Friday, January 11, 2013

Working in Education

Image courtesy of Kelly Alexandra Williams

We have all heard the old adage “people do not work in education for the money”; however, there is a difference between working in K12 and higher education and working in administration for both sectors.

With K12 teaching, you are always on the go, you have lesson plans, you are dealing with kids emotions, parents etc. Personally, while I found it exhilarating and exhausting at the same time, the feeling of accomplishment to me was instantaneous. I never had the opportunity to experience K12 administration first hand, but my impression is that it is a juggling act where if you grab the wrong piece at the wrong time you can either get cut badly, or be the greatest showman on the earth (or at least the block) by juggling correctly.

Higher education teaching has obviously changed, with tenure going the way of the dinosaurs. However, the pressure to be noticed either by publishing or getting excellent student reviews (aka being popular) is still there. In addition, there is no guarantee of a full time job with benefits anymore and adjuncts are being asked to do more and more work for free, and often for multiple schools in order to make ends meet. Higher education administration, unlike K12, has no credentialing process or specific training. Often times, administrators are selected from long standing faculty, randomly, and unfortunately, we are also seeing cases of ‘pseudo nepotism’ as well. With universities running leaner and leaner nowadays, the reward for being a good higher education administrator means more work.

Yes, people do not get into education for the money, but they do want to be ‘fairly compensated’, and have a good work life balance. Surveys might show that folks are passionate about working in education, but people do not always answer surveys honestly. It is ok to work in education and want to be paid well for the work you do, it is ok to work in education and take vacations, have sick days when you need them, and generally be human. You should not be rewarded for your hard work, with more work.

A better balance will make you a better educator, and that is always better for the students.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

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