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Letter: Higher pay isn’t enough to keep teachers

I see where Gov. Brian Kemp plans on giving school teachers a pay raise. I applaud his action and hope it will incentivize college-bound students to become teachers. I also hope it will help keep our current teachers from jumping ship.

I am of the opinion that higher salaries will help recruit new teachers, but I have my doubts as to whether or not it will make a noticeable dent in the high number of teachers leaving the profession.

I taught high school during the 1960s. The main reason I left teaching was not because of my pay — I left because the confining nature of classroom teaching was not my cup of tea.

When I started looking for a new job in 1965, I discovered that my education degree qualified me for many wonderful jobs outside the field of teaching.

When I left the teaching profession, I left with a strong premonition that a bad moon was rising.

I envisioned full-time police officers in the corridors of public high schools. Sadly, that ominous premonition from long ago has become a reality.

Oftentimes, after being on the job for a short period of time, new teachers are surprised to find out that maintaining control of a classroom is as important as knowing how to teach.

Our colleges and universities do a stellar job of preparing teachers to teach students who have a desire to learn. On the other hand, those same institutions fall short when it comes to preparing teachers to teach in a less than idealistic classroom environment.

If in the future, high school classrooms evolve into low-stress work environments — and teachers believe they have the strong backing and respect of parents and school administrators — I believe our schools will experience a sharp decline in teacher resignations. But until that happy day arrives, I fear an increase in teacher pay will not be enough to stem the flow.

Claude Diamond


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