Wednesday, 13 February 2008


I got a letter in today's SMH.

Teachers' pay is only a small part of the picture

Karin Wiese's views on teachers (Letters, February 12) reek of snobbery. I have seen good, bad, intelligent and average teachers at every level of the education system. The best and brightest are not in it because they want money or social standing, but because they love children and learning. By all means pay teachers better, but money and social standing cannot buy altruism, and that is what underlies great teaching.

Gordon Cheng, Kingsford

More to be said, of course. Real altruism is a work of the Holy Spirit, but I can't remember when he was allowed to slip into the letters page last.

The letter I'm responding to is the first one here.


Grosey's Messages said...

ahh but is altruism a christian virtue?
"Does Job serve God for naught?"
Is there pleasure in serving God?
Is there no reward for serving God?
Shouldn't we love and joy in serving God? Deut 28:46 These curses will be a sign and a wonder against you and your descendants forever. 47 Because you didn’t serve the Lord your God with joy and a cheerful heart, even though [you had]an abundance of everything,
Should Christian teachers be committed to educational objectives out of altruistic motives, or because it brings glory to the God they love? And they loave and rejoice in Him because He IS the God of grace mercy and peace.
And the hairy chestnut of Christian educators :"Is the reward truly in the task or is it in the pleasure we bring God through accomplishing the task?"
All of that to question the veracity of one word : "Altruism"
(and also to tell you who is the fella who visits your web page regularly but never comments)
I Always enjoy the good common sense read here.

Ben said...

Yeah, Gordo. You're right, but we have to live in the real world. I think she's right on target.

Increasing pay (and thus social standing) among teachers might get more quality people over the line, combining with their desire to do something good for the community.

Gordon Cheng said...

Thanks for the comments Steve and Ben.

Steve, I love first time commenters! Welcome.

Ben, that's true too. But Christians have more reason than most to accept low pay and low social standing, in order to show the grace of God. I'm not saying that they should, or that they should have to, but then that is the nature of grace isn't it. As any ex-MTSer knows! ;-)

One Salient Oversight said...

Giving students cash rewards based upon their school performance is my solution. Apart from anything else, students will shut up and listen in class, making it better for teachers to teach and for their skills (or lack of them) to be shown.

Gordon Cheng said...

Oh, and Steve, isn't altruism another word for 'grace'? gives me this:

the principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others

as a definition for 'altruism', and it would seem to double as a definition for the idea of grace, at least as God shows it to us in Christ.

So this behaviour seems altruistic to me:

Rom. 5:6   For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

[bold mine]

Grosey's Messages said...

mmm yes, but the prospect of our showing grace to others is entirely dependant upoin God's grace shown forst to us, and our reception of it..
1John 4:19 We love because He first loved us.

I'll meet your Romans 5 and raise you another Romans 5:

1 Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Also through Him, we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, 4 endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. 5 This hope does not disappoint, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Are we expected to be entirely altruistic ion our relationship with God? (I think this is Piper's thesis in "Desiring God.") uh oh.. now we are quoting secondary authorities.. this could become positively Aquinias! :)