How delayed payments affect teachers

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Teachers have always complained about low salaries, but some schools add delayed payments on top of that. If you’ve ever worked at a job where you earn significantly less than you wanted, you really don’t want that small payment to take long to come.

There are so many reasons why this happens to so many teachers in so many schools, and they include;

  • Some teachers are paid late because they are newbies.
  • Bureaucracy in the government schools
  • Squandering the money in government schools (rare occasion)
  • Bankruptcy of some private schools
  • Some private school administrators deliberately delay payments to keep their staff

Delayed payments can spark a destructive chain of events that affects the teachers, students and the school itself. From psychological, physical to health issues, here are the effects of delayed payments to teachers.

1. Depression

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To be honest, so many teachers are doing their current jobs to survive, even if they somewhat dislike their work environment or the people around them. However, they have the ability to cover it up and make it all seem inexistent.

Delaying to pay these teachers is like opening the door for all these issues to take turn, leading to things like;

  • Resentment
  • Existential angst
  • Resignation.
  • Suicide in some extreme cases, if the victim doesn’t seek psychological help.

Due to the fact that the teacher’s state of mind largely affects how they conduct their duties at school, their payments shouldn’t be delayed at all.

2. Anxiety

By the time a teacher takes up a job, they have already made a vague plan of how the salary will be enough to take care of their day to day needs like;

  • Necessities for them and their families (if any)
  • Their monthly bills like electricity, water, Cable TV, etcetera
  • Their financial goals like saving and investment in the long run
  • Their luxuries like new garments, gadgets, etcetera

These things above aren’t just bills or day-to-day needs. They’re elements of a stable life. Compromising them means compromising the emotional state of a teacher.

Also, many teachers borrow a lot from shops and grocery stores during the time before they receive their salaries. Therefore, delaying their payments compromises their integrity, resulting into anxiety.

3. Abandonment of duties

As a result of the psychological effects of delayed payments,  teachers resultantly start to lose interest in executing their duties.

This doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be absent. They will check in and be physically around, but won’t be as efficient as they were before.

4. Disobedience

Anyone that gives up their time and offers a service to someone for pay is always disgusted when the payer doesn’t meet their end of the bargain. This applies to teachers too, and soon enough, they’ll be discouraged to perform even the simplest tasks.

This can be of great harm to an institution like a school. This is because it creates loopholes in operation and increases rebelliousness among staff, which is a barrier to progress.

5. Loss of enthusiasm in the profession

Many teachers get into the profession because they love to teach, but amid all the challenges along the way, delayed payments are rather unbearable.

As a result, some teachers totally lose interest in the teaching profession, not just their employer.

On many occasions, it would take psychological assistance, coupled with significant change in the system to reverse it.

6. Divided attention on their career

With financial disillusionment, teachers start to focus less on their teaching jobs, and set up businesses aside to generate more revenue. Some examples include;

  • Brick laying
  • Poultry
  • Baking
  • Crop farming, etcetera

When teachers have their attention divided to other things they do on the side, they remove all attachments to their professional career. This usually happens when their side hustles have grown, and it’s usually irreversible.

7. Transfer of anger to the students

In schools where physical pain-inflicting punishments are allowed, there are lots of cases of teachers that transfer their anger down to their students. This manifests in the following ways;

  • Intolerance to student mistakes
  • Frustration with the students
  • Corporal punishments administered to students,  etcetera

All these effects are detrimental to the students and their mental wellbeing as well. It’s actually unprofessional and usually hinders students from learning and passing.

8. Strikes and demonstrations

Teachers can always try to keep their emotions bottled up, but it’s only for a short while. Eventually, teachers end up striking or peacefully demonstrating by terminating all operations until their plea has been answered.

Strikes, however, aren’t as fun as the journalists or activists make them appear. The effects include;

  • Unnecessary media attention.
  • Loss of staff when they are fired or resign.
  • Interruption of the students’ learning process.
  • One strike can inspire a lot others, whenever anything goes wrong.

When it gets to this point, it’s safe to say that the school administrator has failed to manage their staff.

9. Resignation

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While some teachers may try to press on until they get paid, some will simply throw the towel and look for greener pastures elsewhere.

This strikes a significant blow on the school, precisely because the best teachers are usually the ones that can’t settle for low standards.

This drains the school of staff and usually negatively affects the academic performance of the students.

10. Lawsuits

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Some schools have a crooked administration system that hates confrontation. Sometimes, teachers that dare speak up about delayed payments are fired immediately. However, they don’t go without a fight. Here are a few effects of lawsuits to the school;

  • The school spends a lot during the legal proceedings
  • It portrays a negative image of the school.
  • The school is usually fined huge sums of money, that results into significant losses
  • Brings negative media attention to the school (sometimes)


The habit of withholding staff payments is more rampant in less developed private schools. Sometimes, it’s deliberate due to personal reasons like loans taken by the administrators, and other times it’s due to inevitable factors. These include things like fees defaulters, who make the day to day running of the school difficult.

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