TEACHERS: JAMAICA’S BEATING STICK?

18 May

WHAP! WHAP! WHAP!  That’s the sound of the *subble- jack been levied on ‘back’ the teaching profession.

In this institution of Education, the whimpy teachers try their best but it is never good enough. They continue to be bullied by the bullies of this ‘school’-government of Jamaica.  It is just sad. The teachers cry out! They scream yet their voices continue to be unheard. They are sick and so tired of the beating.   Filled with scars and bruises from the whip of society, teachers continue to press on.     When these bullies decide to levy a beating, they come harmed with assortment of weapons: low performance, too much holidays; support from the public; pay them by performance; they are not qualified….and the list continues.  As they pile these weapons up, the teachers are placed in a “circle” and are whipped mercilessly!!    Despite all the beatings, with scars and bruises, they continue to do the best they can with the basket they are given to carry the water.

WHAP! WHAP!  That is the sound of the most recent set of lashes.  These lashes from the recent pronouncement by the Minister of Education to suspend study leave with pay for teachers which has sparked severe controversy and outrage among the nation teachers.  This he claims is a condition under the standby agreement with the IMF.    How ludicrous. The whimpy teachers were asked to agree to a wage freeze along with other public sector workers which they did. Throughout the negotiations, there was  ‘P.T. A’ meeting (communication through media) to inform the nation of this arrangement.   Now like general King Kong, our dear Minister of education who is the Principal of this institution call education announced the revocation of the ONLY benefit that teachers receive.

 

THE NEVERS OF THE SYSTEM

It is really sad that the blame for the low performance of the nations’ children is levied solely at the feet of teachers;  I have never heard society come out and lobby for parents to become more active players in their children’s education;  I have never heard society lobby for the ministry of education to provide the schools with more resources; I have never heard society lobby that the ministry engage the institutions that are responsible for training our teachers; Most importantly, I have never heard lobby for the ministry of education policy makers  to assess themselves as MOST of what happens in the school have to be sanctioned by the Ministry of Education.

Wouldn’t this be interesting

THE UGLY TRUTH

Most teachers colleges only offer teacher training to the diploma level. It therefore means if teachers need a first degree they would have to attend another university. Most of these universities offer education courses during the day. At that time our teachers will be in class teaching the same children who belong to these government officials.  The universities that offer courses in the afternoon are not quite accessible to some teachers who live in some very rural parts of the island.   I will agree that a number of off shore universities have come on stream and a number of teachers are making use of this BUT reality is that their fees are extremely expensive.   Some of them, the fee are paid in U.S. dollars and must be paid per course. Now, with the dollar sliding rapidly, how can some afford to pay this especially when teachers’ salaries are nothing to sing home about?  They have to try to attend our national institutions where it is more cost effective.

Most importantly, teaching and studying is no easy task. Let’s look at the logic.  I will use the example of a teacher who teaches English Language and English literature to grade 7, 8 & 9.  Those are three different grades, it therefore means, three sets of lesson plan per week for each.   That is no easy task.  Additionally, one of those classes contain 25-30 students (and that’s for the more privilege institutions). An English language and English literature exam with see students writing three essay’s per paper.  That is 75 essays per class for ONE SUBJECT.  Work out the math when you add the others bearing in mind some teachers teach more than three subjects.  Even if its class work and teacher collect books, it is still a lot for one person, yet the teachers do it.  Now, when a teacher is studying part time and has all this work to do, plus try to meet the demands of university, one runs the risk of short change in the system.   Either students will be short changed as teachers will not be able to give the great level of attention that is required or the teacher will risk performing at a mediocre standard or may not complete the higher level study.   What the study leave does is eliminate this problem. It facilitate teachers professional advancement as is stipulated by the ministry of education, and allow students to be given complete contact time as is required and more.

The ugly truth is some teachers cannot take one year study leave without pay for obvious reasons: family obligations, payment of fees, etc… and others cannot afford to study-part time because of the propensity of short changing their students and theirselves.

THE SAD TRUTH!

Most of the people who are making the decisions and are levying strong judgements against teachers would not have made their grade without their teachers.   The moment a child gets to age two, parents are pleading with teachers to take their child in their institutions.  Whenever a child does well is sports, performing arts, most times it is teachers who discover their talents that parents later bask in. whenever parents cannot parent their children, it is to teachers they turn to and beg for teachers to intervene.   When some parents cannot afford examination fees, uniforms, books, lunch for their children, it is the teachers who make the provision…. the list continues.  YET! Despite all these things, society cannot find it in themselves to give teachers the RESPECT they so rightly deserve. All they seem worthy of are lashes.

Scarred.  Battered. Bruised. Teachers of Jamaica continue to sit on the banks of river-schools, still attempting to use basket to pour water on coco leaf…(Rex Nettleford & Brian Heap).

WHAP! WHAP! WHAP!… so the beating continues…

Stay tuned… share your thoughts

*subble-jack is a whip use for beating mostly donkeys my grandparents once told me.

*image retrieved from google pictures.

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