3 Ways to Reward Successful and Innovative Educators

Merit Pay Gone Wrong

This week’s #edchat, “How should successful & innovative teaching and teachers be rewarded?” was incredibly appropriate in light of Florida’s controversial Senate Bill 6 this week that faced strong opposition and even outrage from teachers. The bill, if signed into law by Governor Crist, will eliminate teacher tenure, require experience, certification, and advanced degrees not be considered when paying teachers, and base salaries on “learning gains” made on standardized tests.

The bill is often referred to as the merit pay bill, however many teachers have questioned whether or not the true impact of the bill will be to reward successful teachers. Interestingly enough, many #edchatters felt that merit pay is not the best option for rewarding effective teachers.

tomwhitby: Merit Pay: A tip Jar at the front of the class will speed us along to the race to the top! #edchat It does not work!

The Great Debate – $$$ Vs. Passion

As always, the debate about being too passionate an educator to discuss an increase in salary was in the forefront of the conversation. I think @deerwood put it best:

deerwood: #edchat Few teachers enter the profession for the money but that shouldn’t become an excuse for poor pay and exploitation of time.

My women’s studies background has me still grappling with this idea that the historic gender wage gap plays a role today with teachers being fearful of demanding higher salaries. Teaching, historically, has been a female dominated profession – rooted in care giving. Care giving, historically viewed as a woman’s role due to the stereotypical belief that women are naturally more nurturing, has always been underpaid (if paid) work.

Are we as teachers scared to ask for higher salaries because it will make us look as though we are not natural, dedicated, passionate educators – in it for the love of learning?  And (how) does the historic gender wage gap play a role in teacher salary today?

#edchat Recap: 3 Ways to Reward Successful and Innovative Teachers

Yes, the joy of knowing you are making an impact in the lives of your students is enough for most, but for the rest of us – the following rewards would also be excellent!

  1. R-E-S-P-E-C-T

The number one thing edchatters want as a reward for success an innovation is not money or fame, but simply respect. This respect can come in many forms: professional recognition, creative freedom, autonomy, more of a say in the policies that affect their everyday realities, praise, support, encouragement, and leadership opportunities.

  1. Professional Development and Other Learning Opportunities

Innovative teachers should have a differentiated professional development program. They should be given opportunities to lead staff in professional development and time and stipends to attend educational workshops and conferences of their choice. Teachers should also be granted more loan forgiveness for certification and advanced degrees.

  1. An iPad… or at least a piece of chocolate!

Tangible gifts are also acceptable. 🙂

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