Posts Tagged ‘Salery’

Do Experienced Teachers Give Enough Back to the Profession?

May 21, 2012

Although I have not had this experience myself, I have heard many young teacher talk with exasperation about their experienced colleagues. These teachers, looking for mentorship, problem solving methods and simple direction and assurance from their older and more confident co-workers, have complained that they are often left to their own devices. They claim that experienced teachers tend to find a comfortable groove and are reluctant to do any more than absolutely necessary.

Whilst I realise that this characterisation of experienced teachers doesn’t reflect all who fall into that category, I wonder whether teacher burnout as well as the fact that experienced teachers have reached the peak both in status and salary, are contributing factors to this likely scenario. Since these teachers have devoted decades to what is a challenging and physically taxing profession, the job of mentoring a new teacher can often be too much of burden.

If this is correct, it is quite unfortunate. Our young teachers, in my opinion, are poorly trained. Our teacher training courses are high on useless theory and low on practical instruction. I have never met a teacher who considered Vygotsky’s theory of proximal development of greater use to their day-to-day teaching than the precious but fleeting weeks spent visiting schools as a pre-service teacher.

There clearly needs to be a greater incentive for experienced teachers to help new teachers settle into their role and adjust to the dramatic change from student-teacher to actual teacher.

Last year I formulated a two-tiered approach to making best use of experienced teachers:

1. Experienced teachers who are deemed to be excelling at a certain standard are offered a mentoring role for higher wages. If accepted to take on that role, these teachers would offer new teachers the chance to spend a few days in their classroom, let them observe their lessons, give them access to the their planning material and be someone out of that teacher’s school environment who can deliver advice and guidance via email and phone. This challenges the mentor teacher to strive in their new position as well as their underling.

2. For the second category of teacher, I recommend that newly retired teachers, who have left the profession with a wealth of knowledge and an eagerness to maintain links with the profession, be paid to mentor and assist teachers who have not been performing at the required benchmarks. Instead of firing teachers in the first instance, I propose that these teachers get the opportunity to improve with a greater deal of support and collaboration.


• Provides the opportunity for excellent teachers to be better paid;

• Allows retired teachers to maintain links with their profession and share their wealth of experience;

• Gives new teachers greater confidence and a non-judgemental mentor who they can approach; and

• Allows teachers currently not working at their premium a second chance that may reinvigorate and refresh them.

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