Monday, May 14, 2007

Another teaching thought...or two...

Larry and I were talking about this the other day...

When you're a teacher, you have to be "on" all day. Every day. No matter what you feel like or want to do. Like, sometimes, I wish I could just sit. That doesn't happen. I mean, I DO sit sometimes, but I'm still working with a child on handwriting, or doing artwork, and I'm STILL having to monitor the room mood and be sure everyone else is engaged- nicely. Our brains are actively engaged at all times, even if it's just assessing the room mood. You never stop, you never shut down. If you did, you'd for sure lose your job, if not your students, which leads me to the next thought...

As teachers, we don't work for just one boss. I have a director, yes, but I also have 10 kids and 20 parents and a State Dept. Of Education, and sometimes some of us have principals and vice principals and fellow teachers and other students' parents and school boards and PTAs and parent councils and...get it? There is always someone who is looking to see if you do your job, not just well, but effectively. And you know, I watch a lot of other folks do their jobs and think, "If I did that, they'd fire me" or "If I tried that, my parents would have my head on a platter". Most people don't have a CLUE how to give good customer service- but that's something as a teacher I strive to do.

All that, of course, feeds into teacher salaries- another ball game. My only thought- don't necessarily pay us all more, but pay us for what we DO. On merit. Like, bonuses or something. I haven't, of course, thought this one out. Also, pay more to those willing to work in failing schools. Like, $10K more. Bet they'd get some good teachers who would stay more than one year. Food for thought.

2 comments:

bekster said...

How would they know how much of a "bonus" to give you? It must be frustrating to know that, really, the only ones who know what you REALLY do--and they don't even probably appreciate how MUCH you do--are the kids. Your "bosses" only see your lesson plan, the kids' grades, and the kids' behavior/etc. Unless someone sits in on your class (and how do they know you are not changing what you are doing because they are there?), they can't really know what YOU do. There are any number of factors that could affect how the children perform that have absolutely nothing to do with you. The kids' parents may be really awful, which could lead to discipline problems, but it might look to someone over you that you just don't know how to keep control of the class. I agree that teachers should be paid more, but you would have to figure out first how to tell which teachers actually do their job well and which teachers don't bother--because I'm sure there are teachers who don't bother to stay "on" all day, but since no one sees it except the kids (and who believes a child against the word of an adult?), no one REALLY knows.

That is interesting, though, about being "on" all day. The only "teaching" I have done is at church, and that is only for an hour at a time. I HAVE spent a lot of time doing prep work at home for class, but I have not had to experience having to be engaged constantly for that long. I think it would leave me very drained, and it would be even that much more important to have "adult" time (not "adult" like the adult bookstore, but meaningful conversation with anyone over the age of 17). When I get to teach at church, I really enjoy spending the time with the kids. I look forward to just being with them, but I don't think I could do it every day for hours and hours without going crazy.

Cryssy said...

Amen! to Becky's comment! I really try to applaud Gabe's teachers whenever I can because I know I couldn't do it in a million years!