Regarding Lodge McCammon's Dec. 26 Point of View article "How new teaching merits higher pay": After 32 years of full-time teaching science from the eighth grade through college, I am still always interested in innovative ideas about how to motivate students to learn. His ideas are certainly innovative and, perhaps, worth a try on a limited basis. I suspect that they will only add to what, to say the least, is already a very stressful job for teachers.
Things are strange enough now with teacher bonuses tied to a school's performance. During my nine years teaching high school in Wake County, I was aware that if I really cared about getting (not really earning) a pay bonus, all I had to do was transfer to a higher-performing school. I was already doing my best in the classroom, trying out innovative ideas to motivate my students to learn as much as possible about science and life.
During the later years of my career, I often wondered why some teachers opted to get out of the classroom and into positions that tell teachers how to teach. Why not stay in the classroom and teach anywhere from three block to five or six non-block classes each day, five days a week, not only learning how to teach the best way you could, but also learning how to manage the behavior of 30 or more active children or teenagers in each class?
I went through around three or four revolutions in teaching, starting with Effective Teacher Training in North Carolina. Each was supposed to solve the crisis in education. I can't remember the exact number because each faded into obscurity as it was found to cost too much or simply not work as proposed.
I know I am from a different era, but I believe that we should have a salary scale that allows hiring of competent teachers. We should have school administrators who are competent to judge teaching performance and willing to help teachers with their difficulties. And give them the power to get rid of teachers who refuse to or cannot perform in the classroom.
I also realize that this idea is also pie in the sky. But as long as we continue to pay teachers low wages across the board, and only pretend to respect the profession, we will continue to hear the phrase, "Oh, he/she is just a teacher."
Charles S. Cobb, Ph.D.
The length limit was waived to permit a fuller response.