Yesterday, a comment that began in support of the Khan Academy quickly devolved into an opportunity to bash teachers. Never had I inspired such an incendiary response on my blog. I chalk up the author’s contempt to her own ignorance and blind acceptance of stereotypes. However, there is one generalization about teachers that this person made that I can’t get out of my head because I know there are many others who believe it:
I am quite sure if 100 teachers were polled for the reasons they entered the profession, 100 teachers would respond in their top three with some form of “The opportunity to impact students’ lives in a positive way.” Certainly that was my number one reason for entering. The copious and comfortable salary (joking) would be pretty low on the list.
Unfortunately, when teachers expect certain rights as public employees, they are automatically assumed to have lost any concern for the best interests of their students. How idiotic.
The expectation from this small yet loud group of teacher bashers seems to be that teachers should have to work for a pittance, because what kind of selfish S.O.B. who claims to be in it for the students has the audacity to ask for rights and a salary that can help manage a mortgage, kids, and rising cost of living expenses?
I know personally several educators around the country who make a paltry salary that most would consider insulting for whatever line of work they are in. However, given the logic of the bashers, since these people are only teachers, they should just keep their mouths shut and be glad to have a job considering how awful they are.
It is because of those underpaid educators that I continue to find the notion of merit pay so insulting. There are teachers out there making less than $25,000 per year, and doing so because of their love for their students and their hopes of changing the world for the better. Merit pay assumes that money is a significant motivating factor for teachers. It seems to me that in most cases, this is wildly untrue.
So when people assume that, “Teachers don’t give a crap about their students,” sorry, but I get a little rankled. When people assume that teachers should also work for nothing, I get a little rankled, too.
I think it’s time for people to reconsider their anger.
“Let it rain! Let it rain!” Watch a Jon Stewart segment from March that shows just how awesome it is to live on a teacher’s salary.
A very happy birthday today to my mother. Though she is retired, she has found ways to continue to be an exceptional educator who inspires many with her common sense approach to what is right for students and what is wrong. She’s one of the ones who gives a crap and she has taught me to do the same.