Re: Working for love.

Albert Lamb (
Tue, 31 Mar 1998 08:27:04 -0500

I do think this is a very interesting discussion. When Peter Kyng (who
started this with his contribution from his son Tim's e-mail address) was
at Summerhill the school had been going for twenty years so the low pay for
the staff was not connected to the school starting up.

When schools first open their doors everyone makes a sacrifice because of
the nature of things but over time these issues may have to be reexamined.
A culture where adults are expected to give more than they can afford will
run into difficulties, even if the school can always find new recruits to
give of themselves for a while in this manner.

Yesterday I applied for a teaching job in a therapeutic community here in
England for highly disturbed boys. The money is livable but the hours are
harsh, 65 hours a week. 10 hours a day three days a week, 14 for two and 8
more on Sunday. They are taking for granted that people are going to do
this work with a sense of vocation and really for their own therapy.

So I guess money is not the only issue. Time is another one.

I personally believe you need a long term core group of staff to keep your
community healthy and they will need a set up that allows them to be really
mature adults, which includes some financial security. Empowering children
democratically can leave the adults feeling disempowered and passive at the
best of times if there isn't some care taken. There really needs to be a
healthy adult culture.

But it is a hard thing because there often just isn't any money. The long
term danger to be watched out for is the staff wages being kept low as a
means of control. This may not be a danger in Sudbury style schools where
there is no chief administrator holding the reigns.