Monday, 22 July 2013

Just one of the reasons performance-based pay won't work...

In my career I have been lucky enough to have worked in five schools in 12 years. One in remote Queensland, one in rural Queensland, two in Metropolitan Brisbane, and one in the Bayside.

I have had many opportunities in these schools to work with different staff. I have enjoyed working with such a wide range of different teachers and Administrators, while working with hundreds of students.

This experience has taught me that each school, each group of students, each staff are so different in many ways. But, the staff are there for one reason - to help students learn. That is the most important thing.

That is the job they are there to do. That is why they chose this profession.

But what doesn't seem to be widely understood is that teaching isn't a job that gets done well if there is someone alone in a room who doesn't talk to anyone about their practice.

Good teaching occurs when there are opportunities for teachers to learn and develop their practice.

When teachers have real opportunities to talk and plan with their colleagues, when they are sharing resources, when they ask questions if there is something that they don't understand and when they can make decisions about their professional development by themselves.

But this is in threat.

Performance-based pay isn't about collegiality. It is about competition. It's about teachers suddenly not sharing their resources, not talking to each other anymore, being forced to do professional development that is not relevant to them and staying silent when they aren't sure about something. That's performance-based pay. 

Simply put it will set teachers up against each other. Competition between teachers doesn't have a place in our schools. It belongs on the sporting field, not the classroom.

Student results are the most important thing, but they can't be the basis of any teacher's salary. Teachers need to work with their students and their parents to have the best outcomes for learning that they can.

Other circumstances need to be taken into account. What curriculum teachers 'have' to teach without consideration for what will interest and engage students. What testing 'has' to be done. When decisions are made by people who have never been in a classroom. When the backgrounds of students aren't taken into account. And when funding is being ripped out of schools.

Performance-based pay doesn't have a place in our schools. Ensuring students have the best resources and the best learning opportunities does. Putting teachers in competition with each other will mean failure.

But maybe that's what the politicians really want...

The poster was made in Stampin Up's My Digital Studio using Vintage Overlays texture 3. The font was Quirky Notes and kFon. The background is orange chalkboard.


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