Well, that was interesting. I just finished checking to see how much more or less money all my colleagues are making compared to me. This led me to make snap judgments about whether or not they deserved it and determine how much I should resent them if they made more. I thought about how early each arrived, how much they contributed to the district in labor or intellect, how dedicated I thought they were, and then it spiraled even lower from there (although that doesn't seem possible). I was much more likely to become a team player when I was ignorant of what others earned. Now I can’t unsee the wages of those people who earn more than I for whatever reason. Oddly, I was happier with my pay before I saw this darn public revelation. While I think some are getting way more than they deserve, relatively, I don't necessarily whine for more. Being brought up in a middle class, with northern European roots I’m very satisfied with my salary, and live with the constant understanding that I don’t deserve it and I’m just lucky to be working at all.
I also wonder why some of our teachers with great ideas, sincere dedication, great innovation and enthusiasm are offered so little when they sign on. Although I don’t agree with merit pay per se, I don’t think that sitting in the same lunchroom spot every day for 30 years makes you deserving of more pay than someone so new that they didn't know there was a seating chart. No wonder people leave the teaching field.
I know that because our pay is related to taxes and schools supported by the community, we seem like special cases but I don't know where to find the wages of the bagger down the street who smashed my bread and let me take two eggs home that were already broken. I'm not sure how much my doctor makes. It's not posted under his installation of diplomas. I've been under his knife twice now and still have the same problem I went to him for. Maybe it's related to his salary, although he does have monograms on his sleeves that match his real initials.
Maybe Shorewood should post everyone’s pay stub on this website or gross income could be printed in the yearly phone book right underneath individual names and addresses. Think about what a difference maker that would be! We would have to change our opinions about people immediately. The nice people would seem even nicer if we discovered they make six digits and the first one isn’t a 1. How would our brains wrap around the ideas of people who seem to operate just fine on less than a living wage? Even the term “living wage” seems to imply that any amount under that number brings only death.
I’m not sure we all deserve the same pay. There are clearly variances. Just as students aren’t all the same, either are all teachers. I think the guy across the hall should get more money than I because he’s much more on top of technology. He is the one who sets up, trouble shoots and instructs the rest of us on something we should be able to do on our own if we think we’re so smart. Maybe pay should be on a sliding scale, changing bi-monthly as it reflects our worth and contribution during that pay period. We can collect points, stickers or good notes from the principal who will keep track of the best and the rest.
I see why merit pay is such a complicated issue.
So if you want to feel what public employees feel, put a yard sign up in front of your house with your wages on it. I can guarantee you will feel something.