Which job is easier, professor or high school teacher?
Which job is easier? Both are equally tough. Being a university professor is not a walk in the park. Being a high school teacher is also not an easy job. Both require a certain set of skills and a certain set of qualifications. Professors are often regarded as a respected academic members of society, whereas, high school teachers are regarded as middle class academic educators. In this day and age, both are equally important and crucial to a society's overall success.
Professors typically have their PhD's, an academic career path which has taken them over 8–10 years to complete. This is not as simple as it seems. As a professor, you have the responsibility to prepare lectures to convey to the remainder of the class. Depending on the size of the university you are teaching at, you may or may not have Teacher's Assistants (TA's). If the university or college does not grant you Teacher's assistants, you'll be marking all the work yourself. Ever written a Fourth year Bachelor's essay? Well, the professor would have to mark thirty of those if (s)he didn't have TA's. If the professor did have TA's, he'd have to prepare his lecture and contribute to writing exams. Writing (creating) an exam is nothing short of unchallenging.
High school teachers have equally tough jobs. However, unlike professors, High school teachers along with the responsibility to teach, must also connect with the student. High school is a tough time for a lot of kids. Teachers are often guides to young adults in High school. They have the responsibility to teach, connect, grade work, create exams, and create initiative among students. Now, this sounds a lot more than what a university or college professor does, right? Well, teaching high school subjects and marking high school assignments is a lot easier as opposed to marking and lecturing collegiate students on tough topics like Mechanical Engineering, Biomedical Sciences, and Finance.
So, professors and high school teachers are in the same sector of employment, however, they have very different jobs. The impact their jobs have on society is equivalent however. High school teachers build the foundations of a student, whereas, professors help students specialize in specific fields for employment and further research. Both jobs are equally important to society. In conclusion, they both have equally hard jobs.
Professor, is easier, no contest. Any college or university faculty member who disagrees needs to give high school a try for a couple of years. Your school assignment must not be a matter of choice.
I've been in private industry, government, and for quite a while now, university faculty. I have close interactions with K-12 teachers and I constantly compare notes with them.
University faculty do spend long hours and sometimes cutthroat interactions with administration or others...that's a fact. But in spite of the long hours and hard work they have more freedom to pursue their own ideas than any of the other alternatives, including high school teachers.
K-12 teachers are constantly under scrutiny by parents, administration, and political types...they are not paid well, have the same long hours as university faculty, and they do not have the freedom to pursue their own ideas in their own way. They are constrained by policy and educational standards and sometimes even politics. If anything does not go well, any of the list of others can become strong critics and the teacher is often the one who will get ‘blame' regardless of whether it is fair or not.
University faculty, OTOH, are supreme in their classrooms. With FERPA, parents are not a direct factor at all and at least in the classroom, the faculty are the ultimate authority.
Yes, the working environment of college and university faculty is less ‘friendly' than it was decades ago. There is increased reliance on ‘adjunct' and other short-term appointments. The long-term stability of tenure is more and more an illusion that is just out of reach for young faculty. This kind of insecurity is ‘the standard' for K-12 teachers in many if not all systems.
Any career presents those pursuing it with professional ‘traps' that can ensnare a person in a situation that they would rather not be in. This, in my view, is rare on university faculty....or more of a function of a perception than a reality.
A lot of colleges expect professors to write books that are published to keep their position as professor. A high school teacher can do research and better their standing with other high school teachers in leadership roles. Also, a high school teacher can do coaching or book clubs after school to earn a little more money. It also depends on your personality and what you feel is more important - rapport with your students or academia with your peers. It seems that professors move around a lot whereas high school teachers become more rooted in their community. A large college does not afford a person that opportunity. If you are thinking about money, a person needs to research salaries. Of course, large universities would have the highest salaries.