Because you're worth it!

Any teacher who has never worked outside of education, please look away now. This post will probably cause you annoyance and anger. It's one of those smug posts that tells the "I've never left the school" teacher to look beyond their own horizons.

I'll keep it short and sweet because opportunity is best served that way.

I have had a variety of jobs. As such I feel quite well qualified to say that teachers need to look at what happens in the real world (the one that we get most of our pupils ready for). I know that you will consider me as betraying teachers with my message. But the hard fact of the matter is this: education needs to change. Teachers need to embrace change. The status quo is not working for a large section of pupils in the UK.

There are proposals to change the way that teachers are paid. The introduction of performance related pay (PRP) has been met, almost exclusively on Twitter, with opposition. So here is my story.

I became a Sub Post-Master (SPMR) in 1994 when I bought a Post Office. I was, I believe, the youngest Sub Post-Master in the UK at that time (I was 21 years old). As such I had a huge amount of energy compared to the "typical" Post-Master and Post-Mistress (average age 55). The Post Office salary (actually renumeration) was based on the volume of business transacted the previous year. As such there was a huge delay between your hard work and greater financial reward. The flip side was that you could run the business down in year 1 if you were planning on leaving it in year 2. In about 1995 the Post Office brought in a PRP proposal. The SPMR federation (the union) were up in arms! Each SPMR was to be given 2 monthly payments. An Assigned Office Payment (AOP) of about 60% of one-twelfth of your renumeration in 1995 then a PRP amount based on the volume of business transacted in the previous month.

At last there was a way to reward those hard-working SPMRs. I couldn't wait for it to be brought in.

It was brought in. My salary went up 50% in one year! It also went up every year after that. I was attracting new customers to my post office. I wanted them to keep coming back. So the level of service that they received from me was, in all honesty, excellent.

Of course these customers weren't all new Post Office customers. They had been to other Post Offices but once they were with me I hoped that they were satisfied enough to keep coming back. This meant that other Post Offices probably lost business. However these bigger Post Offices were receiving an AOP that was quite substantial so they wouldn't have noticed the loss of these customers at first.

Eventually they did.

They had a choice to make. Either improve or continue to lose customers to a neighbouring Post Office. Thankfully for me they didn't do that so I kept increasing my turnover. As I also had a shop attached to my Post Office this increased footfall brought in extra sales. I was in clover!

Once the Post Office gave SPMRs the chance to be quickly rewarded for their entrepreneurial spirit I'm sure many of them seized the chance. At the time of the introduction of PRP I know that customer satisfaction rose considerably across the country. For me, the introduction of PRP makes a business owner more likely to behave in a way that benefits the customer.

This is a good thing!

I hope that the great teachers in the UK get the chance to be rewarded for the great work that they do on a day to day basis. As a teacher who has worked outside of school I wonder if I have an unfair advantage over my colleagues? I understand that you need to adapt. I understand that you have to be "customer facing". I understand that just doing the least amount to get by isn't acceptable.

I don't imagine that only teachers with industry experience will seize the opportunity to be rewarded for their great work. I'm sure there as many dangers as there are opportunities regarding the introduction of PRP for teachers. Given the desire of Michael Gove to challenge many aspects of the  working conditions of teachers, I can understand the reluctance to accept any proposal from him. But it would be a great opportunity for the best teachers to be financially rewarded for their excellence in the classroom.