Are Teachers Being Effectively Compensated for the New Way of Learning?

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Kimani Dodd, Staff Writer

    As the clock ticked towards the last minute of 2019, no one could have expected what the first few months of the new decade would bring. At the end of 2019 COVID-19 had already started to spread, but it reached a magnitude that no one could have expected. As schools were supposed to be preparing for the final months of the year, they found themselves switching to digital learning in an effort to promote quarantine. With schools being closed and teachers being forced to transition into online school, it raises an important question: Are teachers being efficiently compensated? I believe the ultimate answer is no. 

  Since news first broke that schools will be closed, teachers have had to scramble to make lesson plans and get everything in order. Hannah Klumpe, a seventh grade South Carolina social studies teacher, said, “Teachers all went to school. We created lesson plans in like 12 hours. So 10 days of lesson plans in a day essentially. We had to be prepared to launch these lesson plans by Wednesday & start doing full on e-learning, which our kids had never done before without us” (npr.org). However, not every family has computer and internet access. So in addition to making lesson plans, teachers had to hand out hundreds of computers & Wi-fi hotspots. You may think that being home is easier for teachers, but this is actually not the case. Teachers devote a lot of time making instructional videos and responding to students’ questions via email. There are some kids who have trouble typing or using technology, so teachers have to spend extra time coming up with solutions to this. Ann Herbert, a special education teacher from Missouri, decided to send packets home so these kids can still access valuable information (npr.org).  Teachers are doing whatever they can to stay in touch no matter how much time it may take. Due to all their efforts, teachers should be getting an increased paycheck. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. Florida governor Ron Desantis had requested $602 million for teachers and additionally $300 million for teacher bonuses. However, lawmakers only budgeted 500 million: $100 million for veteran teachers and $400 million to boost starting teacher pay. 

  The issue of online learning is a stressful and unprecedented one for both students and teachers alike. And while most teachers devote hours to working outside of school anyways, they now have to put in extra hours to combat challenges, keep in touch with students and parents, and make sure everyone’s accommodations are met. They’ve had to adjust to online school quickly with no prior training, leading them to have to develop a new skill set. With this in mind, it is only reasonable for them to have increased compensation.