[Beowulf] (no subject)

Kevin Ball kball at pathscale.com
Mon Jan 30 16:02:48 PST 2006

One thing to note here is that the pay scales in IT are at least
somewhat merit based.  If you do very well, you will climb the pay
scales.  In teaching, they are largely seniority based.  You get put on
a certain initial starting point based on how much schooling you have,
and then your pay rises incrementally.

  I think Milton Friedman put it best when he said (in Capitalism and
Freedom) "Poor teachers are grossly overpaid and good teachers grossly

This has the effect of creating a great discrepancy in teaching... there
are the few who are truly driven to become teachers, and become so
regardless, and there are the many who are unable to make a better
salary somewhere else.  The first are the saviors of our education
system, and are grossly underpaid.  The latter are hiding from
capitalism and the idea that one has to be competent to be paid well,
and are what drives student after student (including myself in high
school) to hate subjects that by all rights are fascinating.

  We end up driving away everyone in the middle, those who are competent
but not so driven to be teachers that they will ignore all else.  If you
were someone who was smart and talented, would you rather work in a
system driven by seniority, or one where your intelligence and talents
would be recognized by promotions, raises, and competition for your


> You're right.. you'll climb the scales faster in IT than in 
> teaching.  However, folks who teach do it for the love of it, not for the 
> money, so probably, it's not so much that you can earn a better living 
> being an SA than a teacher, but that the career path for the average IT 
> person doesn't encourage teaching as a profession.  I'll bet the average CS 
> curriculum doesn't have much content in the "how to teach others to do 
> computer" area, especially when the teaching target is rookies or 4th 
> graders (CS grad students do discussion sections for undergrads, but 
> that's, I'm sure, viewed as penance, dues paying, or something 
> similar).  Likewise engineering, etc.
> Hah.. maybe this is the solution to the world's problems, here on the 
> Beowulf list:  it's not that we need writing classes, or teamwork classes, 
> or more calculus, etc., it's that we need to encourage more engineering 
> majors to take up teaching as a job, as opposed to being money grubbers 
> chasing VCs.

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