Merit pay has been a hot topic in education reform for quite some time now. I am not a supporter of merit pay. I am insulted by anyone who suggests that merit pay would encourage me to be a better teacher. There are many teachers who work for far less than I do, who, like me, are intrinsically motivated to help their students succeed. Money makes living my life easier, and I am grateful for my salary, but offering me more money in exchange for a classroom environment with which I don’t agree is not going to work for me. (That is to say: relentlessly prepping students for tests instead of giving them rich educational experiences).
Another major issue in the ed reform dialogue is the way teachers are made to feel that they are incapable of making professional decisions. The result is an ever weary teaching force demoralized by having to put into effect policies that are not educationally sound and that hurt the very students they are promoted as helping.
So, considering the latter (with a touch of the former) I have asked several members of my PLN recently for their answer to this question:
Would you accept a pay cut in exchange for more autonomy over your profession?
My thoughts are these: I make a decent salary (much better than some in other parts of the country, for sure), so I could see myself accepting less money. Part of me feels that the satisfaction of being able to do whatever I felt was best to help my kids meet their potential would offset the material losses I’d suffer.
The other part of me feels like I may already be living above my means, anyway, and that if I’m to ever have a financially sound future (or even present) then I need the money and should just suck it up and cash my check.
I am curious for your thoughts. Would you accept a pay cut in exchange for more autonomy over your profession?