We have reached another year in which we celebrate the work of teachers. This is something worth celebrating as these are the people that spend most the day with us. They help to mold us into responsible, independent persons that can help to develop a sustainable society.
The day before was the Read Across Jamaica initiative, where many volunteers including corporate entities took part in reading in schools. From the reviews that I’ve seen, it was a worthwhile experience. However after the day, what next? The teachers have the task of continuing this work, encouraging persons to read, to understand the importance of reading and how far it can take you as it provides a deeper level of reasoning.
“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child”. Carl Jung
I am aware that there are teachers who have a different approach in dealing with their students, who go as far as abusing and degrading them; some of these tactics are what they believe can help the student to be better. The approach works for some students while it doesn’t for some. Every child is different and for each stage of life it gets harder to mold the minds of persons, as our experiences can affect the expected outcome.
Can you imagine having a class of minimum 20 pupils – 20 different personalities? Learning each and every student’s behaviour and learn that the way you to teach has to be adjusted, as some learn faster than some. Some need extra lessons, some miss school because of issues they’re having at home. Not to mention creating lesson plans, having to set exams and tests enabling a good pass percentage for the group, having angry parents approach you to say that their child isn’t learning and you’re the reason why. Saving a student because they are being abused by a family member and being their voice when they are not able to speak for themselves…..the list goes on.
I remember after leaving a History workshop in 6th form, we were complaining that we don’t get enough time to rest in summer and we have all this work to do. My teacher answered by saying we didn’t have much to worry about, that we were young, compared to her who had no time to rest. Balancing her marriage, newborn son, marking papers, creating new lesson plans and other things that prevented her from really enjoying her summer.
Over the years we have seen where teachers were dissatisfied with the wages that they had been receiving. Though it is a general view by many workers in our society both public and private, with some achieving the increases they want compared to other organizations.
In 2015, the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) rejected the 7% increase offered by the Government. One representative from the JTA commented:
“I believe that the average teacher – that is one who has a first degree – should go home with no less than $10,000 more after tax,” Morris outlined to The Sunday Gleaner. “The current offer would see that teacher going home with $7,000 more; that can’t even buy a tank of gas”.
From another perspective, one can assume that some of these concerns we could brush off and state that they could have taken the 7% increase as we Jamaicans would say ‘it betta dan nuttin‘. However, when considering what they have to do in molding the minds of students that spend most of their days in their presence. It would cause for anyone to want a raise of pay.
Let us continue to show some respect for the work of our teachers, who in a combined effort with the social groups we are apart of; help to mold and shape our minds to be ready for the society. Granted they may not get it right at times- cut them some slack. However let us be more appreciative of these amazing educators, advisers, mentors and coaches that have graced our presence and have made an impact in our lives.