I can still recall the days where being a teacher meant that you were a highly regarded member of the community. In some areas, this is still the case. But not often enough. It seems that being an educator has lost a lot of its prestige and has garnered a reputation that is not entirely fair.
My father, a long-retired high school teacher, gave me some advice when he realized I was heading into education as well. “Don’t do it. People are starting to view us as babysitters instead of educators. Plus, there is no room for promotion. My salary is set in stone whether I am there early and leave late or if I just phone it in,” he warned me.
We need to get people excited once again about becoming teachers and keep them in the field. Here are some ideas from an educator that comes from a long line of teachers.
All of us teachers realize that we will never become rich in the field of education. Still, it doesn’t hurt to be compensated appropriately. Because of this, those pay scales that every district seems to stick to should be done away with. It should not matter how many years of service you have, but how well of a job you are doing.
Of course, there needs to be a base pay to start with. However, after that, it should matter on merit alone.
Remove Teacher Pensions in Favor of Individual 401ks
I am not in favor of teacher pensions and letting an organization tell you when you can and cannot retire. While teacher pensions seem to provide a good payout for those that are able to make it a full career (right now at about 40 years of teaching in the classroom), most of us cannot or will not be able to teach that long.
In addition, the state of Illinois has earned an F for how their teacher pensions are dictated. Instead, the smart thing to do is allow every teacher to just have their own 401k with all retirement earnings going into that account. Then you can decide for yourself when you can retire. Plus, if you do choose to get out of teaching and enter a different career, you won’t be penalized for it. You can easily take your 401k right with you.
College Tuition Waivers for Those Pursuing Education
If teaching is viewed as a noble career and there is a shortage of qualified educators, it would make perfect sense to waive tuition for those college students that are pursuing a career in education. Of course, they would have to agree to become a teacher for no less than 10 years to take advantage of the deal. They already make a similar offer for people entering into special education, so why not make this an offer for everyone in teaching?
Remove the Government From Education
The government has the habit of ruining most things that it touches. President Ronald Reagan once said during his presidency, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’ Our own president knew that once the government got its hands into things, they would not let go and would generally make things worse. This can be seen in education.
It is estimated that a student takes about 112 standardized exams between kindergarten and senior year in high school. When is it all just too much? When the government makes public schools jump through hoop after hoop to gain needed funds from our own tax dollars, it doesn’t seem like it makes much sense.
Just My Thoughts
Again, these are just my own thoughts about how to improve education and perhaps land more people into the field. It might bring about more qualified people to guide our students through their schooling. If you are already an educator and looking for ideas on how to improve your skills in the classroom, iAchieve can be of assistance with our professional development courses.
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