social studies coachPosted: April 2, 2011
My husband and I have been immersed in the NCAA basketball tournament for the past month. We do this every year – giving up hours upon hours of our week nights and weekends, filling out brackets, cheering for teams with whom we have no geographical or emotional connection. It is glorious.
Tonight’s game is VCU v. Butler. I decided to do a little google searching, and I came across this article about coaching salaries and bonuses. I have never been one to harp on the injustices of public school salaries – I chose to teach, and I’m grateful for the monthly allowance and the experiences that teaching has given me. However…
I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if someone with money valued what I do as much as they value what Calipari, Smart, and others do each year. What if I had a higher salary? I will admit that my job now technically does not take into account my performance (test scores) as a teacher. What I am suggesting has its flaws. For a moment, I even found myself thinking, “They get paid more because they accomplish more.” But do they really accomplish more?
Granted, we can never fully compare the job of a basketball coach to that of a teacher. There are too many unique variables. Then I came across something that closed the gap a little more. VCU’s overall field goal percentage per game (during the regular season) was 43.6%. Numbers are a universal language. For example, last year one of my Civics & Economics classes was 94% proficient on the final exam – one of them scored an 80 and was not considered proficient.
94%. 43.6%. I know what you’re thinking. It would be more fair to compare VCU’s overall wins, right? 71%. Clearly a good record, but not quite as accomplished as my 94%. And yet here I sit, finding myself grateful for a $30,000/year salary while reading an article outlining enormous bonuses for coaches who probably couldn’t explain the law-making process, or who probably don’t spend time discussing the Constitutionality of Writs of Habeas Corpus.
The logical side of me knows why this is the way it is, and part of me sometimes agrees. The public does not pay for tickets to come watch me teach (though I would highly recommend it). I don’t bring in any income for my school. But the idealistic part of me dares to assert that I do something better and much more important – I educate. And I don’t just educate those who have already proven to be the best, or have a natural inclination towards my subject. I educate everyone and anyone. Because even though my salary would lead me to believe otherwise, what I do is important and lasting.