It is a fact that good teachers are appreciated by the majority of people and that especially includes parents. It also is a fact that, generally, when it comes to pay for teachers, there isn’t much sympathy for teachers. This is a national situation, not just in our local school districts.
We expect our children to have good teachers, but at the same time when it comes to pay and benefits, while the appreciation may be there, the support for more pay isn’t always present. Maybe it’s a quirk of human nature.
There are teachers who are satisfied with their pay and benefits. Others are not. That was evident at last week’s Washington Board of Education meeting. A large group of teachers attended and their spokespersons said the average 2.4 percent increase in pay was not adequate. They also were critical of how other funds are being spent rather than going to teacher pay.
Many professionals and workers in other fields haven’t had a pay hike in several years and have seen their benefits cut due to the economy. That’s one reason they don’t have any sympathy for teachers who are going to be given an increase, small as it may be. One of the other points we always hear is the time off teachers have. But many of the teachers work more than just the hours when school is in session and have other duties. Many also attended classes at night or in the summer, working on advanced degrees.
In all professions, there is a difference in performance and attitude among the staff. School teachers are the same. Not all perform on the same level. Not all project the proper attitude. However, they are the exception rather than the rule. The majority of teachers really care about their students and they work hard in the teaching process. They want their students to succeed.
The times are more difficult for many teachers. Children come to them unprepared. That is, they haven’t been prepared for school at home by their parents. There can be discipline problems also. This makes teaching more difficult.
Considering everything, especially the economy, an average 2.4 percent raise isn’t bad. Teachers in the Washington District are the highest paid in this area. The board also approved a new salary schedule that the administration has been working to achieve for three years. To think that teachers are not valued is to ignore the facts. As to the request for one-time bonuses for veteran teachers, this is not the time considering all the financial facts and other implications. It should be noted that the administration and faculty members did meet and negotiate on the pay issue. And, it was not a “take it or leave it” situation.
The really good teachers will never be paid enough as a reward for their work. They make a difference in so many students’ lives. The resources simply are not there to reward the teachers who excel.