Just thought I should share the following; my reply to a post on my group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/The.Parenthood.Support/) about the need to import teachers in Trinidad and Tobago…
FELLOW CONCERNED PARENT:
“sometimes I wonder if it is a good idea to bring in efficiently trained and qualified teachers from abroad with a desire to teach sometimes weary of the treatment kids receive from their teachers and and number of days missed from school,especially after what that student went through with that teacher who was on Ian Alleyne’s programme , Lord help our kids!”
MY LONG-WINDED REPLY:
“- need to voice my take on this one…
FYI, I’m still a young Miss so I’m not as disillusioned and cynically corrupted as some of the others and have a fresher and more objective perspective after coming from both sides. However, I truthfully think that this suggestion is a bit asinine, as there is a surplus of caring and qualified teachers in jobs and waiting on jobs, and to do something like that would add to more unnecessary unemployment and further demoralization. Even though our education system is incredibly and disastrously flawed, there is definitely no need to import teachers!
It’s very easy for lots of people to point fingers at our educators without fully understanding the internal going-ons. Before I entered teaching, I was also one of those highly critical commentators who protested the in-class slackness, the constant protest action for more money, the uncaring laissez-faire attitudes to children, and the lack of progress and improvement–but now, (even though these things still sadly exist) after being slapped around in the education system, I understand the other side.
I decided to go into teaching when the boys arrived, simply because I thought it would be a breeze; less work hours, stable salary, vacation and leave— but boy, was I in for a surprise!
It is a job that is ridiculously demanding in so many different ways! Instead being just a teacher, the job requires you to become a surrogate parent, counsellor, security officer, mediator, relief worker, investigator, researcher, administrative officer, event planner, labourer and etcetera. And I’m not exaggerating! My days are crammed full of activities, so much that breaks (lunch or other) have become a luxury. I’ve been in school after hours on countless occasions; either mediating conflict situations, supervising events and activities, planning and marking test papers, giving my kids further tutelage or assisting with projects. My nights and evenings are spent doing related work, as I’m at a school where my students need as much assistance as possible…and often, in my spare moments, I am left thinking about the numerous sad student stories…
Being a teacher who cares in a world that is as twisted as ours, and where there is a permanent lack of good homes and parents, is no easy task. The phenomenon is sometimes referred to as the “curse” of caring. Your children become our children, and their personal problems often become ours. I’ve been exposed to so much sadness and strife that if it were not for a comforting Holy Spirit and for my Father God, I’d be permanently disturbed on so many levels…
Children of our society are tremendously troubled and it transcends as conflicts into classrooms. Teachers are faced everyday with these sensitive situations that serve as teaching impediments. The full coverage of vast syllabi have become almost insurmountable objectives, as days are fragmented, and teaching time cut-short by circumstances that are out of our control. And no society, we do not only take leisurely day-offs—our leave days are used to carry our kids to the doctor, to repair our homes and vehicles, to sit exams and handle other personal issues, and mostly, as we work in an environment where our students often come to school with various contagions, we get sick.
In addition to added job descriptions and hazards, most schools have horrible physical environments to work with; crowded and heated classrooms, poor ventilation, an incredible lack of teaching resources, (usually) lack of administrative support, pest infestations, flawed building structures… the list goes on forever.
People seem to forget that teachers are people too. We have families to support and personal lives and problems just like anyone else. It is one of the noblest jobs in society where we build characters and empower future nation-builders—but hands down, it’s the most under-appreciated. It’s a profession that demands selflessness but gives no support. And, to add insult to injury, we are the most underpaid tertiary educated folks on the market who are given near zero benefits.
So, be careful not to let a few bad apples spoil your opinion of the whole lot. Contrary to popular belief, most teachers are actually quite kind and diligent individuals who really care about seeing educational improvement in their students. But, in our third world education system, when there is little support from the authorities in bettering the teaching structure and classroom conditions; it’s a really tough task that often proves to be highly de-motivating (especially if you have been trapped in the system for years) and which in turn sadly intensifies poorer performance and indifferent, even antagonistic, attitudes.
In the end of it all, it’s much easier to blame the people who seem to be the problem, but who are in fact, the product of an unsupportive system.