Some of my best thoughts come from Twitter. I usually have it open on my desktop at work, and occasionally check it while at home. I came across a tweet the other day that really got me thinking. (See image below)
What is the value in what we do? If our job doesn’t directly make a difference in the learning and the lives of the teachers and students, are we doing what we are ultimately meant to do? We certainly do things that indirectly affect the students and the teachers. We are often managers who oversee the operations of the school. But even these ultimately affect the teachers and students as the most optimal learning environment is to a large degree based on the comfort of the building and the schedule. We do our best to keep the school safe, because we know that you need to feel safe to work and learn to the best of your ability.
Clearing the way for teachers to become their best self in a school that has a vision and values results is the job we are ultimately tasked to do.
I think the question we need to be asking ourselves daily is, “Are the things I am spending my time on helping teachers do their jobs better?”
I find myself caught up in the busy-ness of the job on a regular basis. I regularly make lists of tasks I need to accomplish. I’m sure most of us do the same. I’m going to try reframing my priorities with this tweet in mind. I need to mindfully put the majority of my energy into those things that help my teachers do the best job they are capable of.
Thanks to Danny Steele for inspiring this post!
Listening to a lot of talk on CBC this morning around teacher merit pay. Please take a minute and read my thoughts on how merit pay should work!
Merit pay should be awarded to teachers for the following reasons:
- Having to answer phone calls from parents with ridiculous requests.
- Having to give food to kids from their own lunch.
- Attending students’ sport or arts events outside of school hours.
- Extra planning for students going on vacations during school time. (And a bonus for every excuse given for why none of the homework was completed).
- Cleaning up after a sick kid that was sent to school for ANY reason.
- Any “out of scope” experience during the day, like comforting an upset child because of something that happened out of school.
- Having to change plans in a moment every time technology doesn’t work.
- Every time they hear teaching compared to babysitting or hear about how great it must be to have summers off.
- Every time a student says, “You’re NOT the boss of me!”
- Whenever a parent comes in screaming because they believe every word their child has to say and being unwilling to hear both sides of the story.
- Every time a politician brings up the topic of Merit pay based on test scores.
There are so many factors involved in teaching that most people don’t understand. People who think of merit pay as a way to weed out underperforming teachers need to realize there are ways in place to manage this issue. Just because a parent or student doesn’t like a teacher, doesn’t make them a bad teacher. There are cases of teachers who need to rethink what they are doing, and principals and school divisions are responsible to take care of that. Merit pay is not the answer for this; strong leadership who take the performance of their teachers seriously is instrumental. Proper training of teachers, properly funded schools and allowing teachers to do their job are also major factors as well.
I don’t want anyone to think my sarcasm in any way is meant to bash parents. We deal with a lot of GREAT parents. There are very few of them who do the kinds of things mentioned above, (as there are very few teachers who do not do a great job).
This short blog isn’t intented to answer the questions about the issue. It’s just a few thoughts from my ADD brain.