Comments by jenniferdawn84

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Written on Upping Performance Pay For Top Teachers:

I know that McIntyre feels like performance-based pay will reward the top performing teachers for their work and even weed out teachers who are not performing as high, but it is actually doing the opposite.

My 37,000 salary is no where near the above quoted $45,000 average nor is it near what teachers in other systems are making. My valued added scores have been wonderful and my last evaluation was 4's and 5's on the new 1-5 scale. Good teachers are not doing this job for the money though. The money is not worth the enormous pressures that the job presents. It isn't worth dealing with the aftermath of having our evaluation scores made public this summer. Unless you have spent extensive time in a school building , you have no idea what the life of a teacher is like today. The pressures are immense and the expectations often impossible. For good teachers it isn't the pay that continues to drive them...it is feeling like in someway we are making a difference. In the midst of PLC's, TAP, performance-based pay, cluster meetings, data-driven teaching, TCAP, rubrics, children are fast becoming nothing more than numbers on a page. The human element is disappearing. A retired teacher once told me, "Never forget. You are teaching children, and not books." Sadly, as the pressures rise for teachers we, too, are becoming nothing more than numbers on a page--value-added scores, Think Link scores, TCAP scores, salary, performance-based pay bonuses.

There is a grade of teachers at my school who have some of the highest value added scores in both the county and the state. (For those of you who don't know what this means...it is basically the measure of what a student has learned from one year to the next. How much knowledge have they gained? If the student has spent a year in your classroom, then they need to show a year's worth of gains.) Two and possibly three out of the four teachers in that grade will not be returning next year. Why? Because throwing a bonus their way is not enough to keep them around despite the fact that they are some of Knox County's best teachers. I know of many teachers who will be leaving the system or even the field of education entirely, and they aren't the teachers who McIntyre hopes to weed out. They are the ones who are doing their job and doing it to the best of their ability. Good teachers are being crushed like a cherry and not "cherry picked".

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