I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My Commenters Rock

Seriously, they do:
Duke, as usual you hit the nail on the head--and squarely. Having spent over 16 years working in the "real" world, i.e. the private sector/corporate America, before returning to my first and beloved profession (teaching), I was hit with culture shock. At first I found it a bit dismaying, and then just "weird" that a 22 year old "kid" was doing exactly the same job I was doing. Maybe not quite as well (hehe), but the same job with the same responsibilities and expectations. And I, with over 20 years more professional, teaching/training, business, and life experience, was only making about $7,000 more (that was the "dismaying" part, since my 16 years in corporate America only earned me one additional step on the pay scale).

I could not think of ANY job in the private sector in which someone with over 20 years more experience and a graduate degree or two would be doing the SAME job as a 22 year old with no experience. None. Nor could I think of any private sector career in which one would be doing the same thing in the same job for 30 years, except for professionals, such as doctors and perhaps lawyers. 

In corporations, if those doing the same job with the same responsibilities are paid differently, it's usually illegal, and often (correctly) attacked as "gender inequity." As you pointed out, except for the fat cats at the top who get million dollar bonuses or those on commission, the vast majority of private sector workers don't get "merit pay"--they get corporate profit sharing if the business did well that year (based on their positions) or promotions if they do well individually and there's room in the budget.

Teaching is an entirely different model, a different paradigm, even. There is no "career path;" you spend your last year doing what you did your first (only better). It attracts those who find personal and professional satisfaction outside the monetary realm.

Given the nature of the profession, and the individuals it attracts, logic dictates that merit pay is not a motivator. Period.

Christie himself declared this in his address at the Harvard Graduate School of Education on April 29, 2011:
"I don’t think any teacher goes into teaching to get rich. They go into teaching mostly I believe because of the psychic value of being able to share your knowledge with children and watching those children learn and respond to you." He used this characterization to defend merit pay and counter the criticism that teachers wouldn't continue to collaborate in a system that uses merit pay. {Yes! Yes! Yes!}

Obviously, internal consistency and logic are not his strong points. I can't imagine how he passed his LSATs or wrote cohesive briefs. [emphasis mine]
Gender inequity? Could that possibly be why the corporate "reformers" think they can come in and "transform" schools without the consent of teachers? Aren't most teachers women?

I love when ya'll give me free material! Thanks, Lisa! (When you write this well, you should have a blog - just saying...)


Lisa said...

I am honored. Truly.

I've actually been mulling over the idea of blogging, having been inspired by and addicted to your blog :). Wouldn't know where to start though...

In the meantime, having written for corporate America for many years and finding it profitable, often interesting, but not entirely fulfilling, I teach. I teach my learning disabled students to write. And read. And learn. If a simple person can have a legacy, I want mine to be my own two amazing children and my hundreds of remarkable and inspiring students, often struggling against formidable odds.

I love to teach. But recently, I hate being a teacher. That is the saddest part of living in Christie's NJ and the "reformers" world. I and my work garner no respect. They--and those who lack critical thinking skills and believe their contradictory tripe--refer to me as a "greedy, overpaid babysitter." They insult me with the very idea that a few thousand dollars would motivate me to do my job any differently--and that a few thousand dollars is an appropriate "reward" for what I do. That's not why we teach; Christie even publicly stated he knows that. In addition, I think that very soon I won't be able to afford being a teacher, and am wrestling with my conscience (and my spirit) at the prospect of leaving the classroom again.

Any money to be made in blogging?? ;-)

Duke said...

Money in blogging!?!? It's almost as good as being a poet! Or a jazz composer!!

Seriously - we need people writing letters to the editor, on line, in comments, in blogs, etc. Get to it, girl.

I know exactly how you feel - I felt proud to be a teacher until the last couple of years. But I will NOT be beat down by these schumcks! What we do is important - chins up, damn it!