If you’ve recently sat for an I.Q test and failed, don’t despair. You can always become a teacher. The Education Departments of Western Australia and Queensland are getting quite anxious because applications for teaching places have dropped drastically in the past two years. Nobody wants to go into the second oldest profession – pedagogues just aren’t what they used to be.
They used to be respected because they were moderately intelligent in the past or were considered to be, which is just as good, I suppose. People actually chose to be teachers because they wanted to make a difference. That sort of thing is called job satisfaction and it’s what makes working worthwhile.
The other thing that makes working worthwhile is a good salary. Unfortunately, teaching fails on both counts. It rarely is respected and it is definitely poorly paid. As a profession, it is way too low on the prestige scale and that’s important to a student who is going to dedicate several years to studying at university.
In their wisdom the two Departments of Education that I mentioned earlier have decided to lower their standards. That is such a stupid approach! How can a lower entry score be an incentive for a bright student? Imagine his getting a good result in the final exams at school, one that could allow him to study Medicine, Law, Economics or I.T but choosing instead to study teaching. Could that happen? I don’t think so.
23% fewer students have applied to study teaching this year in Queensland. That is a phenomenal decline in applicants which will have dire effects on teacher/pupil ratios in schools.
So what’s to be done to halt the decline? First of all, entry into teaching should be made more difficult, not easier. After all, when a course becomes exclusive that’s when everybody wants to study it. Isn’t it human nature to want something that’s hard to get?
We have to make teaching more attractive to intelligent students. We have to pay these graduates very well so that they will not feel that they are sacrificing a high standard of living. We must compete with other high paying professions so that we don’t lose the best students to other faculties.
In my opinion, good teachers should be paid more than average teachers. Why is it that in other professions, talent and success are rewarded, but teachers receive the same pay whether they impart the most wonderful knowledge or sleep through the lesson? That sort of payment schedule is a disincentive to an ambitious and hardworking teacher.
After nine years a teacher’s salary stops increasing and the only way to get a raise is to go into administrative work in a school. Such a system is ridiculous because it takes good teachers away from classrooms and into boardrooms. What a waste of talent!
It all sounds quite simple, doesn’t it? Higher entry standards and more pay. Otherwise, it will be the pupils who will outsmart the teachers and that’s no good for anybody.