Making $50,000 Worth It
Tom Woodward posted earlier tonight looking at how the institutional culture and scale of K12 edu pushes the system towards building and refining processes that aim to prevent abject failure, rather than laying the groundwork for meaningful success.
In Akbar’s words, it’s a trap.
In Tom’s words, “continuing to build a system for the lowest level will likely drive even more high quality teachers from the profession.”
His post also links to a Netflix slideshow about their hiring, organization and compensation systems that, while not nearly as revolutionary as Valve, is light years away from anything I’ve seen in education.
What sticks in my head is the difference between how Netflix (or Apple, or Google) sees the value of an employee and how that value is seen in schools. This comparison is rather common at the moment, and tends to degrade down to various dystopian combinations of teacher evaluation schemes and “merit” pay. I’m going to sidestep that for the moment, although I’m certainly interested in finding positive ways to re-appropriate those tools.
Instead, I want to think about what else we have on the table besides salary compensation. What sort of culture should a school offer to attract our version of “high performing employees.” What should the teaching experience be like in order to attract the best teachers?
How about you? You’re here. You’re an amazing teacher. You’re dedicated to improving the mechanics of your craft. You’re committed beyond the boundaries of the school day or the academic year.
What would it take to get you out of your current job and into a new one? What makes a school jump out at you, from a stack of similarly compensated positions in the same geographical area. What could entice you to move across the country?
As a seed-thought, here’s my dream posting based on an old idea.
HIRING: Middle School teachers
$THIS_AWESOME_SCHOOL is searching for experienced, dedicated educators with deep subject knowledge, broad interests, and commitment to helping students discover their own best path through the world.
$T_A_S is dedicated to supporting students learning, creativity and choices. This requires personal and institutional flexibility, and and an iron-clad commitment on the part of teachers to truly listen and care for each student.
$T_A_S ability to respond to adolescents’ fascination means a short list of required classes combined with daily advisory hours in which students and teachers pursue diverse interests and projects across all disciplines.
Since classes offered change regularly in response to student and faculty interest, $T_A_S hires outstanding, passionate teachers with experience in the middle grades, but does not bind those teachers to particular subjects.
$T_A_S faculty engage in deep, daily collaboration to plan new courses and meaningful experiences for young adults.
To succeed at $THIS_AWESOME_SCHOOL, teachers need to be exceptionally well versed in teaching craft, feel empowered by the dynamic environment, and willing to experiment with new tools, topics, and techniques on a daily basis.
That’s a job description that would have me flying across the country* just to interview.
What does yours look like?
*(PS: Hi Brightworks! Let’s catch up over the summer!)