When I was a student, teachers used to be revered as nourishers. Now we’re underpaid wardens of business interests
From time to time we talk about deteriorating quality of education. There are articles in the newspaper every other day.
Almost every other article highlights teacher training, teachers not skilled enough, teachers not motivated enough. We come up with emotional tirade; if teachers are not skilled enough what kind of posterity will we raise?
While most of these arguments do hold true, have we ever given a thought to what teachers get?
It is sad to say that teacher, which must be the most respected job, is the least respected in our society and also the most underpaid job. Teachers get a meager pay with no job security, no health insurance, no promotion, no transport facility and no other such incentive. Why would they be motivated?
I studied in a missionary school for 10 years. I remember in 7th grade we wrote long essays of one and a half sheets, with though not perfect but fairly good grammar. I do not remember a single day where any child or parent had the guts to raise their finger at the dignity of a teacher. What the teacher said was right. No arguments about it.
Parent-Teacher Meetings were the scariest. We would be standing behind our parents timidly. If the teacher complained, we would be taught a good lesson by our parents. But it was not the case when I entered the premises of a private school recently.
The trend I observed there was very much antonymous to what I had seen in my own school life. I was aghast and disturbed when students in 7th grade were unable to read and write a simple English sentence.
I too in the beginning thought what kind of teachers they have hired to ruin the career of these children. But after some time I realized it was not the teacher’s fault.
The private schools, who brag about the quality of education they impart and take hefty fees from parents, give almost nothing to their employees in return. Rather there is a long cycle of manipulating teachers in various ways. The heads know that teachers are not financially strong, and they do need money to make both ends meet. That one reason is enough to exploit them.
I was an active debater and actor in school. I don’t recall any teacher writing a speech or script of plays for me, we did it on our own, and teachers checked them for us. The only job teacher had to do was to teach, make lesson plans and to check notebooks.
In private schools, a teacher has to teach, make planners, check notebooks without delay, take extra reading classes, get all the presentation material ready, write speeches for children, write play scripts, remain standing in class, no absentees on Mondays and Fridays else already meager pay will be deducted. Resultantly, they are overburdened and exhausted.
During the Parent Teacher Meetings, instead of the child, the teacher sits timidly and no matter how much a student or the parent insults her/him, the teacher has to endure.
The school administration listens to parents, because they pay and questions teachers, who get the pay. After all they are not imparting education, just running a business.
It just reminds me of an Indian movieChalk and Board which highlights the same issue.
Keeping all this in mind, how will the quality of education improve? If a teacher has to do all the extracurricular things in school, how will the children learn? No wonder Pakistan is in the list of the least innovative countries in the world.
A teacher in her late 40s told me she has been working here for eight years and now her salary is Rs 25,000 only. A country where teachers are not respected can never progress. On 5th October 2017, Teacher’s Day was celebrated with, I believe, not so much zeal and fervor.
Right after a child grows up enough to say a few words, the very first person he or she becomes acquainted with, after family, is a teacher. From then on, till adulthood we remain in touch with teachers as we pass from school to college to universities.
Teachers are next to our biological parents. They groom us, nourish us, teach us, guide us, help us and make us what we are. They play a huge role in our personality development.
It breaks me apart to say that unfortunately, teachers aren’t given due respect in our society today. The government must ensure that if the grading system for all employees is the same, teachers should get the same opportunities for promotions to higher grades. Government must give incentives to teachers to motivate them and make them fee l respected and important.