What is the Value of a Good Teacher?

A “study, by economists at Harvard and Columbia universities, finds that if a great teacher is leaving, parents should hold bake sales or pass the hat around in hopes of collectively offering the teacher as much as a $100,000 bonus to stay for an extra year.”

This is taken from an op-ed piece by Nicholas Kristof in today’s nytimes titled, “The Value of Teachers.” Of course that’s never going to happen – at least not in the foreseeable future. But why not? Teachers are still mostly rewarded simply by how long they’ve been teaching. There’s some incentive for those with a higher degree, but it’s minimal in most cases.

In many industries, there are many options for growth opportunities. Not for teachers, though. I am very fortunate that I work with many who are always looking to improve the way they teach, however the opportunity for career advancement is limited. I should clarify. There are a myriad of different opportunities in education for advancement. All of them, however, are far removed from the classroom. One could become an administrator, consultant, researcher, academic, and the list goes on. Unfortunately, none of that list includes remaining in the classroom. At this point in time, good teachers are truly undervalued.


2 thoughts on “What is the Value of a Good Teacher?

  1. I agree with you totally. Teachers are an undervalued commodity. Few teachers are motivated because of the price of their services. We should compensate our teachers better in the future. A servant is worthy of his wage and our teachers are definitely worthy of the minds that they mold.

  2. There are several professions like teachers in that respect and I wonder if it isn’t time to re-examine them. Perhaps one thing is to bring about a series of lead teachers. One level might involve spending all of one’s instruction time helping the first (maybe second as well) year teachers. But at all levels a lead would be working (in the classroom) with other teachers.

    The trick is to make them teach. Make them lead by example. Don’t let this become yet another administrator who doesn’t spend any real time in the classroom setting.

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