Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Merit Pay for Teachers

I found this essay on the internet and it's something to ponder on...
High-quality education is the guarantee of self-realization and prosperity in life of every single man nowadays. Therefore the educational system has now faced a great problem of the necessity of its reformation. The premise for this reformation lies in the perspective of making the educational process maximally effective. Teachers can really make a difference if their work is objectively evaluated and rewarded. Comparing two teachers with the same amount of years of experience and with a completely different level of “practical” professionalism makes it obvious that no matter how better or worse they are opposing each other, they will still get the same salary. The main problem concerning “true teaching” remains unsolved. Though the salary can be equal, the level of knowledge and teaching provided by two different teachers may be absolutely irrelevant. So the main goal of merit-pay system is to pay according to concrete results presented by each of these teachers and not by the degree and the years of experience they have.

Making a Merit Pay as a part of the educational reform will definitely contribute certain complication in the process of the functioning of the educational system. It especially concerns the process of evaluation of the eligibility for this pay.  A series of tests, observations and introspection has to be done in order to keep choosing the right “nominees”. One can have a greater amount of years of education but be less worthy of the Merit Pay due to the faulty teaching. This may cause people to lose their jobs, but at the same time it may eliminate the presence of incompetent teaching at schools. At the same time this reform brings the hope that only really pedagogically talented people will educate children and prevent people that can be successful in any other profession from becoming “faulty” and incompetent teachers. There are also a lot of “environmental” conditions that prevent children for getting the best of their education: poverty, family troubles, low motivation and so on. Nevertheless, if a teacher can give a student sufficient motivation for learning all these ”environmental” conditions may lose their power and influence over the child. The only way for the teacher to motivate students is to be motivated on his own. Merit pay provides this motivation, making the teacher realize that the efforts will not be left unnoticed.

So in spite of all the complications Merit Pay is believed to be a great solution for the contemporary educational system. It will ensure the presence of quality teaching in schools. It is a stimulus for taking a great step from reproductive teaching to the “creative approach”. “Without individual merit pay, teacher evaluations remain perfunctory best”[1]. “Teaching offers tenure, a solid middle-class income, and plenty of vacation time”[4], this becomes a sort of protection for those “average” teachers that do not search for more and will not work more than they are required. What merit-pay system does is it drops the “average” teaching off the schools and therefore it makes a tremendous step towards improving the academic achievements of the students. “But simply raising teacher pay without fundamental reform won't give us better teachers-it will just give us higher pay for good and bad teachers alike”[3].
Merit pay has a lot to do with the motivation of teachers. High motivation afterwards leads to a high level of professional performance. The situation in the educational sphere is very instable due to the constant decline of the general student achievement.  No one states that the salaried around $42,000 that the teachers get are unbelievably small. There is even more to add on the grounds of the U.S. Department of Education statistics: “teacher salaries have increased steadily over the past 20 years, while student achievement has steadily declined”[3].

The merit-pay system becomes a “tool” to encourage teachers no only to “attend” work in order to get their stable salaries, but to come up with something new and improve their general level of performance greatly in order to be rewarded. The president of America Federation of Teachers (AFT) Sandra Feldman stated: "Salaries must at least become competitive to attract and keep quality teachers", and she was right because as long as the worker feels unremunerated the quality of his performance will never come to its maximum potential. It is similar to any other job: good initiative and an outstanding work always result respectively in the salary. Merit Pay should definitely become a part of the educational reform because due to all of the listed positive moments above it will certainly start a new “educational millennium” where teachers do really make a difference for kids.
  1.  “Good teachers matter, so pay the best more”/by Steven Malanga/ August 07, 2001.
  2.  “Merit Pay: Another Tale” /by Myron Lieberman/ 2001.
  3.  Teachers Deserve Merit Pay, Not Special Interest Pay
  4.  Should teachers be paid based on merit? YES


  1. I agree with the Merit Pay system as it will increase the quality of teaching by teachers As we can see nowadays, the declining of the students result quality is maybe due to ineffectiveness of teachers in teaching students.
    But it has it owns pros and cons. It depends on the person on how they take and understand the essay.

    By Mohd Fikri Bin Rosle

  2. I will show my full support for Merit Pay System because it will enhance the quality of our education system.. It is very true that not all trained teacher are showing their full commitment in their profession. They are just giving their attendance in schools just because of monthly salary. If we pause for a minute and start thinking; we can realise that there are teachers who are really committed. They never care about about salary, time and own leisure time... They focus on 'our' kids... so we have to appreciate this type of teachers.... :)

    Mohan J2.8 (20/01/2011)

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I personally think that is really a good idea which it can increase teachers and students performance. However, what is the rate salary should be set for the new teacher? It is not an easy thing to do. Nowadays, everything is so expensive. If the salary that have set is too low? then, i believe that even a good teacher also might has a low performance. For those who has married, they need financial support for they family. In addition, if they have children, they might probably facing financial problems which may cause they get into stress condition. How a stressful teacher can really helps a children? I am agree salary based on the concrete result that they have presented by that teacher. Besides that, behavior, attitude, appearance, ways of thinking of a teacher also very important. If a teacher has good teaching methods but bad behavior, attitude, appearance? It's meaningless because the students that they have taught probably will also like them. that is not suppose to happen. We can't allow that Our new generation has a bad attitude and behavior. They can be everyman or "everywomen" but not the one who is rude or creating crime. My last point, if one wish to be a good teacher, then he/she will become a good teacher....

    Yap Meng Hua. J2.8(SEM 2)

  5. I think Merit Pay is one of the best initiative that can be implement by the educational system so that it can encourage teachers to improve their quality of performance. It can also ensure that each individual of teachers must make a paradigm shift to get the best for themselves and of course the salary must be as equivalent as their outstanding work. In my opinion, I agree that Merit Pay can also motivate the teacher to set their goal in teaching as well as nurturing themselves with honesty and sincerity towards the profession.

    Puteri Nurellina Shafiqa Bt Rosli
    TESL PPISMP (J2.8)

  6. Merit pay system, a term that strikes fear in the hearts of incompetent teachers.This is a great idea considering that this system will encourage competitiveness among teachers and it is a good this to compete as it develops skills and talent such as the saying 'survival of the fittest'.this will eventually lead to a high quality education system that can propel our nation towards success.I definitely think it is a good idea and even though some issues may arise when this subject is debated.Quality wins.

  7. After I read the text above, I think this Merit Pay System is suitable in our education system. It attracted me as I will be a teacher after the 5 years training programme.I am excited because merit pay system will give advantages to those who are responsible in their teaching. From the text,it stated that "The only way for the teacher to motivate students is to be motivated on his own". From my point of view,it means that teachers will be motivated because of the merit pay. When they are appreciated and awarded, they may pay their full attention to progress themselves as well as their students.Besides, I believe what the text is saying because I can confirm each of us likes to be rewarded after we put our effort.This system is quite significant to those who is in the teaching profession.Furthermore,it is important because it could affect our students as well.
    In the text,I found the explanation is clear because it told us how the system is conducted. The system is based on the assessment of teachers through a lot of tests and observation(text). For me, the primary purpose of this essay is mainly to prevent the declining performance of the students and avoid the existence of the incompetence teachers. I personally feel that the text achieve its purpose because it succeeded persuading me to support this system.
    This text causes me to think about my teachers in school today.I used to have some experience regarding to this particular problem. When I was in secondary school, there was a teacher who taught me in Physics. Her class was boring and the students did not interested in her class. She came into the class and carried on her class by reading out the points which have already stated in the books without explained it probably. However, her tuition class students claimed her as a good Physics teacher because they said her teaching skill was amazing.I wondered why...Now I get my answer.It's because of "money".I think it's interesting to read as it relates to "money", which everyone loves it so much.In conclusion,as a teacher,we should consider our students' privilege. Let us lead them to a brighter future!!!Don't sacrifice our new generation!

    Chong Ai Ling (J2.8)

  8. I personally think that is really a good idea which it might increase teachers and students performance. Merit-pay system is a new system that we never have before, so it has a high probability to reform the teacher attitudes and behavior towards teaching profession. Anyway, I do feel confused to the text. That is because I don’t think that quite hard to achieve what they had plan in this particular text. Actually, I do think that the text is telling us the real side of nowadays teaching profession but it will really make a teacher busying all the day with all the series tests. Indirectly, this might lead to the relationships problems of that teacher. The topic of the text is really significant which it’s all about how merit-pay can reform or create a good teacher.
    From my point of views, I had found that the explanations are quite clear. Firstly, the author had gave an example about two teacher that have same amount years of teaching experience but they have a totally different professionalism, yet they still having same salary. From that sentences, we can clearly see that author is disagree with the teachers that getting same salary even they didn’t teach well which had shown the importance of having merit-pay system. The primary purpose of the essay is most probably wanted to give awareness to each teacher, authority and public. The essay might achieve its purpose. Overall, I do understand the essay but I don’t know how that system manages to get start.
    Lastly, I could say that the interesting thing of the essay is about money that everyone wish to have as much as they can. Thus, it will get attention from the reader or audience. There is also a clear weakness of the merit-pay system. For example, it is unfair for a teacher to get low salary if they have do they best, yet the students are not willing to learn and study. Based on my own experience, there are some teacher who is lazy even they have rich knowledge. It is meaningless for a teacher to have knowledge but they didn’t do their part as teacher. My last point, if one wishes to be a good teacher, then he/she will become a good teacher....

  9. I agree with this article that implies merit pay for teachers. It is true that not all teachers are dedicated in their job educating students. “Comparing two teachers with the same amount of years of experience and with a completely different level of “practical” professionalism makes it obvious that no matter how better or worse they are opposing each other, they will still get the same salary.” This statement has brought my interest on reading more about the article. It is unfair for teachers that are fully committed in their work to receive the same amount of salary with teachers that are not. Sadly, there are more un-committed teachers than passionate ones that are dedicated to their work.
    Merit Pay system is a system that rewards “real” teachers. This system will draw a line between those who show care and hard work and those who are not. The author has clearly state reasons of this system. The Merit Pay System itself will be “energy-booster” to teachers to perform better. The text makes readers think about the quality of today’s educators. I used to have a teacher whose life is dedicated to teaching. She is a well-rounded teacher who always motivates and helps her students. She often comes 10 minutes early before class starts because she wants to be well-prepared for her lesson. Her lessons are often interesting with exciting games. Meanwhile, there is one teacher in my school that is not dedicated at all to his work. He will shorten his lesson in the afternoon because he has to rush to teach in his tuition centre. He clearly has more fetishes in money than to educate us, his students.
    I do think that the good teacher I mentioned earlier deserves higher salary. To be a good teacher, you have to have passion in teaching. It is not about what you will get in return, it is about the effort and wisdom you showed to your students. With this system, I believe more teachers will feel appreciated and this will benefits the students.

    Nurul Najihah Bt Abd Malek
    (J 2.8)

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  11. Assalamualaikum Miss Hawa.
    Personally, I totally agree with this Merit Pay System because it will enhance teachers’ performances in order to bring up better generations in future. Recently, we always hear complains about teachers that are not doing their work as they should do. Some of them seem take things for granted. They go to school everyday, ‘talking’ in front of class, and as school finished, they leave and forget their responsibilities as a teacher. I’ve heard before about teachers who feel very proud of their certificates, but they did not realize that they are not contributing anything good in this profession. This is definitely worrying, isn’t it?
    Well, I was so excited reading this article because it is clear. I also find this article significant to us which are this teaching profession. In addition to that, I’ve got the message that writer trying to deliver to the readers. It makes me feel motivated to be a good future teacher and serve my nation. Anyhow, I believe, in everything we do, we will get the reward. Good or bad, it depends on the thing we do and did. If we do good things, then we will get good rewards back. So, I think it is fair and will not be a problem if teacher with good attitude and great performance get an extra salary at the end of every month because they work hardly for it.
    As a conclusion, as a future teacher, I agree with Merit Pay System because I think it is kind of appreciation and we should thank teachers who always care about their ‘kids’ and work hard to teach and increase the level of education in our country. I think this is one of the best ways to increase teachers’ performances in order to own a better generations that successful in every aspects, in future 

    Nur Nadia Natasha binti Mohd Manshahar (J2.8)
    IPIK Cheras.

  12. First for my critical response, I think this essay was interesting as nowadays the problem that the educational system to do the reformation in order to make the educational process maximally effective has become an issue.I feel and I believe that this topic,’Merit Pays for teacher’ will give a motivation and also a lot of advantage and benefits not only for teacher but also for the educational process especially to the students.
    Second is about my analysis which is the interpretation and evaluation about this essay. I found that the explaination in this essay is clear and the language used by the author also is easy to be understand. I also can understand what is the message the author want to deliver in this essay.Based on my reading, the author did gives the evidence to support his essay for example by giving a statistics of the increasing of teacher salaries while student achievement has declined. This shows that the educational process by teacher is not effective so the improvement should be taken by merit pay system according to concrete result presented by each teacher. In addition, the primary purpose of this essay is to introduced and expose what is actually the merit pay system for teachers and its advantages.
    Last is about my personal response. I think this essay will open people’s mind to realise the problems that the educational system face today. I think after reading this essay, our impression will changes towards a need of better education for students especially for the future generation. It also motivates me to have a good quality to become a teacher. Besides, I also agree about this merit pay system for teachers as it will motivates the teacher to be more progressive,encourage a healthy competitiveness among the teacher and give a good quality education of teaching their students. In conclusion,not only the teachers will get the benefits but students also.

    (J 2.8)

  13. I think that this text is great and i agree with the merit-pay system. The text that make i think and fell it great is "The merit-pay system becomes a "tool" to encourage teachers not only to "attend" work in order to get their stable salaries, but to come up with something new and improve their general level of performance greatly in order to be rewarded." I feel very excited because my future career is to become a teacher and I also will be rewarded with the good achievement that I have done. I here believe with the text. I also believe that this topic is significant.
    I found that the explanation was really clear. It have been shown through the text, "So the main goal of merit-pay system is to pay according to concrete results presented by each of these teachers and not by the degree and the years of experience they have." The primary purpose of the essay is that the teachers with great achievement in school should be rewarded. this essay have achieve it's purpose. There are also a lot of language and style noteworthy in this text.
    The declining of the student's result may attract the people especially their parents to know how can this happened. Through this essay, they can understand the other reason why their children got worst result. From my own experience, my former English teacher always used a new technique while teaching and that can attract the students to pay more attention to him. After the students graduated with flying colors, the teacher been rewarded and this encourage him to improve his style of teaching and level of performance.

    Mohd Nur Nelwan Bin Mohd Jasni

  14. Personal response
    “Merit Pay For Teachers”… The title itself is very catchy and I was very keen to read that particular article. It is because every time I see the word “teacher” there will be some thoughts and voices will be running in and out from my mind. This is obviously, because I am being trained to be a teacher in 5 years time. Owh yeah… Nowadays, I am preparing my soul and mind to be well trained English Language Teacher... Of course, hopefully a best teacher ever.. I was excited to read this article because of merits should be given for those who really deserve it.. Right?? I do believe and accept the facts stated in that text and it is significant for all educators and learners; where it is a chain process…
    “ Comparing two teachers with the same amount of years of experience and with a completely different level of “practical” professionalism makes it obvious that no matter how better or worse they are opposing each other, they will still get the same salary. “ Each of us have our own rights in our respective fields right??? Then how could this happen in this profession..?? Those educators who are really working very hard should be looked by the society… or at least a small appreciation in any forms should be all right… For this matter, all should support merit pay for teachers. I myself support this… Even from the very beginning, we can mark an excellent teacher with their attitude and the spirit. Bear in mind that knowledge is just a part of teaching. However, at the same time, we should not neglect that and have to make sure that we are upgrading ourselves in good ways. From here, we can clearly understand the purpose of the essay. I personally feel that, this essay have already achieved its purpose. The essay is written in a very simple manner where we can understand the language and most importantly the message in tended to send…
    Merit pay seems like very attractive and yes, it is attractive. Dear teachers, please do not show your commitment just because of the lump amount of salary. At this point, I would like to name my previous English language teacher Mrs. Yap Yoke Chin (SMK HWA LIAN, Mentakab Pahang). I salute her just for her determination, efforts, care, and commitment (etc) when she engages herself with students. For sure, we need teachers as her to build our nation and society… She is my role model. She deserves promotions and increments… I can conclude that, merit pays should given for those who really deserve it.

    By Mohana Rubban Narayanasamy
    J2.8 2011

  15. As I read, I think it is kind of text which can give me information about something that I have never think about it. At first, I feel that this text is quite difficult to understand since we do not have such thing yet in our educational system. In order to really understand the text, I have to read it several times so that I can really look up for the main issue. Although the ‘ Merit Pay’ has never been a doubt in my mind, I feel that it is quite impress me since I find that this topic can enhance my enthusiasm in this profession someday. In our context, I think this system will show a good example for us to train ourselves to study hard in order to perform in studies. It has become a good motivation for us to really focus full of commitment in whatever we do. As we know, the teacher must have their own motivation before they want to motivate their student. It is not just because of the salary itself, but the teacher should attend class because of they eager to teach their children. I believe that with this ‘Merit Pay’, the teacher also will always try to improve themselves whether sincerely or not, they still have to perform good quality as there will be an evaluation of each individual. At the beginning, I think it has become the difficult part for some teacher who does not really care about their quality to train themselves, but as time goes by, it will automatically has become their habits and then they practice it for long term.
    I find that the fact or the quotation from the well-known people help the explanation given more clear. I think the essay achieve its purpose which is to encourage teacher to improve their quality of teaching. It can also ensure that each individual of teachers must make a paradigm shift to get the best for themselves. In my opinion, I think the audience might find interesting to read if we quote the famous saying to support our topic. Therefore, I would like to relate this topic to my experience which is when I was in my secondary school. My teacher was only eager to give us tuition class if we were agreed to pay ‘money’ to him. This experience has exactly the same with the ‘Merit Pay’ concept which mostly refers to money which has lead human to perform in their life. I think as a becoming teacher, we should not be like that since we have our responsibility to teach our kids for the next generation.

    Puteri Nurellina Shafiqa Bt Rosli
    TESL PPISMP (J2.8)

  16. First of all, I feel that what the author had mentioned is a biased situation for some teachers. I felt that way because there are some teachers who were recognised for the zero effort that they contribute. Joining the education field as my future career gives me a certain excitement as I browsed through the text. I believed what the author said was right and this scenario should be look into as it has it's own significant to the education field.
    I find that the author had a clear explanations on what he wanted to deliver through all the facts and opinions given by the experts. The primary purpose of the text was to make us realize if Merit Pay system should be done or not. He achieved his purpose by made us think and make a wise desicion whether to agree or not. He said these in a very understandable language that we all can cope.
    The audience will interested on the issue that some teachers would probably lose their job if they were to performed badly. I still remember my father retirement speech where he mentioned that he hopes that teachers in the future will accept their responsibilities and it was not wrong to sacrifice a bit. At the end of the day, I think that if someone wants to become a teacher, they need to realise that they have to give out something in oder to receive a meaningful pay.

    J 2.8

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  18. helo Mdm Hawa,

    As I was reading this article, I had a mixed feeling about the topic discussed in the article 'Merit pay for teachers'. While reading the first paragraph I taught it would something that would group up the teachers into performing ones and the non-performing ones. But, after completely reading the article, I came to my consensus that this system was really focusing on evaluation and reward. A feeling of gratitude overwhelmed as I read this article because this ‘merit pay system’ provides motivation to the teachers and shows appreciation to those excellent and outstanding teachers in the field.
    The text gave a clear picture on the pros of approving this system. It gave plenty of evidence and argument to support its point. It is obvious that after reading this article everyone in the teaching profession want this system to be imposed upon teachers because besides motivating the underperforming and normal teachers to perform, it helps to those performing teachers to earn their reward thus appreciated. As it encourages teachers to perform well to be rewarded.
    Finally, if this system came to be in our country, our education system will certainly improve because our teachers will perform well n have a high motivation in order to do so.

    Maniarasan...J 2.8 =)

  19. I feel very interested as I read more about the contents of this essay. I have to be clearly honest that the topic "Merit Pays for Teacher" clearly entices me to read more.In my opinion,this new system can enhance the level of professionalism of future educators in our country. The text gave a very clear example of the importance of this system, which is comparing two educators with the same years of experience but different commitment in teaching. Being an educators is not simply teaching students, no it is beyond that.The job of an educators is to mould a society and without the presence of a reliable educators, society will experience downfall.
    From my view,the exact purpose for this system is to distinguish and differentiate teachers who are fully committed to their job from those who are not. I have read from some text which stated,"the mediocre teacher tells, the good teacher explains, the superior teacher demonstrates.".Education purpose is actually to replace an empty mind with an open one.I have teachers in my old school that clearly reflects what real teachers should be and what not-so real teachers clearly acts. I really respects my biology teacher because she always help us with our lesson. She did not want to received any extra payment for having an extra classes and she kept urging us to perform well in our studies. There are a few teacher who hardly ever seen around the school but they rather tell their students to read from certain books and do exercise on certain topics.Educators with this kind of attitudes really gave bad impression on students and society.
    I really felt that the author of this essay really care about the quality of the education system in our country. By abiding this system,teachers will be more appreciate and respected. I really support this system and will give full cooperation in order for the system to achieve it purpose.

  20. After reading the text, I feel that the merit system is a good system and a way to enhance the quality of our country teachers teaching skills. But as I go through the text, I have an argument within myself to see the pros and contras of the system as we know the system will give both positive and negative impact to our education system. As a student teacher, the text attracted me by allowing me to think about what I will face in the future as a teacher if the merit system is implanted in our education system. Will the system burden me as a teacher in the future? Or will it give me the courage to be a professional teacher?
    When reading the text, I was convinced for what the text is saying is true because of the evidence the author gave will cause the reader to believe the text. The use of the statement of the president of America Federation of Teachers (AFT) as and evidence support the idea of the text that is the merit system should be implanted in our education system in the sense of teacher teaching skills. The main purpose of the essay is to let us think about the cause or the factors that make our teacher teaching quality to decline through the year and the essay achieve its purpose by letting us to think that the merit system should be implanted in our education system.
    As the conclusion, I agree with the idea of the merit system proposed by the essay because when the system is implanted, we can predict the positive impact that will enhance our teachers teaching performance and will lead to a better generations in the future.

    By Mohd Fikri Bin Rosle