Saturday, March 13, 2010

Teaching Is A Sacrifice, But For Whom?

Everyone works hard to provide for themselves and their family. So do teachers.

Given a choice, they would like to teach near their home, where the family gather, where there are relatives and friends, where they can buy all their needs and wants, and where they can do when they want.

And as the children grow, they have more things to consider, more areas to cover, and more headaches and migraines......

Recently they are told that the government is making it compulsory for teachers to teach at least 3-5 years in the rural and interior schools.

The education ministry is determined to see experienced and knowledgeable teachers serving in rural schools.

And all teachers are to view such postings as national service as well as for the love of teaching and for the students who were our future.

The news stunned them all........

Rural postings was no longer only for newly graduated teachers.

Fear and apprehension eventually took them.......

They were afraid they would end up in the rural ares permanently.

They were afraid that once they accepted postings to rural schools, they would be forgotten and left there for years by the ministry.

They had heard news of teachers who had been stuck in rural schools for 20 to 30 years.

Yes, the government was providing monetary and other incentive to attract teachers to teach in rural areas.

But the issue here was not money........ They wanted to be with their families back home.

Many walked and sat uneasily and began to grumble and complain.......

Why couldn't the government train more locals as teachers? These people could and would return to serve their communities once they graduated.

But just how many of these local teachers would do that? I asked myself. Slowly they would still be moving to the towns and cities too.

And so did all those who were successful in their works and studies........

Only the poor and illiterate remained there in rural areas, forever working hard for a living, with no one to hear their grievances.

And just how many teachers care enough to go there?

But why couldn't the government develop the rural areas faster?

More questioning and reasoning, everywhere and every time.

The coffee shops and roadside stalls were filled with people, more businesses and more money........

The shopkeepers and vendors were smiling broadly, serving their clients.

Everyone knows teaching is a sacrifice, but for whom?

And who cares what you think?


Sandy said...

My daughter is a teacher. She worked in inner city Baltimore for 2 years while working on her Masters. She taught 5th grade. We helped her buy lots of school supplies and books; as the kids were unable to come with items they needed. This is a difficult thing to do for a new teacher. She wasn't even paid a regular salary, she was a paid a stipend to live on. She bought gloves for the kids to have warm hands while outside even on her merger stipend. It was a long 2 years. She learned how to break up fights, take away weapons etc. In inner cities you have very tough neighborhood kids, you have far more to deal with then teaching them to spell and add. Experienced teachers pick and choose where they want to go, and so you have the young least experienced teaching in the most difficult situations and locations. Yes, teaching is a sacrifice. It's hard on the teachers, and their families.

She was paid only a stipend because her education was paid for. For her it was worth it. Once she graduated she moved back to beloved St. Louis. We're still 500 miles apart; but she loves that city.

Her teaching situation is far worse. She's teaching a combined 1st and 2nd grade class room, again in the inner city. But these kids come from worse circumstance then those in Baltimore. Again, we've helped her with buying what the kids need. She is paid a real salary now, but she is not paid anything extra. There is NO incentive to work in a depressed difficult area. It's aging and stressing her far more then we like. It's a tough problem. It's not the age group she likes to teach; but they had lost 2 teachers a few weeks into the school year and she was offered the spot. They were in desperate need. So, yes; she does feel like this is the 3rd year she has served more then most.

We're hopeful she'll get a better position for next year, teaching in High School which is what she'd like.

Long post, sorry; but you've touched on an important topic.

Traveling Suitcase

Alison said...

My husband is a teacher. He only lives 15 mins form work and we are not rural. Buuut this is a horrible city. A lot of gang violence. He will continue to teach here, but I'm hoping to move away from here soon.

The kids that want to learn here will learn, others won't. He's had to learn how to break up fights, and deal with weapons as well. I sometimes fear for his safety. It seems like it just is getting worse and worse.

But he has helped some kids excel! Some kids want to do something with their lives regarding Science (which is what he teaches). With the good comes the bad.

But I think teachers should have a choice where they are teaching at. So they can go into it at peace knowing this is where they wanted to be. I mean the teachers that are in a place that they don't want to be at, are they really going to be great teachers? I doubt it, they will probably put lackluster effort into it.

good said...