Tuesday, April 03, 2007

What's it all about?

I didn’t want to let days pass without commenting on “Fanboy’s” thoughts about my post regarding Intel CEO Paul Otellini’s 2006 compensation of $6.18 million.

I had estimated the amount made him “worth” 123.6 teachers.

Fanboy first justified Otellini’s pay by noting that he leads Intel’s 95,000 employees and guides the corporation’s worldwide influence. “Intel's products form the backbone of virtually every industry that has anything to do with technology - industries that you and I depend on daily for information, communication, entertainment, transportation, financial transactions, etc.”

By that standard, what should we be paying the CEO of the United States: George W. Bush, or more realistically, Dick Cheney?

For the record, and comparison, Bush makes $400,000; Cheney makes $208,100. Both get substantial expense accounts, health coverage and room and board for themselves and their spouses.

They manage. Are they "worth it"? Let's not go there....

Fanboy then says, “The average teacher has far less influence, far less experience, and far less responsibility than Intel's CEO.”

Note the word “average,” whatever that means. I consider myself an “average” teacher (to the extent that any teacher can be considered
average”), but I’m told I’ve had a share of influence on my students. And as experienced as I am, each day holds a new experience, as I’m sure Mr. Otellini would agree.

As I teacher, I see my responsibilities as preparing my students for life. In a sense, if they fail, I fail. No small responsibility.

And what about success? I asked in my original post: How much responsibility do teachers have for Mr. Otellini’s? What part of his pay does he (or any of us) derive from the efforts of our teachers, or for that matter, the teachers of Intel’s employees?

Of course there are several “above average” teachers who have had a much greater influence than Mr. Otellini or Intel or any of us will ever have.

Christ, Thoreau, Gandhi, Sister Theresa, the Buddha and St. Francis are just a few of the legendary ones. All of them, by the way, chose poverty over wealth in order to discover and share vast truths that eclipse Otellini’s and Intel processors.

Fanboy’s quantitative, bottom-line approach ignores, as I confess I did, a larger question: What’s it all about?

Money? Fame? A fourth house — on the Riviera or in Aspen? A yacht? A third Ferrari stashed in a multi-car garage?

Or is it about a walk in the woods, freedom, a well of potable water, a child’s life, or the Sermon on the Mount?

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