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Where in the world do you work? My salary is not nearly as much as your salary. As a matter of fact your salary is twice the amount of my salary and we do not get extra pay for receiving our National Board Certification and we only get $200.00 a year more for receiving our Master's Degree. If I was making $90,000.00 a year I would not complain either. However, I make about $45,000.00 a year, I have my Master's Degree, and I have been teaching for 20 years. I also pay almost $1,000.00 a month for Health Insurance for myself and my family. I really do not see much money by the end of the month. I do work in a very difficult school environment. However, I love where I am at. It would be wonderful if we were paid more for the challenges we face everyday, but I would not teach anyone else. These students need loving, caring teachers who are truly their for them and not for the money.
In my third year as an urban school teacher, (special education), I have come to realize many things. First, I have a much greater respect for talented educators. It is a tremendously challenging job with a huge learning curve that should be compensated accordingly. Yet I do not necessarily think higher pay for underperforming school's teachers is the answer. Good teachers stay because they are good teachers. Those who can't handle it find it intolerable and leave. But I would appreciate a school-wide bonus if we make improvements. School-wide incentives keep teachers from competing with one another. We are a team, and should be compensated as teams.
I also think that the best teachers in districts should be identified and given pay and/or release time to mentor other teachers. The concept of release time for service is used at universities, but I have never seen it used in elementary schools. Many new programs could be more easily implemented if teachers were given a structured incentive program and release time to help them develop ideas, like getting more technology integrated into the curriculum.
It takes a giant strength of character to handle the challenges of the poorest schools. During my first two years I experienced daily anxiety for the first time in my life, and felt thrown into a job requiring far more expertise than I had gained simply by going to graduate school and an intern program. There is no easy entry. You are expected to be fully skilled and up and running on day one. Totally unrealistic, especially given that you have no supplies, no budget, and no support, in most cases. In my building, we don't even have access to a copier. How absurd is that? The taxpayer's support for my profession is insulting after having spent many years in the well supplied private sector (in business). Even a little recognition would go a long way.
Like most of the other posts here, I do not made nearly as much as Leonard. During the 2006-2007 school year, my salary was about $42,000. This includes a Masters stipend, teaching adult education courses four nights a week in my district, teaching Saturday remediation classes, and 6 years experience. I work in Virginia and began my career in Philadelphia.
In the past six years, I taught at an inner-city school with 100% free lunch, then moved onto a school with over 80% free or reduced lunch. I've been punched, kicked, and cursed at by students. One of my students charged me, knocked me flat on my back, and continued swinging. I once had i student threaten to have his dad take me out. I taught 3rd grade.
One of the major issues I encountered in working with this population was a lack of supplies. I've given students the basics like crayons, pencils, notebooks, and rulers, but I've had to do more than that. I've paid for field trips and given away bookbags, socks, shoes, hats and gloves. I always had food in my classroom, in case one of the students missed breakfast or just needed something to eat to get through the day. I bought numerous books for my students to take home, so they would have something at home to read (thanks to scholastic book clubs, I got great deals). I've listened to my students telling me about seeing their moms on the corner prostituting themselves for crack money, or worse, hitting up their children for spare change.
Working in an inner-city school or a school in an economically depressed area is a challenge as well as a blessing. It really takes a dedicated person to handle the challenges associated with these schools. While I love where I work and what I do, I have been considering moving back north to simply increase my salary.
The love of children does not pay the bills, I agree with this statement, but it sure makes going to my job better. I do not think that money is the answer. One lady stated that she made almost 90K in nine months. WOW We can only dream of this type of money. I am a elementary school principal and I am not close to that pay. I could make more money, but I love my job and my family gets by. I think that a program that educates the parents would be better spent. I would love for the teachers in my county to make more money and I think that they deserve it. But money will not fix education, it will only create a wider gap. Education begins at home. When parents become parents and not friends, educators will be able to educate again.
A distinction needs to be made between expensive daycare by financially rewarded educators/baby sitters and effective and easily verifiable education. If I can pay a truck driver in Iraq $10,000 a month to transport supplies in an improvised explosive devise (IED) infested country where he is often the target, I can surely get a "teacher" to babysit natively intelligent children in innercity school that have been social promoted for so many years that they are now incapable of mastering the highly tauted grade-level standards that should measure their success. Will increasing the teachers' salaries resolve this problem?
Failure to timely educate children not only leaves them years behind and frustrated to the point of acting out and disrupting the educational process for all concerned, but it also immutably destroys their developing brain's ability to subsequently master the progressively more difficult subject matter that is required of them in middle and high school where their behavior issues make them impossible to teach at grade level by even the best teachers. Will increasing the teachers' salaries resolve this problem?
What people who talk about "educator quality" never talk about is the continued use of "social promotion" that subsequently precludes the possibility of mastering present grade-level standards for any student because the previous grade-level standards have not been mastered. I brought down the wrath of God in the form of my incompetent principal for daring to fail students who refused to bring books to class or do any work- she suggested what percentage of "Ds" I should have given if I wanted a recommendation to get the hell out of her school. She wound up getting promoted, while my union doesn't want to pursue this continuing crime because "we've both moved on." The school still remains under a "red-team" audit from the state, which is threatening to take it over, while there are no shortage of other failing schools where the aforementioned situation continues to take place. Will increasing the teachers' salaries resolve this problem?
Although I am a teacher who has been acclaimed in my previous schools, the assumption has always been that students who were as much as 6 years behind grade level were failing because of my failure as a teacher and not the school's failure to pragmatically deal with them where they were at academically, while insisting on a code of behavior by supporting and not undermining the classroom teacher. Will increasing the teachers' salaries resolve this problem?
Attracting "educator quality" to education does not insure education and, in fact,serves no purpose in a failed school system where seniority determines which teachers get the tolerable classes while new teachers are often given as many as 5 traveling classes in 2 different subjects with the assured knowledge that this position will need to be filled again in the next academic year when the newbee burns out. Could this have something to do with the shortage of good teachers? Will increasing the teachers' salaries resolve this problem?
My students have always had "access to high quality education," the problem is that they have been so damaged by their previous "education" that they are unable to take advantage of secondary education with their Basic Interpersonal Communication (BICs) level of English that is almost totally devoid of the foundational Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP) that they need to meaningfully access secondary subject matter in all courses. Will increasing the teachers' salaries resolve this problem?
I am a product of what has now been allowed to become a failed public education system, because 90% of the Whites in Los Angeles have fled public education for private schools. Although I have a juris doctorate and two other university degrees, I come from a generation where good, dedicated, and successful teachers like my mother got lifetime credentials and the only people who called themselves doctors were physicians.
I make $78,000 a year for a 9 month-a-year job. Add to that 15% for National Board Certification and you arrive at $89,700, unless I choose to also teach summer school for additional money.
While I could make more practicing law, compensation is not the issue. Rather, it is the behavior of students that is tolerated so that innercity school districts can collect Average Daily Attendance (ADA) money from the state based on warm butts in the sit and not on whether or not students are actually being educated. In Los Angeles, 90% of Whites are out of public education.
All children- mine included- push for limits. When they receive no limits, they create a chaotic environment where education is not possible for them or others. Mikara Solomon Davis, a Teach For America teacher- now principal- with no credentials turned around a difficult innercity Compton, California elementary school with a stereotypically "problematic" 50% African-American and 50% Latino student population. By the end of three years, Principal Davis got 868 API scores- comparable to Beverly Hills and San Marino- two highly affluent Southern California communities (Los Angeles Times 1/14/07). She did this by suspending 100 of the 468 student population until their parents were willing to assure their children's behavior. She also paid teachers additional money to work one-on-one with students who were initial behind their grade level.
50% of teachers do not quit teaching within 5 years of starting to work in innercity schools because of salary, they do so because there is no serious attempt to create the aforementioned environment to educate minority children by first requiring that they comport themselves in a socially acceptable manner. By allowing these children to run wild instead of being educated to their potential, our society doesn't have to question its racist stereotypes of these children that such failed schools continue to nurture.
While money is definitely NOT the reson most of us went into this profession, I dare say it is a great way to say that the school district acknowledges the extra effort that goes in to teaching in a low performing school. I have taught in Southern California where high minority low performing districts offer $5,000 dollar signing bonuses just to come to their district as well as "hazard pay" if you will to teach for them for the year. Teachers in low performing schools work much harder than those teachers in middle class schools that are making the grade. I currently teach in a title one school in Georgia and LOVE it! My district is 2 hours outside of Atlanta, but is on par with the pay there. That is not true for most districts however. Out area is rapidly growing and the school board has made a commitiment to hiring the best teachers and realizes pay is a factor is recruiting the best of the best!
Amen. Been there, done that. I left too because of all that you stated.
Yes, unquestionably, teachers in these schools should be paid more. instructional expertise is critical to success when facing the host of discipline and academic issues these teachers face daily. That expertise deserves to be compensated. But money is not what is driving teachers away. Inconsistent discipline policies, lack of alternative schools for violent and disruptive students, overcrowded classrooms, lack of supplies--no support at all in other words...I've been there and left; and it wasn't about the money.
Extra compensation for teachers who work in high-needs schools can help meet the staffing needs of such schools -- which so often lack enough stable, experienced and effective teachers. But the rewards and incentives need to be part of a comprehensive package that also addresses teacher working conditions (effective principal leadership, a critical mass of colleagues who share a commitment to excellence, etc.). And teachers (whether they are already there or are being recruited) should only receive incentives if they can demonstrate that they have the special skills and predispositions required to be effective in this most challenging of school assignments. The recent report by the TeacherSolutions group has some good ideas on this topic -- see www.snipurl.com/tsreport