Tuesday, November 2, 2010

MCEA Members For Reform - Voices of Teachers

Aileen Woolley is a social studies teacher at Sherwood High School.  This is her addition to the reofrm conversation.

Hi Mike-

You have gotten me thinking about merit pay. I am for it. My reasons are personal in that it would work for me and public – it should work for our profession.

For me, I want to be in a profession (like most other professions) where results and strong performance are rewarded. I don’t want any more “atta girl” kudos or notes from parents or notes in my professional file. I am not a volunteer to be thanked – I am a worker whose pay should be commensurate with the results I achieve. Surely we have education administrators and specialists who could create a fair evaluation standard that would not be dependent on one measure (like testing results), be as objective as possible, and flexible enough to be tailored to the particular job description of a particular teacher. For me, it would cause me to be more reflective about how I teach and more determined to be at the top of my pay possibilities. It would empower me to further change and experiment and search out credible strategies in all that I do.

For the teaching profession it is important to attract the best and the brightest. In the U.S. we are not. A recent study showed that teachers come from the bottom 2/3s of the graduating college class vs. the top 1/3 in other countries like Japan and Finland. Who would be attracted to teaching today? Obviously, not many of the high flyers. With the negative reputation of teachers, noncompetitive salaries in many regions of our country, and pay increases not in one’s power, no wonder promising students scoff at me when I approach them to think of a career in teaching.

It is a competitive world, it is a critical job – let’s roll and make changes.

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