Recently one of my students opened my eyes to how a few of our students perceive their educators. In one quick breath she uttered, “you don’t care – you’re just here for the paycheck.”
In those nine words she made me cry on the inside. I don’t know if it came from the fact that I have succumbed to telling my students, “I get paid whether you get quiet or not” in an effort to get them to focus. Sufficed to say, I won’t ever say that again.
Let’s really unpack that statement. Start off with this: the salary schedule for teachers in the School District of Philadelphia. While I am SUPER psyched to be getting any kind of money for doing something I love, I’m a bit disappointed at the topping off point. Apparently, according to the College Board, if I want my own children to go to the university of their choice, I will have to spend almost my entire annual salary on it.
I understand that Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the entire country are facing a budget crisis right now. But, really, I view it as an opportunity to reorient and reevaluate how money is spent.
Over $300 billion has been spent in the last 3 years on individuals who are without jobs. Granted, it did not solely have to do with lack of education but who can deny the opportunities that education can bring? Overall employment rates show this.
Let’s get the most out of our money for the kids – they are the future of this system anyway. Let’s make sure those schools that need supplies get books, paper, etc and the support on how to use them wisely. Let’s make sure buildings get the maintenance support they need so new buildings don’t start crumbling in 5 years. Let’s make sure we provide support to new teachers with mentors who visit on a very regular basis to provide high-quality feedback.
Basically, let’s make sure our “nation builders” have the resources to actually build the nation.