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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Teaching on a shoe-string salary


In the Channel News Asia, Singapore discussed a plan to raise teachers' pay. Teachers are leaving the field because of money; they simply are not being paid enough.

I like what the Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing said to Channel News Asia; “I know pay and remuneration is something of concern to many of you (childhood professionals). You didn't join the sector because of money, but we should also not have you leave the sector because of money.”

I totally agree with this; many of us entered the Early Childhood field because we love what we do, but because the pay is so low, many good teachers have left the field and pursued their professional goals elsewhere.

This has always been a concern for me, after hearing teachers say; "they are leaving Early Childhood to teach at an Elementary School."

And you can’t really blame them, seeing that we are not always treated as professionals or paid as well, which is why they leave.

It was also mentioned in the article by one school, that if teachers are paid more, then parents must be charged more.

Correct if I’m wrong, isn't that what business plans are for? A teachers’ salary should be considered in the planning of a business before that business opens.

And to me, that says a lot about how the company feels about teachers. I get that there is a basic rate for what Early Childhood teachers are being paid, but why must everyone follow that rate.

Sometimes it is important to walk away from what everyone else is doing and follow your own path.

Figure out what kind of school you want, and what you want to offer your students. Then consider the type of teachers you want. Will they have a degree or not? Then determine their pay based on that. 

Understanding that whatever your final decision is, it will have a tremendous impact on the operation of your center.

If you allow your teachers to have the minimum requirements and pay them accordingly, not requiring them to improve their educational standards, they will most likely find another place to work when offered more.

But if you require more, and offer a competitive salary, advancement and challenges, they may offer longevity.

Since neither is guaranteed, respecting what they do, and offering them some of the same benefits (if possible) that Elementary School teachers receive might cut down on the rate in which Early Childhood teachers quit.

I've been in the business 20+ years and I cannot remember one time that I was given a Christmas bonus or any type of incentives as way to say; “we are glad you are still with us another year.”

And you know the worse part about it, I accepted that “it’s just the way things were,” maybe we shouldn't accept it anymore.  



Darla*

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