Teaching vs the Real World…


My husband works in the computer industry. When he first met me he had considered leaving it all and becoming a teacher. One of the things he liked about me was that I was a teacher. Then he saw my paycheck. He told me that I got paid a lot more than what he thought. Then I had to break it to him…that was my paycheck for the month…not the week like he thought. Ah. His desire to teach went away….quickly.
There is a reason why they say teaching makes a great second income….because it make a lousy first one. :) Mine was particularly sad as the whole time I was teaching, Arizona was ranked 48th in pay for teachers. We didn’t really have unions and your contract went from year to year. You were lucky to get $500 increase each year. Most years the pay scale was frozen. With the exception of the year I was in curriculum my pay over a 10 year span only went up $6K…and I have a lot of education to help me move over on the scale.
The teaching world and the corporate world are very different. My husband would talk about taking in a movie at lunch and I would just stare at him. A movie? I got 30 minutes. In which I had to drop my kids off and make sure they made it through the line without killing or molesting each other, this usually took about 10 minutes. By the time you made it to the teachers lounge, heated up your lunch and sat down to eat it, you had about 4 minutes to digest it. Because after all you had to go to duty and again make sure the kids did not kill or molest each other. You learned to eat the hot stuff in the teachers lounge and eat your fruit and sugared baked goods out on the playground. Or better yet, if you were good like me, you could train the kids to bring you snacks. Bribery wont get you good grades from me but it’s never bad to have the teacher on your side. ;)
My husband would also talk of bonuses. Bonuses? What is this bonuses you speak of? Why a bonus to a elementary school teacher is not getting lice, pink eye or strep throat through out the year. That was our bonus. Retiring? You see corporate world handing out nice watches and what not. In teaching you get something the primary teachers no doubt made out of Popsicle sticks and glitter and IF you were lucky a $20 gift certificate to the Olive Garden.
Then there are stock rewards. Don’t even get me started on that.
My hubby’s review time came around and he received the trifecta: raise, bonus, stock. I of course being happy for him, felt the need to bake him his favorite, Red Velvet Cake. This Bundt cake comes from a Christmas magazine…yes I am already thinking about Christmas treats. I can always trust Paula Deen when it comes to things like Pound Cakes and Red Velvet. It doesn’t have pecans in the glaze which was slightly disturbing to my Southern husband but he liked all that same. If you too are a Red Velvet fan it will not disappoint.

Red Velvet Pound Cake

1 ½ cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup sour cream
1 (1 ounce) bottle red food coloring
1 tsp distilled white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Glaze(recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 325F.
Grease and flour a 12 cup Bundt pan. I used minis…makes about 12 of those.
Cream together the butter and sugar on medium high speed with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add eggs, one at at time, scraping down after each addition.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda.
In a small bowl, combine buttermilk, sour cream, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.
Gradually add flour to the butter mixture, alternately with the buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Spoon batter into prepared pan(s), and bake for 50-60 minutes(30-40 for the smaller). Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pan(s), and coll completely on a wire rack. Drizzle cooled cake with Cream Cheese Glaze.

Cream Cheese Glaze
(I highly suggest that you double the batch…I ended up making more)

1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 TBSP milk

In a small bowl, beat cream cheese at low speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until combined. Add milk, beating until smooth.

Adapted from: Paula Deen’s Holiday Baking magazine 2008


  1. oh man you crack me up. i am glad that you both appreciate each other. your husband HAS got to appreciate you for all the scrumptious baking you do – so tell him to give you a bonus!

  2. That Red Velvet Cake looks very pretty and tempting!

    Yes, your husband is lucky to have such a great baker at home!



  3. Teachers are still underappreciated — our daughter is a teacher, and she really needs to have summers off to recuperate from the school year! Maybe I should bake her one of these cakes….

  4. ooooh! That looks absolutely decadent!

  5. This is a lovely cake for a treat ! Good luck starting school soon again.

  6. Isn’t it a shame that so little value is placed on the teaching profession? It is one of the most important jobs there is – training and molding our children, preparing them for their place in the world. I was an adjunct music teacher in both a private and public school for several years and I was appalled at the pay! I was lucky because I did it for love, not money. If I had to rely on that income, I’d have starved!

    I got lots of cookies and mediocre cupcakes, but never a luscious-looking cake like that. It looks wonderful!

  7. Money…that’s why I’m still at my corporate job. Ooooh…red velvet, this looks gorgeous!

  8. THANK YOU for painting a very accurate picture of what teaching is REALLY like! In Ontario we are paid well, but everything else you described is spot on.

  9. Hi Peabody! This was a great post–I’m going to forward it to my sister, who is a great teacher.

    This is the first red velvet cake I’ve been tempted to make, so thanks for the yummy inspiration!

  10. Carole Resnick says:

    Thanks for writing my bio.

  11. I used to be in the real world with bonuses and raises and stock. And now I’m in graduate school to get a teaching certificate. Good thing I’m transitioning by frying donuts!

    The cake looks really delicious.

  12. I taught el. for six years before switching to teaching adults at the college level. I honestly think the kids were a tougher crowd and it is often a thankless job. But, at the same time, the kids were more fun, more rewarding, and also more unpredictable-which makes it exciting. I can’t say enough nice things about el teachers.
    That cake is awfully pretty. I can’t say I’m thinking about Christmas, but I’ve fast forwarded to Oct.

  13. Oh, gosh. I hope there are at least some perks, like greatly decreased tuition for your kids? Here in the Philippines, it’s one of the ways to ensure a good future for your children without having to spend a lot. (My grandparents, mother’s side, were both schoolteachers.) But that aside, it does pay depressingly low here.

    The cream cheese for me is the heart of a red velvet cake. I like it more without the nuts please! ;) Gorgeous shots!

  14. I can definitely relate :) It’s funny, I’m a teacher and my husband is in the Computer Engineering field. Luckily he will be the breadwinner for our family :) I saw this pound cake at least a year ago and thought it sounded great, so it’s nice to know that you’re giving it a good review! I do agree with you, Paula is good with pound cakes! Her chocolate pound cake is amazing. This Red Velvet Pound Cake looks so pretty with the frosting drizzled on the sides!

  15. The cake looks gorgeous.
    Teachers are truly the unsung heroes. They do the most important and toughest jobs, getting little in way of appreciation. I realize this every time I visit my daughters’s classrooms. Appreciate everything teachers do.

  16. You need to come teach up here in Canada, where the pay is much better, the union is very, very strong, and the parents pay for all the school supplies.
    Nice cake. Did you wear your rubber gloves to make it? :-)

  17. Sounds like being a pharmacy tech. We get 30 minute lunches which are deducted out of our pay, weather we get to eat or not. We also get questions yelled at us though the entire break if you do not leave the pharmacy breakroom and hide. We do not get bonuses where I work, the pharmacists do however. For 5, 10, 25 year awards, you get a fake gold pin, no increase in pay. After 5 years you do not recieve increases in pay except when a market increase goes through. Though we do not have to deal with the children we do have to deal with Ego maniac nurses and doctors that think you only have their patients to deal with, not an entire 400 bed hospital, how in the world could someone else be more important than them?( cough…your pt is not dieing!…cough)

    Okay now that I have ranted out. I love the recipe and will have to try it. Looks lovely.

  18. Now you’ve got me thinking of Christmas, too, Pea. So many ideas going on my mind now. :)
    this cake looks wonderful – you won’t believe me but I have never tried a red velvet cake.

  19. Teachers are DEFINITELY underpaid – they should be more appreciated!

    Mmm, Red Velvet Cake (and hooray for Paula Deen)!! Your husband has great taste. But wait a minute… I thought he only liked Chocolate-Peanut-Butter desserts??? ;-)

  20. It looks BEAUTIFUL

  21. I love, love, love Red Velvet Cake. In fact, I have my grandmother’s recipe and it is amazing. Unfortunately, I am now the mother of a son who can’t have red food coloring (he doesn’t sleep or slow down for about 48 hours!). Ugh. I’ve taken to making it without the food coloring and just substituting a bit of water. It’s not near as pretty, but it tastes just about the same.

  22. aww man you’re too funny…and that is the bonus of teaching..not getting colds or headlice–you’re so right!
    also red velvet cake…MY FAVORITE! but red velvet bundt cake…you’re making me weak in the knees…

  23. It’s unfortunate that teachers aren’t treated better–they can really shape a kid’s world. I still talk frequently with my 4th grade teacher. I doubt I’d be where I am without her.

    But as sour as that world can be, this cake looks super sweet! A combination wonderful things that equals totally awesome! :-)

  24. Your posts always crack me up. I’m a librarian so I completely understand that the word “bonus” is a foreign language. I went to a holiday party of a corporate friend in a country club once and they must have spent more on one night than my entire salary. We had a potluck at work.

    Delicious looking cake!!! Your hubby is lucky!

  25. I was a teacher for 15 years and yes it only makes a good 2nd income….I now cook for a living. I love the velvet pound cake….mmmmm!!

  26. I’m routinely scandalized by how much we pay athletes and entertainers versus teachers, baby sitters and (here in Canada at least) doctors. We really need to sit down, have a piece of red velvet cake and get our priorities in line!

  27. My finger stopped scrolling the mouse when I saw that top photo in my RSS. Just wanted to pick up that fork and scrape up those crumbs! I’m sure you’ve got a happy husband today :-)

  28. Fantastic looking cake:-)
    XX M

  29. As a former teacher, I can attest to poor pay teachers receive. It’s sad!
    Your Red Velvet Cake however makes me very happy:) It look scrumptious!

  30. I knew there was a reason I never became a teacher! Paula Deen must have a few different red velvet cake recipes. I made one of hers, and LOVED it. This one looks just as good!

  31. I can totally understand your teaching stories, makes me glad I no longer teach. Although I do miss the kids and fun field trips. The cake looks great, I will have to make one for my southern husband also.

  32. I have never made a red velvet cake and yours looks great.

  33. What a great reason to be celebrating with Red Velvet Pound cakes! They look delicious!

  34. I’ve made red velvet cake for my husband before – it’s always a hit.
    I come from a family littered with teachers. The only career advice they ever gave me was ‘don’t teach!”

  35. I bought that too! And I was going to make this too!! Except if I can get the cake really red – I thought – well why not go all the way ghetto and make the frosting green – right?

  36. I love the individual serving sizes!

  37. Cute little bundts- I definitely don’t use my mini-bundt pan enough!

    But seriously, the amount that teachers are paid for the work that they put in… It’s just deplorable. I commend anyone who continues to teach despite that!

  38. You’ve certainly nailed teacher’s pay.
    Whee, if he’d switched to teaching, you’d probably still be teaching and there be no time or money for the baking.
    Now, you gone an made me crave a red velvet. That was good. Paula Dean (Queen of Butter) is good.

  39. yeah, i’ll go ahead and triple the icing recipe. i have a small cream cheese obsession, and my justification here is that i need the extra white to balance out the massive amount of red food coloring in the cake. :)

  40. Yeah … I encountered that sticker-shock when considering going into teaching, as well. I’d taken several years out during my undergrad, and had been doing computer programming. Went back, finished, and figured I’d go teach English on an emergency credential (California really needed teachers). Saw the salary, and just kept right on programming. May do that again, when I finish this PhD. We’ll see.

  41. Congrats to your hubby! And what a delicious cake to celebrate, mmm mmm.

    As a fellow teacher I totally relate with everything you said!

  42. Lovely cakes!!!

    Some of my teachers had such a huge influence over me (I owe at least part of my writing career to my 10th grade English teacher) — it’s amazing to me that we STILL don’t pay them/you remotely enough.

  43. Where in AZ did you teach? Or just the city, if you prefer… I love reading your blog, and I’m a proud Phoenician! You are right-on about our teachers, however– underpaid and under-appreciated. Drives me nuts.

  44. hahaha , its always fun to read your posts … btw what do you teach ? The RV cake is awesome !

  45. A beautiful pound cake and a great description of what it’s like to be a teacher. As a fourth grade teacher, I can affirm everything you’ve said. My friends in the business world think I have the easiest job in the world. If they only knew…

  46. I’ve never understood why teachers are paid so poorly–I’ve heard stories about the US pay rates and I’m just appalled. My understanding is that things are better here in Ontario, Canada (and I suspect in the rest of Canada).

    Love the contrast of the red and white in the cake.


  47. i’ve never had a red velvet cake before! but with cream cheese frosting, it must be good :)

    congrats to your husband for his bonuses!

  48. Mmm this looks so great. I love red velvet cake. My husband claimed he would be making me red velvet cupcakes for my birthday..that was in June and I haven’t seen them yet. I know what you mean about the pay differences, considering my husband is a software engineer and I work in higher ed. :P

  49. Sounds like my house used to. My hunkster isn’t a techie — he’s a CPA. After I became a principal, our incomes were more similar, but I was fried, so am now breathing a sigh of relief that I’m no longer in the world you describe so well. I gave until I was crispy around the edges so quit. Now his income makes up for my lack of one and I’m sane. Congrats to your hunkster on his trifecta. Now where’s your bonus? ;) Oh, and that cake is oozing love and calling my name…

  50. It really bothers me that teachers aren’t taken better care of. We have some charter schools here in Utah now and I’m excited that our oldest just started kindergarten there. It seems to be better for all involved than the public schools here, but I’m ashamed to admit I don’t know enough about the situation here.

    I too have already started dreaming of Christmas (maybe because I’m just already looking forward to Christmas break!). That red velvet looks like a fantastic idea!


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