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Who Serves Who?

December 21, 2007

News about striking teachers is nothing new.  We often see these headlines here in the United States.  One recent strike I have been tracking is the “lecturer strike” in Israel.  Figures show that two-thirds of the lecturers at Hebrew University have been on strike.  For students this means that 10 of 13 weeks of study has been lost. 

While many students have resolved to withdraw from the University and attempt studies again in the next term there remains great dissatisfaction over the situation. 

The question I pose as an educator myself relates to the reason that I teach.  Why teach?  A simple question.  Is there a simple answer?  Certainly, I agree for the most part that the money paid to teachers for service rendered is lacking.  This is particularly true when considering the national pay scale in light of the time it takes a person to get an education and the cost expended for it.  So, I ask again, the above question!  Why teach?  What are the priorities?  Personal wealth or helping others?

If a person becomes a teacher he or she must consider all the benefits received.  When a person goes into education; specifically teaching, there are many personal rewards.  Not all rewards are tied to personal monetary gain.  Not all wealth is measured in dollars and cents!  Personal gain and wealth may be personal gratitude and the feeling that a fellow human being has been assisted in maximizing their potential in life. 

Sure, I agree that everyone deserves to receive sufficient money to live on and to compensate for their job, however this should be a “wholistic” compensation analysis.  To be fair in assessing this subject I must confess that for years I have always been ready for a raise and greater income.   I suppose “making more money” is part of our human nature, or at least part of American culture.  But truly, isn’t there more to defining wealth and success in life.  Sure, I like money and material “things”.  But the personal satisfaction I receive when a “long past student” calls my name out in a crowd and says “thank you” is a bonus of such wealth that is immeasureable.

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