Pay lab instructors what they deserve

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Amanda Graef

Administrators don’t understand the quality of work instructors do in labs.

At the Alamo Colleges, instructors are not paid a fair rate for labs.

A professor of biology will come in early to begin setting up materials (with any luck, they will have the help of the department’s only lab technician), ensure the proper disposal of materials and create a comprehensive lesson around the lab.

The professor will teach this lab for the majority of the school day.

Over the course of the day, professors will ensure students are following directions, answer questions, make sure students are safe, clean the classroom and then repeat the process for the next class.

For this, the professor receives hourly pay at a rate of two-thirds of their hourly pay for lecture hours.

Compensating instructors less for labs does not make any sense, and it is wrong.

Labs are offered in the sciences, fine arts, English, mathematics, reading, journalism-photography, radio-television broadcasting, foreign languages and professional technical programs.

Labs are not optional for some disciplines. For every set number of lecture hours, instructors must fulfill a certain number of lab hours.

The technical programs at St. Philip’s College are lab-intensive.

When the district refuses to fund lab hours the same as lecture hours, they are telling instructors that their time, work and lessons are valued less than those of an instructor reading from a textbook.

The advanced courses offered in this district use labs to give instruction on complex subjects, ensuring students can practice theory they are being taught in lecture.

Even in courses that can use labs as a way to help students catch up on work and ask questions about lecture materials, the work done during a lab is important.

Labs give students time to work on assignments.

They allow students who need help to get one-on-one time with their instructors.

These opportunities are not worth less than a lecture.

As of right now, the only obstacle keeping the district from raising lab pay is the required $6.7 million to do so.

Where could the Alamo Colleges, the district that approved the spending of $55 million for a new headquarters, find the money to pay for the lab hours raise?

If the Alamo Colleges want to continue to claim they put students first, they need to actually place value on the education being provided.

Find the money and correct this travesty now.


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