Morale and pay, brilliance and respect


About our local school district what may be relevant to many other school districts: Two posts to Facebook maybe worthy of wider distribution.

Anyone else think that it is time for a thorough review of the district’s operations? Morale is a signifier of the health of an organization and I would bet that there are a good number of students whose feelings towards their schools are nowhere near as good as they should be, in some part, due to the way their teachers feel about their jobs and the causes for these feelings. The problem has been for a very long time a focus on graduation rates rather than student involvement in activities that stimulate thoughtfulness and enthusiasm for learning what is being taught. Teachers are pushed to prepare students for passing tests and to move them along at whatever cost, this forcing teachers to push out students they know are not ready for what comes next. The job is about numbers and hardly about helping individual human beings grow well intellectually and emotionally. If one likes young people, cares about their futures, only a foolish teacher would be happy about the district and its goals.

In my post (the one above) I did not speak to the issue of pay but how one is able to live one’s life is dependent on what one is payed and teachers should be able to live much better lives than their current salaries allow. The thing about pay is that it has much to do with how the importance of people in our society is judged. This may not be a good thing but it is a real thing and it affects how people are seen and how they understand their worth in the society. Teachers, good teachers, the ones who understand how to make it possible for others to understand the world well are incredibly smart people, the best brilliant and there are limited numbers of these in the universe. That all teachers are not of this class is terribly unfair to students and to a society that needs highly thoughtful people to make it work as an effective democracy. Not all teachers are as smart as students and society deserve them to be and pay–along with which comes degrees of dignity, self-respect, and acceptance of their authority–is is not only important for what can be bought but for the kind of respect–self respect and respect from others–that is confirmed by how much of it one receives. Stupid movie stars receive more respect in our society than the most brilliant teachers! Money, like it or not, does attract and to attract the best and brightest to teach our children, teachers need to be awarded with decent pay, those truly highly qualified to teach. A minimum $100,000 salary is not unrealistic if the reality we wish to create is one that supports sensible and humane democracy. Good teachers, using a sensible scale of importance and effect, are worth at least this.

By lafered

Retired professor of education concerned with thoughtfulness

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