Teachers: Get the money you deserve vs. Go where you are needed

By Christina Williams and Jessica
March 17, 2005

Harold William Halbert

Chasing zeros–Christina Williams

John Doe graduates from Cabrini within the top 5 percent of his class with a degree in elementary education. John Doe has done enough during his college years to establish himself as a good teacher with a good resume.

When it comes to applying for a teaching position Doe has two options. His first option is he can work in an inner city school where he will get paid little for his high achievements. Doe’s second option is coming to a place like Radnor where he will earn what he should be for his high-level education and stunning resume.

If Doe has any sense whatsoever he will go to the job in Radnor where he will be making what he deserves for his education. There are many reasons why Doe’s choice is the best choice.

First of all, if Doe chooses Radnor, he will be in a safe environment and will be in a well-protected area. Some of these schools in the city are not safe at all. At the school where I am doing my community service for my Seminar 300 class, the first day we were there I was told not to leave anything in the car.

Second of all, there are less unruly kids so the teacher can teach with out having to stop class and reprimand the children. Sure there will be kids that act out every now and then but there would be even more unruly children in an inner city school.

Third, there would be more parental support in the school system at Radnor then at an inner city school. The teacher would be supported in his or her decision by the parents more at a school in Radnor then at one in the city.

There would be more of a structure at a Radnor school for the teacher compared to a school in the city. There would be no worries of a language barrier.

If Doe ended up in Radnor with a bigger paycheck, he or she would most likely be able to have extra money to buy extra supplies. The further the teacher thinks outside the box the better educated the students will be.

I have heard education majors here at Cabrini say when doing their field experience they have to put out extra money for their lesson plans.

If a teacher is getting paid barely anything to work at an inner city school they won’t have the money that a Radnor teacher will have to get the extra supplies and provide a better lesson.

Most students at this school that I volunteer for are bilingual and their first language is not English. This does not stop this teacher from doing all that she can to get these kids through the eighth grade and into high school. Even though most of them, statistically, will not graduate high school.

The point of telling this story is to show that there are good teachers in inner city schools that make a difference. She is a college-graduate education major that is not making a lot of money, however and most importantly she is making a difference.

A Radnor schoolteacher can be making way more then this teacher and can still make a difference. They are just getting the money they deserve for their years of education.

I mean who wouldn’t want to work in an environment where they are supported, are guaranteed safety, and can have the extra money to make more of an impact on their students?

If making the extra money to improve students’ education is a bad thing there are probably a lot of bad people in the world. But I definitely don’t think that those who pick the Radnor school district over the inner city school have anything to be ashamed of or should be looked down upon.

These teachers know that they are worth a certain amount based on the education they have received and the experience they have been exposed to.

There is nothing wrong with getting paid what you are worth. No one wants to be short changed and everyone has a value.

If someone wants to go after those extra zeros no one in this world should put them down because they want to get what they are worth.

I say teachers, get paid what you are worth and pick the school in Radnor.

Offering hope–Jessica Marrella

John Doe graduates from Cabrini within the top 5 percent of his class with a degree in elementary education. In addition to his high ranking, Doe has a fabulous resume under his belt and the potential to be hired anywhere he applies. Does Doe apply to teach in the Philadelphia region where he’ll earn somewhere between $20,000 and $30,000 a year or will he apply to work in the Radnor school district, one of the highest paying districts in the nation?

Unfortunately, too many John Does are opting for higher pay over where their teaching skills are needed the most.

Urban school settings tend to be more challenging in terms of teaching than a suburban school for a number of reasons.

The first reason is discipline. Urban areas are more prone to violence, the use of weapons and drugs.

They also have a higher student to teacher ratio. Most classes have at least 35 students and teachers teach an average of six classes a day, taking away from the individual attention that the students need.

Another reason why urban schools are more challenging is language. Some teachers are forced to speak two languages in the classroom.

Now consider a suburban school setting. Violence, weapons and drugs are rarely a problem. Class sizes are small and often times teachers have assistants. For these reasons, the best teachers end up in suburban schools and teachers with fewer qualifications are being offered jobs in urban schools where no one else is applying.

Naturally, teachers want their salary to reflect their efforts and this is not the case for urban school teachers. They are paid significantly less than teachers in suburban districts who do not face the extra challenges.

The reason why these teachers are not paid more is that the urban cities do not generate the money in taxes that would allow the city to raise the teacher salary. In the same respect, our government isn’t putting out that money.

Currently, I am tutoring eighth graders at the Julia de Burgos School in Kensington for my seminar 300 class. Only a portion of the eighth graders in the class are expected to go onto high school and only half of that portion is expected to graduate.

The first time that I walked into Julia de Burgos a teacher that was leaving approached my class and said, “Get out while you still can.” It seemed as though the teachers were rushing for the doors faster than the students.

No student should be subjected to teachers with such little passion and motivation to teach them and genuinely care for them.

The teacher in the classroom where I tutor is exceptional. I have never seen a teacher with such determination and commitment to her students. She stays after school everyday with her class and continues to teach them long after all of the other teachers have left. She fundraises within the school so that she has extra funds for her class. Every year she takes her students to Borders because the majority of them have never been inside a book store.

I can tell that her students respect her and appreciate what she does for them. I also feel that her students will greatly benefit because they had her as a teacher. Unfortunately, teachers like herself seem to be few and far between in urban schools.

I am not suggesting that all of the best teachers should be working in the city and the less qualifying teachers should work in the suburbs. What I am suggesting is that the high quality teachers should be equally throughout both inner city and suburban schools.

From speaking with education majors, I feel that most of them want to be teachers so that they can make a positive difference in the lives of children. If this is the case then why are so many teachers staying away from the areas where the children are most in need? Bottom line is teachers need to stop looking for the extra zeros in their paycheck and start looking at the children they are teaching and making a difference in.

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Christina Williams and Jessica

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