Frustrated with the pay scale process

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Doug_HSTeach_07, Oct 15, 2007.

  1. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

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    Oct 15, 2007

    One thing that has been bugging me lately is the way teachers are paid, at least in my district. It makes no sense to me that teachers should get an increase in pay each year, simply because of experience.

    If you bust your tail and come up with a wide variety of lessons, activities, and stimulate student learning, why do you get paid the same as a teacher who simply teaches the textbook?

    Why can't there be a system similar to sports contracts? If you're a teacher that can get the most out of your students, are a pleasure to work with, show up regularly, and do a killer job, wouldn't it be great to have a "free agent" list of teachers? Let the schools bid on your services when your contract is up!

    Competition has always been an integral part of the American way, because it eliminates the dead weight. Why can't teaching follow the same process? If you're a good teacher, then you've got nothing to worry about!
     
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  3. DaveF

    DaveF Companion

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    Oct 15, 2007

    Who decides that you are a good teacher? You, the kids, the admin? Should it be based on test scores? Too many variables that can't be controlled. You should always do your best. We can't do anything about those teachers that do anything extra.

    You can be a "free agent."
    Life, liberty and the persuit of happiness.
    Go persue.
     
  4. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

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    I disagree. I think there are *some* teachers are, deep down, afraid of going to this system, because that would mean they'd have to actually work hard at their job. Do you concede the fact that a lot of teachers are getting by at teaching the same recycled stuff, year after year?
     
  5. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

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    Although the rewards for teachers that do extra things are definitely not monetary, I just don't understand this statement. Why not?
     
  6. DaveF

    DaveF Companion

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    Oct 15, 2007

    Doug, yes, I gree that someprobably have not changed anything in years. As far as doing anything about those teachers, IF they are teaching the curriculum as it is presented in the teachers edition, are they not at least performing to the minimum standard?

    I really understand what you are saying. We send our daughter to a private school. The teachers there are certainly not doing it for the money. They all go the extra mile for about 65% of a public school teacher salary.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 16, 2007

    I think what you're saying is the basis behind merit pay.

    The problem is that good teaching is incredibly hard to quantify.

    This year I have 3 honors freshmen classes and one below level. My honors kids have mostly A's and B's; the other class has mostly B's and C's as well as my only failure. If you judge me on the honors grades, I'm a decent teacher; judge me on the other and I'm not so good. I do open my homeroom early, but I don't stay after extra help for activities (I have 3 small kids; those activity years are on hold for a while.)

    See what I mean?? So am I worth more or less than a teacher with more A's, but who doesn't give daily extra help? If I taught more honors classes my grades would be higher, but who would teach the more difficult below level classes?

    I agree that the pay scale isn't great, but I'm not sure what would replace it.
     
  8. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    Oct 16, 2007

    I agree with Alice. Merit pay could be a potentially slippery slope. I have a split personality this year. I have the "gifted" LA class, and an REI class (co-taught with a Special Ed. teacher) with some of the lowest readers and writers in the seventh grade. I also have several of the students from the ED room who refuse to work. My test scores this year will be all over the place, and I DO bust my tail to do my very best. How would that look compared to my colleagues who do not teach the "difficult" students?
     
  9. desari

    desari Rookie

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    Oct 16, 2007

    I tell you what...Merit pay is gonna creep into play. Politicians are arguing for it too. You wanna know what is behind this? NCLB. At least in the state in California it is. What is the basis? Test scores. The higher your class scores the higher your pay. If it stays low, though, I am not sure what they do. Maybe keep it the same. So...do yourself a favor and really look at what you are suggesting. I understand that you feel you are busting your rump to get your students involved and doing well. My suggestion is that you take that and consider the outcome as your payment. That is truly what teaching is about and that has never been a secret.
     
  10. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Oct 16, 2007

    What happens the years that you get a very low class to begin with? No matter how much you bust your tail and come up with a wide variety of lessons, activities, and stimulate student learning these students do not do well on the test. Is it the teacher's fault they don't pass, or is it because they were low when they came to the teacher's class? Should the teacher who busted their tail not get a pay raise this particular year because they taught but their students were low? There are a lot of kinks that would need to be worked out first.
     
  11. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

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    Oct 16, 2007

    Completely agree with the two above posts. I understand it's a shady issue- I just wish we could do at least something about it.
     
  12. ddb23

    ddb23 Companion

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    Oct 16, 2007

    It would be nice if merit pay were based on more than just test scores. Most teachers can think of a list of a few. In fact, most of us here could walk into a classroom, spend 5 minutes looking around and access the level of learning taking place.

    On the other hand, if you want to make more money, there are certain teaching positions (math, science, and sp ed) that are much more flexible on the pay scales.

    It's probably a safe bet that merit pay is not going to get much traction in the near future. At least not anything of the magnitude that will actually lead to significant change in teaching positions.

    db
     
  13. ddb23

    ddb23 Companion

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    Oct 16, 2007

    you can try. If you believe that you are worth more than you are currently making, then you should approach your principal. Most principals have budget monies available. For example, if you are staying late to offer tutoring, there may be extra duty for tutoring. If you are mentoring other teachers, there may be a stipend for that. If you are leading a department, etc....

    Worse thing that the principal can do would be to say no.


    db
     
  14. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    Oct 16, 2007

    In my state career ladder pay is based on more than just test scores. You go through a program and create a portfolio of lesson plans, student work, planning, differentiating, etc. I'm not sure the extent of what test scores come into play but I know several teachers who make up to $5000 above the normal pay, and they seem very happy with the program. There are the drawbacks, of course, but it seems to be a good program for teachers who are willing to go the extra mile for planning, objectives, etc.
     
  15. Mrs.Rhinochunks

    Mrs.Rhinochunks Companion

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    Oct 16, 2007

    I am guessing you are in Arizona. I am in a Career Ladder district and I abhor it! I welcome the opportunity to learn how to be a better teacher through professional development classes and opportunities but I would do them by choice. $500 (this year) is not worth it to me. Plus, I have to be out of my classroom to attend Career Ladder mandated classes and that is the last thing I want to do.

    I am constantly asking myself how I could improve each lesson, cruising bookstores and surfing the net to increase my repetior. Yes, I like my paycheck but the greatest reward truly is when students show that they have learned something in my class or when a child tells me I am cool!:love:

    God bless the little cherubs:angel:
     
  16. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    Oct 17, 2007

    Mrs. Rhinchunks-yes, I am Arizona! Is Career Ladder only an Arizona thing? Well, I am glad to hear your side in case I ever move to a school that has career ladder. I am in a Masters program and several of my teachers are in Career ladder districts. They have really liked it and make good money with it. But i have also known another person who did not like it. She felt it hurt collaboration and teamwork because no one wanted to share ideas. I have heard that the requirements are different among districts, and that some districts merely require some classes and a portfolio. Do you hate it enough to drop out of the program, or is it merely an irritation and will be worth it in a few years? ( when the pay increases?)
     
  17. Mrs.Rhinochunks

    Mrs.Rhinochunks Companion

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    Oct 17, 2007

    In this district Career Ladder is NOT a choice. It is a requirement for ALL teachers new to the district irregardless of their years of experience. It is also a requirement until you reach Level 1. I opted for pre-entry A because I am new to the state as well as the district and I wanted to get a handle on my new home before attempting something that requires so much work. I live on the boarder of California and I am considering either applying to the other district in this city that happens to not have career ladder or to a district in California (I have my Cali cert) for no career Ladder AND 10k a year more.
     
  18. Li'lrabbit

    Li'lrabbit Rookie

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    Oct 20, 2007

    Seems to me that of the merit pay systems I have seen, the "merit" is earned by doing a boatload of paperwork and additional bureaucratic garbage: 1) outside of the regular working day; and 2) unrelated to creating a vibrant, stimulating place for children.

    As far as teaching the same thing year after year, the teachers that do this are the ones who always turn their paperwork in on time, always have their classrooms under strict and orderly control, and are known as "good soldiers" to administrators.

    Teachers that "inspire" and "connect" with kids are the ones that make waves and headaches for adminstrators. The system is designed to reward mediocrity and to force out the extremes at either end.

    If you want a long teaching career, be a C+ person, keep your mouth shut, keep your head down. You are not here to insprire, you are here to kill their souls and teach them to be delighted if they can score a cubicle that doesn't pass the boss' office on the way to the breakroom.

    As my administrator explained to me the other day, "These kids do not need to think creatively, they need to learn to follow sequential instructions and not ask stupid questions". The guy needs to retire...
     
  19. Mrs.Rhinochunks

    Mrs.Rhinochunks Companion

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    Oct 20, 2007

    I would like to address the comments made about teachers who teach the same thing year after year. I would like to preface my comment with the statement that my comments are not context appropriate. I totally understand what others meant in their threads. I do however see an upside to teaching the same grade and using the same books year after year. As a teacher becomes familiar with the "skeleton" of the year, you can become more creative with your lessons and always be on the lookout for new and inovtive ways to spice up the old lessons and to keep your classroom fresh and evolving.
     
  20. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Oct 20, 2007

    :agreed:Mrs. Rhino. There is something to be said for those teachers that use old lesson plans/book/materials as a framework for each new school year. After getting the framework, the teacher can then pull in different strategies to keep the same lesson. Oh, to be to that point! :)
     
  21. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I agree. It's wondeful to be in the position to walk into a classroom and not WONDER about what needs to be emphasized, what mistakes the kids are likely to make, or which approach is most likely to make sense to most of the kids... and then have alternate explanations ready and waiting for the kids who don't like approach A.
     
  22. Li'lrabbit

    Li'lrabbit Rookie

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    I am bothered by the premise of the first post, that the teachers who, "bust their ass" are the ones who deserve merit pay. I agree that teachers who "bust ass" should earn more pay, but the truth is that EVERY teacher is busting his or her ass.

    Every teacher deserves to be paid at least double their present salary, and it is simply not legitimate to say that there are any teachers who are somehow more deserving of better pay than the others in their building.

    Teaching is my third career, after a successful run in two other professional fields, and while I can't speak of all the professions, I can say will full authority that teachers work far harder than lawyers, accountants, carpenters, insurance salesmen, stock brokers and bankers.

    Also, Mrs. Rhinochuck, ln rereading my post, I see that it could be taken as a slam against some teachers. Once you figure out the ins and outs of your discipline and grade level, you really should be able to teach the same thing year after year, and this truly is the foundation, the framework for creative and inspiring lessons and activities.

    My irritation is not directed against teachers, but rather at adminitrators who view stasis as competence, and are critical of teachers who, in their quest to achive excellence, sometimes experience a spectacular failure. I am currently working in a district that believes that rote memorization and collassal homework assignments are the keys to excellence, and each day I watch more little eyes lose their luster.
     
  23. ddb23

    ddb23 Companion

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    I have been teaching the same thing year in and year out - it's great to spend less than 10 minutes pulling together the lesson plans and schedule for administration. I use the rest of my time to tailor my lessons for individual students to make sure I am able to reach more students. You learn the common mistakes and have different methods for each problem.

    Classrooms must be under control or learning will take place. This doesnt mean that learning takes place in all orderly classrooms, but I have yet to see an out of control classroom where learning does take place.

    db
     
  24. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

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    Oct 23, 2007

    I cannot WAIT to get to that point....as it stands right now I am spending 2-3 hours each night on lesson plans.

    Oh well, it will happen someday! :D
     
  25. AF Mom

    AF Mom Rookie

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    In our area we are paid a state base and then the district will add to that. Some teachers make a lot more then others because their district has more income. The rural school teachers usually receive less but have smaller classes and fewer problems. I think we are one of the lowest paid groups in the US.
     
  26. La Profesora

    La Profesora Cohort

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    Nov 7, 2007

    There are very few teachers out there who truly bust it. I work in a district where the majority are just sitting back, socializing, and earning a paycheck. They gossip about the teachers and the kids, talk on their phones, surf the internet, read the newspaper, and do their time while racking up a nice fat check.

    I, on the other hand, prep at home, prep on my conference, prep at lunch, teach two advanced science classes and one remedial science class that gets seniors to graduate. I share all my handmade material with the department and ask nothing in return. I teach summer school, afterschool, and on saturdays. I write letters of recommendation, counsel students to graduate, help them prepare for the SAT's, and help them learn English. I use technology and teach my department to use technology.

    I deserve more pay than 90% of the teachers at my school, regardless of how long they have been there.

    and i know it!!!!
     
  27. Mrs.Rhinochunks

    Mrs.Rhinochunks Companion

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    Nov 7, 2007

    I am truly sympathetic for you.

    I teach elementary and I LOVE my job becasue of the people I work with. If it was not for them I would quit in a heartbeat, We arrive at least 30 minutes befor our contracted time and usually stay 2-3 hours after the official day ends. We are struggling to create the best possible learning environment with limited resources and unlimited demands! We have a principal who is a good-hearted person... but buckets of crazy. Every day is a new challenge to overcome and if we pro-rated our salaries it would probably be more profitable to work at Dairy Queen.

    And we are definitely NOT paid enough compared to our peers who just show up. Busting your ass has value.:(
     
  28. La Profesora

    La Profesora Cohort

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    Nov 8, 2007

    AMEN GIRL!

    And your group sounds like the kind of teachers that make a lifetime of difference for their students. I, unfortunately, work with many who are screwing up their futures :(

    In the culture where I am teaching, education is just not valued as it should be. I grew up in Ohio, and learned to bust my rear. When I moved to the Mexican border, it is seen as more important to have "street cred" than an education.

    So frustrating.....

    But I never quit trying!
     
  29. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    La Profesora, I wish all teachers had the kind of attitude that you have. I know there are a lot of teacher out there that do, but if EVERY teacher was like that, then education would be a lot better off.
     
  30. Carmen13

    Carmen13 Groupie

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    Nov 8, 2007

    Move to Portugal! mmm...but then again we have way too many teachers...unemployed.:eek:
    We had a system similar to the American one (though the rases were not every year) but all that is past. Now only a small percentage of teachers will "reach" the top of the career. We will have different categories for teachers.
    I don't know many details about how the teachers will be evaluated yet, but I am not sure if the teachers "on top" will be the best ones...:huh:
     
  31. lincro44

    lincro44 Rookie

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    Nov 9, 2007

    How many teachers are feeling like they only teach for the test the first half of the year. All i ever hear is well we are getting prepared for IBS especially certain grades. Maybe that's the real problem. It seems that the measuring of students progress is the main focus. It should be on learning new techniques.

    When i was in college i had taken algebra, i didn't need it for my degree, because i was never really good at it in high school and thought i should really try it. I had the best professor. On the first day of class he said this "if you don't understand the steps on how to do the problem raise your hand, and i can show you 5 ways to sunday to do the same problem" , and he could because i was raising my hand a lot. He said that after he finished his degree in math he was offered a fellowship to study different ways of working math problems. I have never forgotten this man since i still share this story with my classes when i sub. It's the teachers who everyday think the class really didn't get that yesterday how can i make it easier for them to understand that deserve merit pay.

    Now having said that i think it would cause resentment for teachers who try but have children who will not sit/shut up long enough to learn the material.

    Sometimes i hear things that are just disheartening like: well he won't remember it tomorrow so don't worry if you didn't get it across. Or just try to keep order they won't work for you. Or this is the school they send the ones who don't want to learn.

    That really makes me sad. But it also makes me wonder why are they there then. Schools are not baby sitters. Perhaps that's really where we went wrong. In alot of countries it's a privilege to attend school not a right.
     

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