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Letter to the Editor: Teachers have needs beyond high salaries

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

To the editor:

A Jan. 14 article reported that local districts are having difficulty attracting and retaining teachers who are the cream of the crop and that low salaries are the reason. Although pay is a factor, most people enter education knowing it will not be a gold mine. Instead, they choose the career because they enjoy working with young people, are interested in a particular subject or generally believe in the importance of a strong educational system. For most, it is some combination of all three. If school districts are to attract and retain enough high-quality teachers, they must create an environment that facilitates these goals.

Teachers are concerned with more than salary. They ask questions like: Will the size of classes allow me to give the individual attention students deserve? Will the schedule allow enough time for planning, evaluation and collaboration? Will I be allowed the professional freedom and time needed to create and implement new approaches to helping students learn? Does the administration encourage loyalty?

We can draw and retain some of the best and the brightest. Intelligent, innovative, enthusiastic people are attracted to environments where those traits are prized and nurtured.

DARYL FRIDLEY

Teacher

Central High School

Cape Girardeau