One of the issues I struggle with concerning merit pay for teachers is who is going to evaluate teachers to determine their potential eligibility for bonus pay. I have read a variety of suggestions from the school’s principal to a panel of teachers from another district. Allow me to explore the first option with you and then I would love to hear your opinions on this topic or other viable plans for successful evaluation.
I abhor the idea of any one person determining my merit as a teacher, let alone someone who visits my classroom only occasionally and, aside from what they see on those visits or what I tell them about what I am doing, know little to nothing about what transpires in my classroom on a regular basis.
I teach in a city whose population has mushroomed over the last few years. We are literally bursting at the seams. Therefore, our principal’s duties have proportionally mushroomed as well. A larger student population drastically increases the scheduling, managing, and disciplinary nightmares. Coupled with all of the district meetings our principal must attend as well as continuing improvement meetings outside of the district, it is fairly common to go days without even seeing our principal. Where would an already overworked principal find the time to engage in the consistent evaluations required to determine bonus pay recipients?
And, let’s get real here! Have you ever had a principal who you fundamentally differed with or didn’t get along with? Have you ever witnessed favoritism by a principal you have worked for? Is it possible that a principal would be more inclined to enthusiastically reward those he/she had a friendship with over those he/she does not? Isn’t it just as likely that some teachers might intentionally build a relationship with their principal in order to improve their chances of monetary gain? Would teachers be more reticent to disagree with their principal for fear of monetary retaliation?
Human nature being what it is, can we not all see the inherent problems which would be created if our principals or any one person was the sole determiner of who would receive teacher bonuses? Call me crazy, but I don’t want any part of this! Do you? Tell me what you think.