Mission-Based Teacher Compensation

Establishing a faculty compensation system and salary delivery method is a challenge for any independent or international school especially since the goals of teachers, boards, and heads are not always in sync. The first step is to assess the present health of the faculty culture and the basic level of trust placed in the school’s administration. This serves as the context for all future decisions about faculty compensation going forward. The next step is to analyze the current salary system and importantly, the underlying message that it sends to faculty. What is the basic philosophy behind the school’s current system and why did the system evolve in the way that it did? Also, does the system benefit any specific age group or experience level above another? Next, it is important to scrutinize the ways in which some faculty members attempt to maneuver around the current compensation system in order to earn extra pay. These include taking on titles that boost pay but may not really represent additional work that is commensurate with the extra pay: stipends for additional responsibilities (small and large); and tutoring (a “cottage industry” in some schools). After all of these contributing factors are considered, it is time to plan for future changes in compensation structures and delivery systems. The faculty compensation planning process should involve faculty members, board members, and administration. Discussions should never push towards a preconceived outcome but instead, work towards change that satisfies the needs and goals of all parties.