Saturday, April 12, 2008

You can judge how much we care by how much we'll pay

Slideshow: Yahoo! covers the salaries of individuals from all walks of life.

Does anyone know how accurate this is? I mean, okay, celebrities get paid millions of dollars. I get that. But how do a tow-truck driver, a farmer, a hospital clown (I don't even know what that is), and a psychic, along with everyone else on the list, each get paid more than a preschool teacher?

I guess you always hear about how little teachers make, but it kind of hurts to look at the actual numbers.

We were having a discussion over dinner last night about why reporters feel that it's all right to make stuff up, completely pull "news" and "evidence" out of their asses. For example: the current media coverage of Tibet, where it's apparently all right to use pictures of Nepalese police and pretend that they're the Chinese military putting down Tibetans. Oh, and since we can't read Chinese, we'll just ignore the red cross on this ambulance, and use it as proof of the "heavy military presence in Lhasa".

Where did reporters learn to do this? Think about all the essays you've BS-ed: the professor wants you to cite just one more source, but you don't have one more source, but you do have good old Google. Or he wants you to strengthen your evidence with a quote, and it would be so convenient to just ask your roommate to say a word or two. You think it's going to be any easier when it's your job rather than your grade on the line? When it's your boss asking you to get some shocking photos to make the news more vivid? When it's hundreds of potential readers tossing your paper in the trash because there's nothing sensational on the front page?

In times of duress, we fall back on old habits. I wonder if people really get the fact that today's children are tomorrow's leaders, journalists, and yes, teachers. In just a few short decades (less?), we're going to be the ones who are calling the shots in this country, based on the truths that we report, the pictures that we've taken and the words that we write. You and me. We're going to be discovering the laws of nature and passing the laws of man. We're going to be going to war for stupid reasons or sitting on our behinds while other countries genuinely need our military help. We're going to be the ones in charge. Do you feel ready for this?

Tomorrow is being shaped today, and still we pay our teachers pennies. Damn, if I were a teacher and I knew how little my country valued me, I don't know how I'd keep going to class every day with a smile on my face. I'd quit, I'd never take it seriously, because by the time my preschoolers were old enough to screw over the country, at least I'd be long gone.

5 comments:

child of a farmer said...

farmers should make more than all of the above, because half of the time they're working 24 hours a day and it's still not enough.

Anonymous said...

Is that post really linking to Chinese propaganda? If you want to defend Chinese occupation of Tibet, do so openly...

Lillian Zhou '11 said...

I don't particularly want to defend the Chinese occupation of Tibet, openly or otherwise; I merely think that sloppy checking of facts is detrimental to both sides of the debate.

Anonymous said...

Low teacher salaries may reflect undervaluation of their work, but they also may well have to do with low standards for becoming a teacher, and the effects of unionization - you essencially can't give any merit pay, and you can't fire bad ones.

Yi said...

I don't think this has anything to do with Chinese propaganda. And I think one would need a completely revamped definition of "occupation" if you want to wrongly apply the term to China and Tibet.