A post-grad year at teachers’ collge taught me that I was not cut out for teaching.
However, one thing I gained in that year was an admiration for good teachers.
That’s why I’ve always struggled with the idea promoted by teacher unions, and many teachers, that all teachers should be paid the same.
The suggestion made a couple of years ago by John Hattie, author of a study on education, that’s it’s time to revisit performance-based pay for teachers was met with the usual response from Kate Gainford, head of the secondary teachers’ union:
Gainsford says it would be “extraordinarily problematic … on so many fronts” to work out an excellence-based pay formula. She would like to see the focus on supporting “all kids, in all classes, in all schools”, rather than on a sorting mechanism for teachers.
This is one of the arguments that is being brought out again in opposition to the idea of charter schools which would have the ability to pay good teachers more.
I doubt if there is any profession which puts more time and effort into evaluation than teaching. If it works for their pupils, why not for teachers?
Their fears appear to be based on the mistaken belief assessment of teachers will be based solely on narrow criteria like exam results and the “excellence” of their pupils.
There is much more to being a good teacher than that. Helping a pupil who starts with disadvantages, be they intellectual, physical, emotional, cultural linguistic or social, take small steps could be much more an achievement than helping a more able pupil take giant leaps.
Then there are other factors like mentoring other staff and contribution to extra curricular activities.
With the current tenure-based system of pay rises teachers generally only get get paid more for promotions which take them out of teaching and into administration.
Wouldn’t it be better to pay good teachers more to stay in the classroom?