As a former bad teacher, I think that North Carolina’s new bill that would remove teacher’s tenure and get rid of the automatic pay increase that teachers with Master’s Degrees receive is a terrible idea. Removing tenure might work because a lot of teachers coast at that point, but removing the incentive for furthering education is going to backfire.
Fresh out of college, I went into teaching. I didn’t dream of being a teacher my whole life. I fell into it, as many do, because…it was easy. I hate saying that, because it paints the picture that I didn’t care about the kids I taught and that I was a slacker in the classroom. That wasn’t the case. I wasn’t actually a bad teacher. I loved the kids. I won “Favorite Elementary Teacher of the Year” award. I had a blast. The kids learned. We all had fun. But, given my selfishly-driven slacker motives, I’d say that my inborn professionalism definitely made me an exception to the rule.
It needs to be harder to become a teacher. I went into college as a Journalism student, but it was hard. And, so what did the 19-year-old me do? I switched my major to “Elementary Education” in my second year. Don’t get me wrong – there are people who study Elementary Ed. because they are passionate about educating children, but I wasn’t one of those people. One of my relatives who majored in Elementary Ed. said she was just in it because it was easiest and her college goal was to find a husband.
The way that our politicians, in general, are approaching the daunting debt problem is a lot like a desperate shopaholic and her maxed out credit cards. She’ll give up food, but not her $300 hair conditioning treatments. She is giving up the most important staple of survival – FOOD- in exchange for something frivolous and unnecessary – Peruvian hair oils (I made that up – it’s probably not a thing).
Just like food, teachers are staples. They are shaping the future. These people should be the most educated, serious, qualified, well-paid workers in our society. If we’re going to cut corners (which we DESPERATELY need to do) we should have 10 gazillion other programs we cut before we cut teacher’s salaries and incentives.
Our politicians on both sides seem to be more focused on giving (generalization alert) 18-year-old airheads tuition breaks than ensuring that the teachers and professors instructing them are quality people who make kids and young adults want to continue their education.
Sure, North Carolina Governor, Pat McCrory’s decision will only affect our friends in North Carolina, but I think that our education priorities are skewed even at the highest levels in Washington.
Our leftist President wants education to be practically “free” for everyone – everyone except tax-payers, that is. Rather than investing in the quality of the educators, he’s investing in the quantity of people getting shoved through the system. I fear for the country my daughter will grow up in – where there are 20 surgeons in her local hospital who all went through college on the government’s dime and were taught by underpaid, unmotivated, disgruntled professors. I don’t want those surgeons cutting her open!
I got my first teaching job knowing nothing about teaching. I was entrusted with twenty 9-year-olds and teaching wasn’t even what I wanted to be doing. If I weren’t a perfectionist by nature, I could have really done some damage. People with my motives should not become teachers. Deciding to become a teacher should be much like deciding to become a surgeon. The training should be vigorous and slackers looking for an easy ride should be weeded out.
If Republican Governors like McCrory are removing the incentive that pushes teacher’s to better their education and become higher caliber professors, the education system in his state is going to suffer – as North Carolina teacher’s will be, largely, a group of aged students who just scraped by.