Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Day 58: BRAIN FOOD!!!

I have been asked to examine our current salary schedule and put together a few proposals for what I think it should be going forward.  This has had me thinking about our priorities when we create teacher salary schedules.

It seems to me that a salary schedule that starts high and progresses slowly is designed to recruit and retain new teachers.  A schedule that starts lower but has jumps in the middle or near the top is designed to bring in MORE teachers and reward those who stick it out.  The number of steps to reach the top of a scale is much harder to interpret.  Fewer steps could mean that the district feels mastery comes sooner or that they are trying to recruit teachers who are concerned about their pensions, or any number of other concerns.
None of these are from my current district

I know I've missed a bunch of reasons, so please don't spam my comment section listing all of the positive and negative reasons that salary schedules are created the way they are.  I am much less concerned about the ideology of teacher pay (for the purposes of this post) than I am about the mathematics of hypothetical pay scales.

What does it mean if we add $4000 to the bottom salary and increase all the others as a percentage of that?  How does that change the overall look of the pay matrix?

I love this stuff!

I whipped up an Excel sheet and started messing around.  I dropped steps off the scales, redistributed the pay jumps, changed the top and bottom caps and looked at percent increases.

I lucked out that I was given this puzzle on a day when my students were in the computer lab working on Think Through Math (our district-selected online intervention program.)  I was able to log on to one of the faster computers and play around with my spreadsheet for a significant amount of time.

So it got me thinking about how I could get my students to feel the same way about number manipulation that I do.

And I came up with no answers.

I would want them to explore and discover but I don't know how to even start them on that path.  I don't think "Open up an Excel spreadsheet and see what you can do!" wouldn't be a productive way to start that.

How much background do I need to give in order to ask them to find interesting trends?  I know they would have different interests, including sports, video games and movies and there is a wealth of cool data available to explore.

I don't even know what kind of projects would be age appropriate or how to start them.  Clearly I need to do some research into these kinds of products.

And, to be honest, the project idea was just a minor afterthought.  I just really enjoyed playing around with Excel today.

1 comment:

  1. I had a fun Excel moment yesterday. We were spending our last day before the final reviewing and (because I had done no planning) I said "give me any problem from the review packet and I'll do it on the whiteboard." One of the problems they asked me to do was this quadratic pattern and the packet asked them to find the 11th term in the sequence... uh, yeah, not doing that by hand.

    Luckily I already had my computer hooked up to the projector, so I switched from Desmos to Excel and made a spreadsheet with the term number and the pattern, added a third column for the differences and used that to populate the 2nd column. (I figured that would give Ss enough to recognize what I was doing and how it related to the pattern).

    There was much ooohing and ahhing by all.

    PS: This is Bree ( but Blogger is saying that I don't own my wordpress domain name...I hate Blogger.


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