Wednesday, January 27, 2010

merit pay- just curious

Now I'm all worked up about merit pay and am curious... vote in poll above- if they implement merit pay, would you change anything about your current teaching practices? Would you work harder, put in more hours, change your instruction, ignore the text book and teach based on your students' needs, or do you feel you are already doing as much as you can?

7 comments:

splatypus said...

I can't get past the fact of being totally insulted when merit pay is discussed. Am I wrong to think that the introduction of merit pay inherently means that teachers aren't teaching to their potential? It's like bribing our kids with candy to do well on tests. If we tried to bribe them, we are assuming they're not already doing their best.

I'm just not okay with that.

If teachers like this do exist, then fire them for not meeting their contractual obligations. I can't imagine that our county is the only one with performance reviews.

And come on, how would our little Helen Keller affect my "bottom line?" What about the little ones who weren't ready for K when they started and we're already discussing retention? There are so many problems with merit pay.

I'd like to have the country give me the benefit of the doubt that I am actually doing my job to the best of my ability, and instead of bribing me with cash prizes, they reward me with a more livable wage.

Tim said...

Back in the early 90's (ancient history), the district that you and I work for tried a merit pay scheme for about three years. And nothing really changed. There was also much controversy over the process by which teachers were selected.

Principals made the decision as to who in their building got the bonus, based on what I remember were some pretty vague criteria. Also, while I never saw it in writing, the understanding was that no school could have more than 20% of the teachers receiving merit pay.

Although I was one of those who got the extra cash, I felt then and now that merit pay is a large waste of time, money, and effort. A great school is not great because of one or two individuals. If you're going to pay bonuses, give them to everyone in a school that is contributing to making learning great for the kids in that community.

Anonymous said...

I am NOT a fan over merit pay. YES, I would teach differently...but not for the better.

The fact is my motivation would change-DRAMATICALLY. I would teach less out of love for the job itself and more out of fear of NOT MAKING MONEY.

Yes.
I said it.
I want money.

Now, confessing that doesn't exactly feel good, but I wouldn't be able to hide it. I like money. A lot. Who doesn't!?

Friends, it is sad, but true. I would spend less time getting to know my kids as people and more time trying to cram STUFF into their brains...stuff that would look good on paper/scantron sheets/the walls outside of my room...and leave me (to quote Beyonce) with all dem bags a'dat money. It's a hard-knock life.

If that didn't work...
I'd change schools. I
I'd move somewhere where the families could afford tutors that would help the students out and 'make me look good'...again...resulting in more money.

I am sure I am going to teacher hell for all of this!
For these, and all my sins, I am sorry!

Mark said...

We are already on merit pay. We get continued employment if we get our kids to pass a test. I know one school where the kids all score high in reading, but none can read. The principal just jacked up the scores before retiring, much to the consternation of her staff. Daniel Pink's book "Driver" dismisses merit pay as a way to get people to work harder. What pay incentives (even group pay incentives do) is get people do to the right thing because it is in their best interest to do so. I've met some teachers who user worksheets and float through their jobs with the dull look of trapped animals. If we all, together, as a group (am I making my point that individual incentives don't work) got a bump for teaching our kids to think--it might wake up the low flyers.

Kids, Canines, and Chaos said...

While I believe that merit pay might help to weed out the bad teachers, I think it also might weed out the good ones. Would my "merit" pay be given to someone else who is not working with the special education population? Splatypus put it well when she said it's like assuming we're not teaching to our potential. Holding money over our heads isn't going to change much, except drive good teachers out of special education for the fear of losing their job or their paycheck.

Kelly said...

If merit pay was implemented I wouldn't work harder, but I would teach to the test more...which wouldn't be better for the kids.

Jason said...

I voted No Change but I'm fairly certain that's me lying to myself.

I don't support merit pay but if it's there I have to admit it'd be nearly impossible to ignore. At the very least, I'm sure I'd do more test prep than I currently do (close to zero).

I understand deep in my heart that my value is not measured by my test scores HOWEVER I spend hours pouring over my testing data and re-aligning/re-creating my curriculum. I just can't help it. Once the measurement exists, I have a compulsive need to use it even though I know it's mostly meaningless. The cognitive dissonance is crippling at times.

Now if you want to talk about merit-firing I'm on board there. It drives me crazy that we're cutting all these teachers and increasing class sizes but we have no way in my district to keep the best teachers instead of just the most senior.

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