The greatest reward from teaching is the satisfaction of contributing to both the cognitive and personal development of our children and youth.
I doubt whether any teacher would claim monetary reward as the prime motivation for what they do.
However, teachers should rightly expect to be adequately remunerated for the important tasks they undertake. So the question is do we pay our teachers enough?
In Victoria, a university graduate in his or her first year of teaching is currently paid $56,985. The salary structure for teachers provides steady annual increments rising to $84,056 after 10 years of teaching experience.
Beyond this, leading teacher positions are available in most schools and currently attract a salary of $91,883.
The Victorian government's current offer to Victorian teachers, which includes a further 2.5 per cent annual salary increase and a performance bonus available to 70 per cent of teachers, would see the earning potential for graduate teachers rising to almost $66,000 a year and that of leading teachers to more than $103,000 a year.
In addition to this, many teachers are paid school based allowances for co-ordination and other areas of responsibility.
The proposed performance based pay structure would clearly make Victoria's best performing teachers the best paid in Australia.
Even without performance pay, Victorian teachers' salaries compare well with those in other states when conditions including teaching hours and class sizes are taken into consideration.
It should not be forgotten that while the AEU has walked away from EBA negotiations, the government remains actively engaged with the Australian Principals Federation.
Under the government's proposals, the earning potential for principals under a new agreement is in the order of $175,000 a year.
Wednesday's strike by the AEU is based on the belief that teacher salaries are too low.
The facts above are presented for readers to form their own views on this matter.
Minister Responsiblefor the Teaching Profession