Kel Varnsen wrote:
OffHeGoes29 wrote:Teachers are really underpaided. Its such an important job and not enough money is given to our education system.
I would say that I wouldn't have a problem with teachers being paid more if the system was changed so that the extra money went to teachers who were really good at their jobs; rather than the system most places we have now where the highest paid teachers are the ones who have showed up for the longest (and have managed to avoid showing up drunk or touching kids). In Ontario for example the teachers in the highest pay grade (the ones with the most senority) can make 6 figures.
I don't know where you live, but where I live there are NO teachers that make six-figures. All teachers here make within 10K - 20K of each other, and it's not based on seniority, but on tier-level you aim for. With the budget crunch going on everywhere, what I see around here is a lot of ageism disguised as "I'm a good teacher and deserve to stay, while that old bat that has been here forever should go." Regardless of the fact that the old bat is a good teacher. But somehow they're not good because they're older. There are some bad teachers of all ages that should go, but just to categorically say that old teachers that have been showing up forever are bad--or to imply the same--is just another form of self-serving discrimination.
I am against seeing teachers "who are really good" at their jobs get extra pay until I see what "really good" means. If it means that you work at a cushy school where you have mostly upper middle class parents and kids that score really well on standardized tests, then you are really rewarding the laziest, although admittedly brightest and least masochistic teachers for being lazy and smart enough to know easy pickings when they see it. Am I a little jealous? Could be. I work in a poverty-ridden school that "never" makes the standardized tests. Rate of homework turn-in averaged 5 of 24 students all year despite varying motivational enticements. Parent night netted me those five parents. 95% of the kids are second-language learners. 50% of my class is made up of students not at this school 2 years ago. I once called a parent to say that their kid was not doing a science fair project and if they didn't do one, they'd fail in science. The parent's response? "I told my child they don't have to do anything they don't want to. I don't care if my child gets a zero. Got it?" Oh, yeah. I did. So, by many subjective measures my colleagues and I would appear to be very BAD teachers. One look at our standardize scores will "prove" it.
What's GOOD, though? The fact of the matter is I myself am not always a bad teacher. I teach summer school where all of my motivated students (nearly all) from around the city gained between one and two years in reading. Parents, some of them teachers themselves at the "best" schools in the city say that I am the BEST teacher their kid has ever had and shower me with gifts because their kids make such huge gains. I have to admit, I love being loved. I love being the best of teachers...I would love to get paid for being the best accordingly. I deserve it. I'm the best! I like touting that my students have made phenomenal advances in reading, if that's what I'm teaching. I'm the same teacher, but my location changes whether I'm the cream of the crop or the dregs of teaching. Among the very best teachers in the city and the very worst. That's me. I am one talented woman. Although, actually, what I do is roughly the same in both locations (I use a lot more ESL strategies with the ELL students, doh.) The difference I see between the two sets of students is not me...I'm the same person. What I see the difference as is parental involvement and motivation to see a student succeed. At the school where I'm fantastic, I'm fantastic because it's not all me. When the student goes home, the parent continues the learning day by working with the child to make certain, at the minimum, that homework is completed and often checked by an adult. In other words, teaching continues. Practice makes sure that learning gets into long-term memory for the student. At the school where I suck, when the student goes home, that is the end of the learning day. The child has only what they paid attention to in class. And tomorrow the student has only what he or she can remember of yesterday. Sometimes, that is almost nothing. Nothing plus nothing ... well, even a bad teacher can do that math--unless they are too old to, or too old and too drunk to, or too old and too busy groping to. Heck, all three. Fire the old teachers already! Old women are useless. Lose 'em.
So, when deciding who's good and who's a bad teacher, something very fair is going to have to happen. Teachers teaching at "easy" schools should not also be able to pick up on easy money, while teachers who are working much harder at the more challenging schools should not automatically be labeled as "bad" when students under-perform. As the best teacher in the city and the worst one, I do have something to contribute to the conversation and solution.
Btw, I'm not an "old teacher," nor am I a "new one." I'm somewhere in the middle. I've been teaching about 10 years. But I am a woman of the middle-aged variety who knows that someday, sooner rather than later, I'm going to be an old woman. And I know that when I get there, I'm a prime candidate for being written off, both literally and figuratively, no matter how vital I or my contributions may be. It really is stomach turning to me to hear what some of my younger colleagues have to say about the "old" teachers at our school...teachers who really are some of the true gems, but who are women who are old and therefore "worthless."