The second incentive is the creation of a Super Teacher role. To this end, one hundred positions of 'Super Teacher' have been created, and they attract a 20% pay increase, giving these teachers an annual salary of $98,000. To earn this extra salary, they will be expected to take on a leadership role for students and other teachers. For example, they might be involved in developing new curricula for senior students or mentoring junior staff, or something similar that reflects their particular skills and interests.
Applications for these positions are expected to be heavy, and many wait with interest as to how results will pan out .The Daily Telegraph story of February 9th 2010 (link above) carried many and varied comments from the general public . Some were surprised teachers were not paid this well in any case while some didn't think any teacher was worth anywhere near that amount. Others thought the idea well overdue, while some gave an opposite view and suggested the selection process would inevitably be flawed.
There were some disturbing 'comments' as well. One compared the salary to that of our soldiers in war zones, and lamented how badly the returned armed forces personnel are treated when they arrive home, often with emotional issues. Others questioned the low value we place on teachers, when playing grounds resemble battle fields, and where bullying is rife and students need AVO's placed on them.
Well-Being Australia chairman Mark Tronson suggests that rewarding quality teachers is a very well worth while exercise. Members of his own family, like many Australians, have been teachers through the years; and he notes the strange conundrum that the (sometimes backhanded) Australian humour actually honours teachers instead of demeaning them, with the classic bumper sticker which reads: 'If you can read, thank a teacher'.
"But how does one determine who is a quality teacher?" asks Mark Tronson. "My wife, Delma, suggests that all those teachers who serve the community with educating the disabled fall automatically into the 'quality' teacher arena. But everyone will have a different criterion. There will inevitably be a keen eye on the process of selection and outcomes."
The other incentive, the renewed push to attract older professionals into the teaching profession (which was common when M V Tronson was a student, and has been 'on and off' the agenda in various formats over the past 40 years) has apparently been working very well in the United States for some years; New South Wales is now reaping the benefits of the latest version, now several years' down the track.
Many professional people have worked to their mid to late forties and decided, with good and admirable motives, to jettison their careers and give something back to the wider community.
These mature people have incentive, personal drive, commitment with integrity and a sense of overall balance. They bring their corporate nose with them, smelling a rat a mile off before class room disruptions take place. This move in M V Tronson's view is a positive step.
Theological colleges, too, are recognising the value of mature aged students. Numerous men and women have reached a decision for their lives to get off the greasy pole and offer their lives in Christian service.
Many have come to a stalemate or 'career maximum' or are just bored. They are still active and energetic, with modern ideas, yet already their are children off to university or working. They own their own homes, they have some financial security and still have twenty-five years minimum to offer the Lord in this way.
Mark Tronson reflects that, in all walks of life, our young people can benefit from the mentoring and wisdom of particularly gifted teachers as well as those with maturity and life-experience. He applauds the efforts of government and private teaching institutions such as theological colleges in helping many keen people to renew their careers in this most important of professions.