What is the price of inspiration?

EVERYONE had a teacher that affected their life in a positive way.

If you didn’t, you were probably a sociopathic miscreant in your school years, or you went to some kind of horrid school worthy of a Charles Dickens novel.

But for most people, there was at least one educator who helped make them the person they are today.

Maybe it was the cool drama teacher who helped bring you out of your shell.

Maybe it was  the understanding English teacher who had faith in you.

Or the clever woodwork teacher that opened a new world of possibilities and careers to you.

Maybe you didn’t even realise the positive effect they had on you until much later in life.

And if you don’t like where you are today, maybe you should have listened more to your teachers.

The point is, teachers are important.

And lately they’ve been going on strike in an effort to get better pay, smaller class sizes and to combat the state government’s plan to bring in performance pay.

Teachers deserve to be better paid.

Most people who become teachers don’t do it for the pay — they do it because they value education.

Ask yourself this question: would you want to be a teacher?

Would you like to deal with hordes of snotty children, armies of angsty teens, or platoons of pushy know-it-all parents?

No. For what they have to put up with, teachers already deserve a pay rise.

Think about what you were like in high school.

Would the grown-up you like to deal with a classroom full of variations on the teenage you?

I’m guessing not.

You were an idiot in high school.

Sorry, but we all were.

Like nurses and police officers, teachers are under-appreciated cogs within our society that not only keep things running, but they help manufacture our future society. They protect and serve, they care and educate, they enlighten and encourage.

And without them our society would fall back into the dark ages.

If you’re still not sure about their worth, at least consider how performance pay could be a bad thing for our state’s educators.

Performance pay means that it will be necessary to quantify how effective our teachers are. How do we do that?

Are a student’s marks alone enough?

And if a student gets bad marks, is that entirely the teacher’s fault?

What if they’re a difficult student?

What if they’re parents fail to play a supportive role?

Will teachers get extra credit for those students which they truly inspire but who may not get good grades?

What about those students that are having difficulties at home or in the playground and that need support?

Will those important moments of counselling and support figure into their pay packets?

Will students be labelled with degrees of difficulty?

Will teachers be able to refuse to teach certain students because it might drag down their chances of a pay increase?

And if only certain teachers are going to receive performance pay, will that breed a sharing and positive workplace?

The old Christmas bonus may work well to inspire employees to sell more couches or cars, but we’re not talking about coercing cashed-up morons into buying things they may or may not need.

We’re talking about our kids’ educations and their futures.

Surely we want our teachers to have every available trick, technique and tool at their disposal in the hopes they find the right one to teach our children.

With performance pay, teachers will keep those tricks, techniques and tools to themselves.

And then it’s no longer about teachers missing out on a bit of extra cash — it’s about your kid missing out on a valuable piece of their education.

And that is worth more than money.

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