Saturday, February 11, 2006

NYC Education: Getting The Best Teachers Into Classrooms

While I was paying the household bills this afternoon, I had "The History Channel" on for background noise. I happened to look-up and that's when I saw a slickly-produced commercial from an outfit calling itself Teach NYC. The webpage seems to be concerned with the recruitment of teachers for service in New York City and appears to be targeted toward younger people.

I guess that there is a severe shortage of classroom teachers in the Big Apple.

The ad itself featured a large number of children running amok about pasting photos of their favorite school teachers at various points all over the city.

What came through strongly was the notion that classroom teaching is a "calling."

While I'm not about to dispute the fact that many of the world's best teachers do, in fact, feel that they've been "called" to serve students in the classroom, (One would need to be "called" in order to tolerate the type of nonsense that NYC's
Mr. Babylon has to contend with on a daily basis.) there's simply not enough talented people who feel "called" to enter New York City's troubled classrooms.

More educators who are willing eager to work with students on a day-to-day basis have to be found.

New York City has one of the highest costs of living in the country. With
starting pay of just $41,172 (less substantial taxes) for teachers hired after November 2005, a newly-minted teacher can almost cover the cost of a studio apartment.

If the teacher doesn't own an automobile or have any children.

In our culture, where one's status in the community is largely based upon one's income, if New York City wants to truly attract the best teaching talent to the classroom, the well-paid folks in the administrative suits over at the Department of Education need to use something other than the 'ole "teaching is a 'calling," routine as a recruitment device.

Talented people have choices, and if school officials want them to choose classroom teaching, they need more than slickly-produced advertising campaigns to convince them to do so. They need to earn a decent living.

Like love, talent costs.
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