Forty Thousand is a Cheap Teacher. Education on the Cheap is a Sign of a Sick Society

They will probably be described as selfish but once again consider what they would be making on a per head babysitting rate! How many hours and how many kids. Adds up to something more than what they now receive. That tired argument aside (tired by still meaningful). I have been involved with education for most all of my life, as student, teacher, and teacher of teachers and I do know that pay and status are critical problems. In a sane society only the highly qualified would teach and the highly qualified would be lured into teaching by strong incentives, good pay, good work environment, stimulating work that was appreciated so much that teachers would be amongst the most admirable of people in the society. These are not the conditions of teaching now and any kind of excellence that is found in the educational system represents great sacrifice on the part of those who are excellent teachers. Good teachers, and truly good teaching takes at least the kind of smarts one would expect to be exhibited by doctors and lawyers and used to expect in presidents and congress people, in CEOs and investment bankers, none of which, by the way, hold so much responsibility for the future as teachers do.
I worked with some truly smart people as a teacher and teacher educator. A good number of these taught for a while before leaving teaching because they wanted to be able to live in nice places, be able to pay for college educations for their children, have time to travel and study because doing such things were a part of the life of a person determined to get smarter and smarter. On a teacher’s salary, such is near impossible.
A good number of my students who wanted to be teachers maybe had the potential to be smart enough but certainly did not exhibit the kind of smarts I knew to be necessary to be truly good teachers, people smart enough to bring out the smarts in their students. Everyone at my university knew that students studying in the college of education were not of the top notch, not the best of the bunch and this hurt badly those who were truly amongst the best and brightest because they did not get the kind of respect they deserved. There were too many of the “other kind” around and, when brilliance was proven, those across campus viewed such students as exceptions to the norm.
Good teachers deserve hundred-thousand dollar life styles, at the very least because good teachers are hard to come by. Because they are hard to come by and because the pay and perks (dignity amongst them) are so god-awful, there are too many teachers in the schools who are not worth a high price. The solution to a good many of this society’s problems is in education but education must be conducted by very, very smart people who are powerful thinkers and the best kind of students, always seeking new information, always working hard to understand the meaning of things, always so delighted in the workings of the mind that they want to share that delight with others, want others to be able to participate in what is a most satisfying, perhaps the most satisfying, part of their lives.
We need to change our world and a good start would be respecting teaching enough to make sure that every single teacher is worthy of our highest respect and that respect translates into the kind of compensation of which a well respected person in a well respected profession is worthy.

By lafered

Retired professor of education concerned with thoughtfulness

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