Saturday, July 02, 2011
Merit pay for Teachers: A Chinese Student’s perspective
This essay was written by 地藏王菩萨, one of the students in the English Cultural Studies Class I taught here in Weihai. As America considers how to evaluate and reward its teacher, we would do well to pay attention to this student’s perspective, which grows out of a culture that expects more of its students and offers its teachers much more respect than do we.
A school often gives its students the deepest impression in their life because not only did it broaden students’ sights by education, but teachers’ influences on students as well. Nowadays some individuals hold the idea that teachers should be paid according to how much their students learn. Frankly speaking, I consider this kind of behavior not a well informed decision.
Salaries that people earn are decided by people’s performances. Teachers are no exception. How much money teachers can get should equal how much efforts teachers make. In this case, by evaluating the amount of knowledge that students get to decide salaries of teachers sounds reasonable; however, there are some problems if this plan is carried out.
First and foremost, it is not fair for teachers if they are only judged by students. Everyone’s energy is not infinite, which means after a period of time of studying, students are likely to be lethargic and tiredness so that they do not want to study anymore even if they know the importance of studying. In this case, although teachers have tried their best to teach students knowledge as much as they can, some students cannot learn more. Thus, students might get lower marks. Marks is an crucial part deciding how much students learn and how much money teachers can get. It’s obviously not teachers’ responsibilities that students cannot get high marks because teachers have already devoted themselves to their career.
Also, how much students learn cannot be truly evaluated. Is the school’s performance the only way to decide a student’s knowledge? We cannot simply give children a test to discover how much they have learned in a class. Tests rarely measure one’s social skills, one’s ability to communicate, or one’s ability to integrate successfully into the world. Thus, it is not a wise idea to think that teachers should be paid according to the amount of knowledge students learn.
To sum up, because of unfairness of teachers and not being able to measure how much students learn, the fact that teachers’ salaries are depend on the amount of knowledge students learn is not advisable.
Below: The students I taught this summer in Weihai
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