Sunday, February 10, 2013

What's in a Title?

We've gone through this before.  Time Culver wanted to be "Superintendent" instead of "District Administrator".  Now "Teachers" want to be known as "Professional Educators".  Why?  Is this more title envy?  If we make it sound better, will that ensure better pay?  And who exactly, other than teachers, believes that their pay isn't pretty darn good (except for entry level teachers)?

Actually, the national teacher organizations have done a pretty good job of selling a sob story to those in the public who take things at face value.  And there are a lot of them.  Recently we asked our favorite mini-mart du jour person (Lord only knows what THEIR title is) about teachers, (since there a a front page article about Act 10).  We asked them what they thought the average pay for a teacher is.  They answered, "Oh, teachers are like the only people that get paid less than we make here."  We replied, "Really!   How much do you think the average teacher earns".  Their answer, " I don't know...but reading the paper an listening to people talk...they can't be making very much...maybe around $20,000 to $25,000 per year?"

Boy were they blown away when we shared with them the average pay, starting salary, and amount that top shelf teachers earn.  You know what?  It wasn't really was a little anger.  They were kinda PO'd that they'd been led to believe something very different.

Give yourselves a round of applause teacher, WEAC, AFT,'ve done a great job. John Q. Public BELIEVES your hype.

We're getting caught up in some huge media hype designed to do one and only one thing: increase perceived value. Hell, we endowed redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel with the moniker  "Johnny Football" and he parlayed it into a Heisman trophy--the first ever for a "freshman".  Yeah...he did play some great football.  But the hype drove it.  Is he the next Peyton Manning?  Or will he be the next Ryan Leaf?  WE DON'T KNOW!

But we digress.back to the new title...Professional Educator".  The problem is that adding "Professional" in front of a title does not guarantee professionalism.  And having  better title doesn't make you better.  You earn respect based on what you deliver.  No smoke and mirrors; no hype.  Just pure results.

Superfoot Wallace: No black belt needed
There's an old (and true) story we like to tell bout Bill 'Superfoot' Wallace.  Google him is you like.  One of the mot accomplished martial artists in the country.  Not-so-fun factoid:  he was also John Belushi's personal trainer, the one who discovered Belushi's overdose and death.  Anyway,we  happened upon Mr. Wallace a number of years ago at a martial arts tournament.  Wallace was running a seminar before the tournament.  One of the kids asked him why if he was a black belt.  Wallace answered that he was indeed a black belt.  The child then asked that if that was so, how come he doesn't wear his black belt (Wallace wore no belt at the time).  Wallace responded that he doesn't feel the need to display a belt to declare his prowess; he believed that when people see what he is capable of, they KNOW he is a black belt.  And then he proceeded (at age 50) to put on an incredible display of power and control.  He made a studly young black belt warrior look silly in the ring.

So...before we start getting crazy with this whole Professional Educator thing, look at what we lose.

I got it bad, got it bad, got it bad,
I'm hot for Professional Educator.
---Van Halen

Well the dawn was coming,
Heard him ringing on my bell.
He said, ``My name's the Professional Educator,
That is what I call myself.
And I have a lesson
That I must impart to you.
It's an old expression
But I must insist it's true.
---Jethro Tull 

 Professional EducatorProfessional Educator, can you professionally educate me?
Can you tell me all I need to know?
Professional EducatorProfessional Educator, can you reach me?
Or will I fall when you let me go?
Oh no.
---38 Special 

Professionally educate 
your children well
Their father's hell
Will slowly go by
---Graham Nash 

There once was a Professional Educator of great renown
Whose words were like the tablets of stone
Because it's easier to learn than unlearn
Because we've passed the point of no return
Gather your goods and follow me
Or you will surely die
--Paul Simon