What Teachers Put Up With

Here’s Alabama state senator Shadrack McGill explaining why it’s a bad idea to raise teachers’s salaries:

If you double a teacher’s pay scale, you’ll attract people who aren’t called to teach.

To go in and raise someone’s child for eight hours a day, or many people’s children for eight hours a day, requires a calling. It better be a calling in your life. I know I wouldn’t want to do it, OK?

And these teachers that are called to teach, regardless of the pay scale, they would teach. It’s just in them to do. It’s the ability that God give ‘em. And there are also some teachers, it wouldn’t matter how much you would pay them, they would still perform to the same capacity.

If you don’t keep that in balance, you’re going to attract people who are not called, who don’t need to be teaching our children. So, everything has a balance.

To answer your obvious question: No, he has no problem with raising the salaries of state legislators:

Think Progress reports:

McGill found justification in the Bible for not increasing teacher pay, but he evidently found nothing in scripture preventing him from approving a 67 percent pay increase for legislators in 2007, which increased annual salaries for the part-time legislators from $30,710 to $49,500. He said that the higher pay helped to stop corruption.

Tell me again about how it’s the teachers’s unions that are the problem with education.

Comments

  1. #1 CaptainBlack
    February 3, 2012

    The same argument would support not paying them at all?!

  2. #2 Wow
    February 3, 2012

    Mind you, it seems like when it comes to executive talent (and politicians), the highest pay is required to get the best talent.

    When it comes to the middle and lower classes, it’s competitive world, and there’s no money to be made.

    The same reasoning that CEOs need high pay to keep them honest and large share options to keep them working for the company mean that they should pay their workers higher.

    Or that they think that executives will steal far more readily than workers will, so need big bribes to keep them honest.

  3. #3 Skeptic Hamster
    February 3, 2012

    As a teacher- albeit on another continent- my reply to Str McGill is this:
    http://www.only-apartments.com/images/romeMe/grandmother-secrets.jpg

  4. #4 GrammarTeacherChurchill
    February 3, 2012

    “What Teachers Up With Put”

    FTFY

  5. #5 Eric Lund
    February 3, 2012

    [McGill] said that the higher pay helped to stop corruption.

    By that line of reasoning, I live in the state with the highest amount of corruption in state government. Our 400 representatives and 24 senators are each paid $100 per year (no, I have not dropped a couple of zeroes there) plus a mileage allowance. I’m not saying there is no corruption in state government here (NH), but McGill’s claim should be filed under [citation needed].

  6. #6 eric
    February 3, 2012

    I personally wouldn’t call secondary or above teaching ‘raising my child.’ However, it is astounding to me that someone who does call it that, wouldn’t want to pay top dollar to the people he says are raising his kids. Do you really care that little about your kids?

    Somewhat related, I vaguely recall a conservative senator in Minnesota or Wisconsin making a similar comparison to baby sitters (probably a month or two ago). And getting completely shot down when people pointed out that to pay for babysitting for 20 kids would be something like $300/hour. Most teachers don’t even get a tenth of that. I see Alabama average teacher salaries are about $40k per year. For a 9 month work year and 20 kids per class, that works out to $1.39 per kid per hour. About, again, a tenth of what a babysitter gets.

  7. #7 jtradke
    February 3, 2012

    And these teachers that are called to teach, regardless of the pay scale, they would teach.

    Yeah! They’ll eat our shit regardless, so let’s feed it to ‘em!

  8. #8 Umlud
    February 3, 2012

    “What Teachers Put Up With”

    Should that not be, “Those Things that Teachers Must Endure”? Or perhaps, “What Teachers Put Up With: Things more important than putting prepositions at the end of sentences.”

  9. #9 ildi
    February 3, 2012

    Ha, that reminds me of this hoary joke:

    A high school senior was inspecting Harvard University, where he hoped to attend the following autumn. As he was walking across the Quad, he stopped a distinguished-looking man and asked:

    “Sir, can you please tell me where your library is at?”

    The man replied:

    “Son, at Harvard we don’t end our sentences with prepositions. Re-frame your sentence in a proper form and I will reply.”

    The student shrugged and said:

    “Ok, can you tell me where your library is at, a$$hole?”

  10. #10 Deepak Shetty
    February 3, 2012

    And these teachers that are called to teach, regardless of the pay scale, they would teach.
    I know a few who were good teachers who left because they could earn more in other industries.
    Its good to see you take up the cause (from a wannabe teacher who realised he wasn’t good enough to teach)

  11. #11 Lenoxus
    February 3, 2012

    “Don’t end sentences with prepositions” is a strawman of sorts. No modern English teacher gor anyone else) says it, so can the dumb jokes about it end now, please?

    As for the Harvard joke, there is an argument that “at” should not be used where it is simply redundant, but that’s different from the fact that it happens to be a preposition.

  12. #12 Amenhotepstein
    February 3, 2012

    OT, but my favorite Harvard joke:

    A Harvard man and a Princeton man are standing at adjacent urinals. The Princeton man zips up and immediately heads for the door. The Harvard man pipes up:

    “You know, at Hah-vahd, they teach us to wash our hands after using the restroom.”

    The Princeton man replies: “Oh yeah? Well at Princeton they teach us not to piss all over our fingers!”

  13. #13 Living Healthy
    February 4, 2012

    great post. Thanks for sharing.

  14. #14 Art
    February 4, 2012

    I forget where I saw it but someone in the 60s someone proposed that everyone get paid the same subsistence salary. Ditch digger and dentist, mime and microbiologist, everyone makes the same. The basics of food, water, healthcare, education and shelter were free.

    That way everyone gets to follow their dreams. CEOs who calling was to be a janitor would not be held back by pay or benefits. Everyone would be happier because they listened to and followed their calling and best purpose.

    That’s how it was supposed to work.

    In some ways attractive I have my doubts as to how this would work. But it does show the idea is not entirely new. What is even less new and novel is that he would leave him and his out of the salutatory and entirely beneficial effects of having wages cut. I’m pretty sure he considers this one of the burdens of leadership.

  15. #15 Tony61
    February 5, 2012

    “What Teachers Put Up With”

    FWIW, the proper pedantic construction is “Up with which teachers must put.”
    ____________________________

    #6 makes a good point about teachers making $1.39 per hr/ per kid. Legislators, and parents too, have no idea how burdensome it is taking care of so many kids for so many hours. It seems impossible and I’m amazed at what is asked of teachers, coaches, etc.

    We never had kids (by design) largely because we couldn’t fathom devoting that much time to the care and feeding of even one or two offspring. I’m flabbergasted at the ease with which parents will inflict their children on others for hours and hours. They are YOUR kids.

    I happily pay my taxes to educate the the next generation– enlightened self-interest, yada, yada, yada– and I wouldn’t argue throwing in a little more. Just don’t make me teach or babysit your kids!!!! And pay the teachers, they’re worth it.

  16. #16 ArtK
    February 6, 2012

    @ eric

    I personally wouldn’t call secondary or above teaching ‘raising my child.’ However, it is astounding to me that someone who does call it that, wouldn’t want to pay top dollar to the people he says are raising his kids. Do you really care that little about your kids?

    You’re missing the underlying motivation: Public education is wrong. Children should be raised and educated by (two-parent, heterosexual, mom-at-home-dad-at-work) families and not “the state.”

    Other than that, I agree with you.

  17. #17 Wow
    February 7, 2012

    You’re kidding, right, Art?

    Because all that means is you learn LESS than your parents. A few generations later, and all you get are grunts, pointing fingers and pounding fists.

    Which does rather explain the rightwingnutjobs…

  18. #18 afrika mangosu
    February 7, 2012

    I personally wouldn’t call secondary or above teaching ‘raising my child.’

  19. #19 dean
    February 11, 2012

    I think think and hope that artk is hinting at what the right wingers
    really think should be going on.

  20. #20 Bob Sun
    February 13, 2012

    Here is a variation worth consideration.

    If you raise ALL teacher salaries, good and bad, then you attract people who want more money, not those who want to be good teachers.

    If you raise the salaries of GOOD teachers, and fire those at the bottom, then you attract people who believe they can be good teachers.

    To date we have tried the former. Why not try the latter for a while?

  21. #21 dwsingrs
    February 13, 2012

    Have Messrs. Meshak and Abednigo also issued similarly heated observations?

  22. #22 lenoxus
    February 15, 2012

    If you raise the salaries of GOOD teachers, and fire those at the bottom, then you attract people who believe they can be good teachers.

    The first problem with this is, how do you determine a good teacher? Testing the students has some merits, but a lot of problems as well. If the teachers focus enough on test-taking techniques, they can do pretty well without having given the kids as useful an education; in addition, the more you focus on testing, the more you raise the officials’ incentive to cheat.

    So how about teacher evaluations by students? Well then, of course, you’re just giving the students an incentive to “upvote” the most easygoing teachers and downvote the ones that make them work harder.

    I won’t dispute that many teachers are better than many others; the problem is that the delay between the time of teaching and the time the teaching really “pays off” (or not) is so long. Although that’s based on an arguably simplistic view that the value of teaching is only about future success and not present happiness / critical thinking / hard work / whatever. (Just what is good teaching?)

    An additional issue is that perhaps there isn’t a great correlation between good teachers and “people who believe they can be good teachers”.