For some time now there has been a popular discussion on whether teachers in the classroom should be paid based on performance. I can remember reading somewhere in my past that every lecture a lecturer delivers is a performance. However, if every lecture is a performance then why aren’t teachers paid based on performance.

One school of thought is that this will be unethical to pay teachers based on performance because not all teachers are blessed with students at the same level. In a perfect world this might be applicable if all students were at the same level. However, because of social ills in society, lack of parental advice, monetary constraints etc this defends the argument against performance pay.

But others believe teachers have an amazing responsibility which should not be taken lightly. The responsibility to impart knowledge which promotes learning and what will make students relevant in today’s society is not a simple task. So are teachers today being given a light road? Many politicians scramble about this issue of paying teachers according to their performance. In a culture like Jamaica where voters historically do not vote on issues, electorates care less as to what the policy makers believe. It is disheartening to know that others disregard facts when empirical evidence can prove that teachers are to be held responsible. When students fail especially if they are from a socially deprived part of society we tend to blame the environment but recent research shows that this does not compromise a student’s ability to learn what does is the ability of the teacher to impart the knowledge.

In a society where we see young people celebrating hip-hop musicians and seeing them adopting new trends it does work against the learning process and teachers readily use this argument that they are up against forces that are bigger than them. But those who are serious about impacting a change will use these trends as analogies in the classroom to bring the point closer to the students. It does not serve the student more when teachers create a culture of the student’s environment in the classroom. This hampers growth as an individual to dream dreams that are bigger than them and also the ability for students to develop skills which would be needed.

I strongly believe that teachers are to be paid on performance but before we do this the inequalities within the system that we have created must be eradicated first. The culture of having one set of students at a particular school should end. This will see students having an opportunity to learn which should be a fundamental right. For far too long, graduates who did not matriculate into universities have seen teaching as an alternative and the high standards of teaching must be reinforced if we are going to promote better education. Teaching is not learning how to write lesson plans and studying that particular field, it is more than that. Teaching is enhancing, educating, moulding, inspiring, and performing ever time you enter a classroom ensuring that the lesson taught was learnt and grasped.

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