Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Friday, 18 January 2008

Bush Bonuses

From Justine Ferrari, Education writer, in Today’s Oz –

From Justi

Aboriginal leader Noel Pear­son is embarking on an ambitious plan to recruit experienced teach­ers and the brightest university graduates to teach in the most disadvantaged indigenous com­munities by offering performance-linked incentives of up to $50,000 a year. Called Teach for Australia, the program developed by Mr Pear­son's Cape York Institute with Macquarie University in Sydney aims to raise funds largely from the private sector to install 500 high-quality teachers in four remote schools. The first ap­pointments will be made in Cape York and the Northern Territory.

Noel Pearson has obviously been reading my blog. I posted this amongst a list of suggestions in November last year –
“Provide realistic bonuses for teachers who work in difficult and challenging situations. I’m talking thousands monthly.”
Noel isn’t mucking about – he’s talking over $4000 per month. It would probably work, providing the cash bonus is matched by the provision of secure air-conditioned accommodation and some kind of guarantee of mentoring and peer support. Based on my own (admittedly out-of-date) experience in remote communities, teachers would initially be attracted by the salary package, but you could pay $100000 a year, and it wouldn’t be enough if daily existence wasn’t physically secure and professionally satisfying. Very few teachers will continue to teach if they know in their hearts that they’re not being successful. This means that the blessed trinity (appropriate compensation in the shape of a good salary, professional and personal support, and a better than even chance of being able to make a difference) has to be in place. The pic shows a school building at the time I was working in the North-West in the mid-nineties. I can't remember its name.

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