Recently, I discovered that the Idaho 2014-2015 K-12 budget has created a program for $15.8 million dollars that will allow districts to award teachers who are doing an outstanding job or doing extremely difficult jobs a premium. This could not make more excited, not because I am a future educator but because of what I have witnessed while working in classroom for practicum hours. Educators do not go into the field because of the money they will be making, that is something that we all should know well. The National Education Association states that in the 2011-2012 school year Idaho was ranked 32nd in average salaries of public school teachers. This creates a hard time for educators who want to help the future people of Idaho but can’t afford to stay. Teachers who work hard and do not get paid for their efforts may be the ones who end up leaving Idaho for a better wage and that is not what we want for Idaho.
While spending over 300 hours in special education, preschool, kindergarten, first, second, fourth and fifth grade classrooms I found many teachers who had a wonderful compassion for teaching and others who had compassion but did not go the extra mile for their students. It is unfair that the teachers who spend more hours after school working with their students, planning extensive lesson plans are getting paid the same amount as the teachers who plan on doing the bare minimum for their students. It is not my goal to say that these teachers are not doing their job, they are and they do care about their students but some teachers go far and beyond what they are expected. For this reason, I think that this budget program to award teachers who have done a wonderful job in our school districts is one of the most important things we can do for them.
With this budget program not only will we be promoting for Idaho teachers who do less work to go above and beyond expectations but we will also keep the teachers who are doing so already. I have also learned that simple recognition of trying hard can make a teachers day and will give them the push to continue that hard work that they are doing. With teachers salaries hardly rising I think that this is an extremely effective way to keep the magnificent teachers that this state already has.