During our first three years of being a “Level Four School,” we had something waved in front of us called the TIF- Teacher Incentive Fund. It involved teachers getting paid a bit more who taught in urban level four schools. The aim of it wasn’t to attract teachers to these schools or to reward those committed to them. The TIF was connected to teachers and support staff reaching certain goals, mostly based on teacher attendance and if it was done you got a rather nice check.
Of course, I’m going to talk about the issues that occurred with an at first reasonable sounding idea.
#1: When TIF time came around, we were called to the office to get our checks. Some people didn’t get their checks. It wasn’t a good time. I remember once our school adjustment counselor, an extremely overworked staff member who still did wonders in literally saving the lives of our students, no exaggeration, didn’t get the check. It wasn’t right and it wasn’t a good feeling for anyone.
#2: Like all of these other strategies, “TIF” money wasn’t long term. It wasn’t sustainable. It was to try to get us out of a bad situation as a school quickly. After two or three years the funding for that was gone which is dumb because teachers in my district didn’t get paid enough.
#3. There are other incentives to think about. I cared so much about my job that I would have by passed on that check to have systems in place where I could have possibly reached success at my job. Many other teachers might have strangled me for saying so. So many of my colleagues badly needed that money.
So yeah, Hunger Games for teachers.