Merit Pay – Canada Edition

In case you don’t know merit pay is kind of a tough topic to deal with. According to wikipedia, “Merit pay is a term describing performance-related pay, most frequently in the context of educational reform. It provides bonuses for workers who perform their jobs effectively, according to measurable criteria. In the United States, policy makers are divided on whether merit pay should be offered to public school teachers, as is commonly the case in the United Kingdom.”

There has been many talks among many school boards about merit pay. Mostly in the States but it has started to become a discussion in Canada. Many of you know that I am based out of Canada but I like to know about all of North America specifically.

When I came across this article, it kinda got my wheels turning about this topic. Sure it would be cool to get a little extra money for doing what I do best (or so I think), but do I want to be judged consistently throughout my career? Not really…

Also how is the whole system going to work? Teachers who have more “difficult”classes get more just because their students are coded/special needs or those who have the top students in the board get more? How would we be judged? I don’t think there is any one way that this could be decided. There are so many factors involved in teaching. New teachers would barely have a chance of making anything and they’re are the ones that need it (Come on, 6 years of school!).

And what about the students?

Would having a financial incentive really prompt me to do my job any better? Right now, I would do my job and not get paid. I love my job. I love my students and I only ever want them to be as successful as they can be. Giving me more money isn’t going to change that.

For merit pay to work, I honestly think it would take a really long time to sort out all the kinks.

Do you want merit pay? Would it make a difference on the students?

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One thought on “Merit Pay – Canada Edition

  1. There are several schools of thought out there that claim true motivation and inspiration is not driven by monetary incentives, but rather by autonomy, and knowing that your work will be appreciated by someone, or contribute to a cause you believe in. While workers can be coaxed into working harder on strictly mechanical tasks by being offered more money, it hasn’t really been effective at anything requiring intellectual creativity or innovation (I think teaching would fall under the latter form of work). [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc] I think this makes a lot of sense.

    While it would be nice for good teachers to get a little bit of a bonus, it wouldn’t be the money in most cases that motivates them to do what they do. However, the idea of merit pay could breed a lot of negative feelings from teachers who feel like they didn’t get what they deserved, or that the system had somehow cheated them because of their circumstances that year. Merit pay would be a very small positive motivator but a very large negative demotivator. As a result, I believe that merit pay would not increase the quality of teaching in our schools. It has the potential to do more damage than good.

    Then there’s the challenge of deciding what constitutes a “good teacher”. People have suggested algorithms based on socioeconomic status of students, predicting how they “should” statistically do on standardized tests and comparing it to how they “actually” did under the influence of a teacher. The number of factors gets exponentially larger and too complex to really be fair. In a class of 20, one student or event can throw the dynamic of the class. It’s a wicked problem and all the resources it would take to get a truly fair evaluation, I believe, are futile in the end, and better spent elsewhere.

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