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Education, Pay Issues, Performance Pay for Teachers

Why do teachers not want performance pay?

Oh, well that’s easy enough – because it doesn’t work.  In fact, it is counter-productive.  There, that’s that done.

Wait!  What?  You want more?  Dagnabbit, will I never get to my chores? Okay here goes…


thrree chutes only - teamwork

– Performance pay creates barriers to teamwork and creativity – both absolutely essential in teaching.

– Performance pay is difficult to measure – faulty systems for judging who is/is not a good teacher are very destructive.

– Performance pay takes no account of factors outside the control of the teacher.

– Performance pay motivates employees to focus only on doing what they need to do to gain the rewards, at the expense of doing other things that would help their students, the school, and the system as a whole.

– Performance pay is a barrier to teamwork and collegiality, meaning teachers are less likely to ask for help or share best practice.

– Performance pay has a destructive effect on intrinsic motivation.

– Performance pay has negative effects on workers’ self-esteem.

In other words, it stands in the way of the very things schools need to work well.


This fabulous video will explain precisely why performance pay is not a good motivator.  Watch it, it’s fun as well as informative:

So there you are – people are motivated to do what they enjoy, what they know will make a difference.  Performance pay is not the way to go.


What would work better is respect for and trust in the teachers, listening to them, discussing with them how schools can improve, using their expertise to make things better than they are.



In other words

– no carrot,

– no stick,

– but instead, more of a bring-a-plate pot luck dinner, where we all share our best dishes.

Like we tell our students – teamwork and co-operation are great things.



About Save Our Schools NZ

"One needs to be slow to form convictions, but once formed they must be defended against the heaviest odds." Gandhi


8 thoughts on “Why do teachers not want performance pay?

  1. What a superb piece of writing Dianne, and you have really nailed it! Thank you.


    Posted by Alison | March 6, 2014, 12:48 pm
  2. Very well put Dianne, I have shared this with all my staff. The video is well worth watching too. Thanks Donna


    Posted by Donna Harper | March 8, 2014, 8:08 am
  3. Lack of performance pay rewards mediocrity – most jobs reward exceptional work so why should teachers be any different? I’ll bet there’s quite a few teachers who resent their less able colleagues receiving the same salary as them.


    Posted by Mark | March 14, 2014, 10:40 am
  4. Great piece which clearly sets out the divisive effects of PP. It’s increasingly hard however to communicate the benefits of collaboration and collegiality with so many of our social systems – and our curriculum – rewarding the success of the individual.
    You are doing a wonderful job -love reading your posts.


    Posted by Gaenor Stoate | September 26, 2014, 6:17 pm


  1. Pingback: The Problem With Performance Pay for Teachers « The Daily Blog - March 8, 2014

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