I have always wondered why teachers are some of the lowest paid people, and yet have one of the most important and crucial jobs. I will freely admit that this going to seem like an incredibly self serving post being I teach math, but I’ll bring it around to the students soon, I promise.
My idea for our new fellowship involves some sort of salary subsidy that would come from the people who graduate from our program. I was thinking something like 2% of their salary once they leave university would be put into an account that goes towards faculty salary. My thoughts are these:
- The economic incentive helps make sure the school stays up to par which fosters a connection to the school that never really ends.
- The salary of the teacher becomes something that is enticing for all people since the subsidy is meant to go towards paying teachers wages that elevate the profession to something closer to some of the most important roles in our society.
- There is a feeling that the better all our students do later in life comes back to benefit us.
I don’t know, maybe this takes some of the honor and altruism away from the profession, but I think at some point, teachers have to stop sacrificing so much of their lives to do what they love. I also think that at some point society has to invest in their teachers in a real way.
In studying motivation on creativity and productivity, Daniel Pink says that if you get the money right up front, make people feel like they are part of something bigger, and provide autonomy for people to lead and create great spaces, you will see great things happen fast. I think that if people literally are buying into the profession they will see amazing things happen. That means that our students get the best teachers who are more satisfied with all aspects of their lives and give the best they can for the long haul. The hope is to reduce teacher turnover, burnout, and increase incentive remain reflective and growing. Is this realistic anywhere? In the areas where people live well below poverty? I don’t know, but again, my hope with this is that it only affects the people who finish their Bachelors degrees. Please share, and lets see what people think.