Money. Sensitive topic, isn’t it?
I have always taken a reluctant stance to discuss this topic, not to mention publishing a post on it. Some matters are better off kept separated from writing on the Internet versus inside a private physical journal.
I remember reading…
Never ask someone how much money he or she makes , or how much something costs. Never tell someone how much your things cost. Never discuss how much money you make or have.P82, A Gift to My Children, Jim Rogers, Published in 2009
I believe Jim Rogers intended this idea to avoid being come across as a person of poor manners. In fact, it seems he advocates proving oneself by actions than discussing money.
So why this post? This is not meant to be a finger-pointing issue. This is meant to serve as a reminder of my contemplation, for the sake of whoever that may come across this insights. Well, I hope they are insights to those who read it. And in so being, let them have a sense of guidance to their decisions. May this post point to where life gives.
Here is the context of what sparked my musing on this specific topic… Being in a transition phase from being an external freelance vendor educator to an internal public employee educator, I asked an associate who happened to be a current public educator, “What is one thing you hope you knew before you started teaching?”
How much my pay would be. I didn’t know my pay when I first signed up. It’s okay but quite stagnant over the years. Haha.Identity Undisclosed, 2019
These are some of the branches of thoughts I have decided to write here:
- Passion Versus Payout
- Drivers for KPI
- Rank and Grade System
- Process Versus Product
- Immeasurable Factors
Passion Versus Payout
“Do it for the passion.”
“Do what you like and money will follow.”
“I love children!”
As well-meaning those words sound, they form a very minute portion of reality. If a person decides to go into teaching in the public sector of my country simply based on the thoughts above, I am convinced he or she will be grossly disappointed. That would be a very naive way of perceiving work… any work for the matter.
There are three basic survival needs I recognize. They include:
- clothing, and
A man needs to put food on the table. A man has to eat. A man has bills to pay. A man may have a family to provide for, a house-loan to clear, a study-debt to pay, and many many responsibilities added upon him, by choice or not.
Of course it helps to be doing what you like to do, can excel in, and get paid for it! However, going into teaching in the public sector is very different from teaching privately.
For one, the ratio of a teacher to students is something to be reckoned with. Public school in my country setting is usually on average, estimated to be one teacher managing 30 to 40 students, be it primary or secondary schools. That is a vast difference from teaching in a 1-to-10, 1-to-5, or even 1-to-1 setting. This calls for a unique skillset called Classroom Management, but this deserves to be discussed as a topic on its own.
How would you manage if you don’t get paid as high as you feel you deserve? What made you compare what your labor should be worth as with your peers?
Consider reading these articles at your own discretion regarding remuneration as a teacher, as compared to other countries.
Why do you teach?
Drivers for KPI
What is used to measure the labor worth of a teacher? Key-performance indicators (KPI). Ah, that term. Corporations use it for the calculation of performance bonuses. I remember it when I studied Business back in my tertiary school days.
What ought to be the drivers to the KPI of a teacher? The scores of the students? The projects he handles that are non-teaching related? What if the class allotted to him is weak academically? What if the CCA (Core-curricular Activities) he is in charge of performs mediocrely? What if he experiences tremendous success in organizing the Open House? What if he flops in the Racial Harmony Day event planning? What if a kid in his class got into an accident during a Learning Journey excursion?
What is the measure of a teacher?
I was introduced to a term called CEP. CEP is an acronym that stands for Current Estimated Potential. The RO, which stands for Reporting Officer, will be the one who observes and has influence over the CEP of an education officer (public school teacher).
What do you make of the the relationship between KPI, CEP, and your RO?
As for me, I ask the Lord for an abundant supply of wisdom and favor, for it is written…
The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all.Part of Ecclesiastes 9:11 NKJV (Emphasis, mine)
Rank and Grade System
What is to be surprised by ranks and grades in the civil service? While ranks and grades influence the income of an officer, I personally place a higher priority to minding my own business.
For it is written…
This I know: the favor that brings promotion and power doesn’t come from anywhere on earth, for no one exalts a person but God, the true judge of all. He alone determines where favor rests. He anoints one for greatness and brings another down to his knees.Psalm 75:6-7 TPT (Emphasis, mine)
Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men.Proverbs 22:29 NKJV (Emphasis, mine)
Process Versus Product
The journey towards the destiny is often underrated and the product is often overrated than the process.
What ought to be the product of an educator? Is it the scores of the students? Is it the ranking of the school he teaches in? Different schools have different culture, made up of the diverse dynamics of leadership and students from all walks of life. This, in turn, contributes to the environment of the educator to exercise his being.
No training will ever be enough to prepare an educator. A new mother is only as experienced as the age of her child. A teacher only gets to know the class as long as the class gets to know him!
This is just my opinion – the product of a teacher is that his student acquires the skill to keep learning as effective and as efficient as possible. The process of the teacher would be his own development as a person, as a teacher and the teamwork with his students.
Truth be, a teacher can control only himself, and manage whatever is placed in his stewardship. More likely than not, he does not get to choose the mix of students in his class. More likely than not, he cannot choose the lifestyle every child in his class has outside of school. More likely than not, he can only facilitate rather than to prescribe the education to a child.
It might seem unfair to a teacher to be paid less than his peer when they seem to be both doing a similar job, but everyone’s journey is different.
How will you walk your journey? I make do. I choose my paths with what I have. The best part? I trust in my Lord, who is my God and Savior, Redeemer to supply me all good things.
For it is written…
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV
As vaguely as it may sound, there are factors that could not quantify the monetary worth of an education officer. There are teacher of a higher rank earning less than another teacher of a lower rank because of the range of income bracket they belong to. There are Heads of Departments (HOD’s) who earn more than the Vice Principal (VP). If there are cases like this, would you be surprised? And if there is none, so?
I have observed teachers who are happy teaching their subjects with a well-balanced work-life versus family-life relationships. I have also observed teachers who just seem to get the short end of the straws – busy and swamped with assignments and responsibilities to the point of what seemed like a perpetual state of fatigue.
How are you managing your health?
How are you managing your priorities?
How are you managing your circumstances?
If you feel less confident because of your appearance, consider updating your wardrobe, and implementing a manageable exercise routine. If you feel your public-speaking skill need work, consider changing one method of communication and observe the results with your classes.
When a person carries himself with dignity and possesses a cool demeanor, it just seems harder not to take notice of his presence. When a teacher is consistent in his words, students can hardly not predict what is expected of them. If that same teacher expects a high standard of learning attitude of his students, would it go unnoticed?
If a teacher treats his colleagues with respect and divides the line of professionalism clearly with his students, so he is blameless and above reproach, would it be overlooked?
There are possibly too many immeasurable factors that contribute to the monetary worth of a person. Regardless, this I know:
When I commit a tenth of my income to Him, all of my mammon becomes righteous. He has never short-changed me, and He will never short-change me. Since it is by His grace that brought me through the famine times and still made me rich, it shall be by His grace to give me the power to get wealth and make me rich.
In a sense, this musing has brought me full circle back to remember why I chose this path as an education officer. I do not think anyone can please everyone. Even Jesus could not. I believe He did not even try, so why should I?
I am blessed to have encountered many outstanding educators in my life, from workshop trainers to public school teachers and co-workers who showed me demonstrations of excellent principals and examples of teaching methods. I am blessed to also avoid the mistakes of the blunders I observed from others.
I hate to say this… Not that I desire, but I have a feeling I would still have mistakes along the way. Because I know I am imperfect, all the more I appreciate the unearned unmerited favor given me. I need the grace of God. On my own, I cannot.
I am grateful I get to teach in a subject I have a passion for. I am thankful I was equipped and am still being refined to be a sharper educator, for what matters. I am relieved the technology advancement these days have given me so much help, to do more with less effort overall.
So this is a reminder to myself, and maybe to those who get to read this – I fix my eyes upon Jesus. It is Him, and it has always been Him to plants in me the desire and the power to do what I like.
For it is written…
I will lift up my eyes to the hills – from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.Psalm 121:1-2 NKJV
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.Psalm 23:1 NKJV
Jehovah Jireh actually means Yeshuah Jireh. The Lord my Provider means Salvation of my Providence. You know, I can rest in His love to provide for me. I wish you can experience this peace and rest as well.