inconsistent. The salary paid to a teacher in Watertown, Mass. was approximately $100 a year and remained so until the early 1720s when, after 70 years, it was increased by $20 a year. By the mid to late 1700s the salaries of physicians and educators barely rivaled the high salary, status and job security of clergy, even though schoolmasters were considered semi-clergy.

Throughout the 1800s, men dominated the teaching profession and female teachers received only 40 to 60% of their male colleagues salaries. It has been argued that teachers' salaries would be higher today if more males had stayed in the teaching profession 150 years ago.

More tomorrow...