HONOUR TEACHERS WITH A PAY INCREASE RATHER THAN A DAY
It seems that almost every day is dedicated to some cause. There is a World Water Day, World Environment Day, International Day for Children and yesterday was World Teachers’ Day.
Soon we may have Reporters’ Day, Editors’ Day and a Publishers’ Week. There is already a Mining Week and Secretary’s Week. These days allow for focus to be paid on various aspects of national life, but they are simply too much and result in too many unnecessary activities.
Imagine if there has to be World Lawyers’ Day or a World Doctors’ Day or a day dedicated to policemen and policewomen. We already have International Press Freedom Day and International Human Rights Day.
There is always some event held to commemorate these various days and it is simply too much, including for the media, which has to provide coverage for most of the activities, since something of public importance may be said by some official at one of these events.
For World Teachers’ Day there were quite a few gatherings and ceremonies. All of this takes away from time spent in the classroom. We cannot be complaining about the loss of classroom time to school sports when almost every week there is some activity which schoolchildren have to attend or otherwise participate in.
Teachers are special and they will always be special. They are loved and respected in the society and there is no need for a day to be dedicated towards honouring them.
They do not need to be honoured with speeches and ceremonies hailing their contributions. The need to be honoured with increased salaries. This is the best way to pay tribute to teachers. Give them a pay increase.
On Teachers’ Day, many teachers received gifts and other tokens from their students. Many parents may have felt under an obligation to buy something for their children’s teachers. This practice should be discouraged, because those who cannot afford to lavish teachers with gifts may feel that they will not be treated equally, even though there is no evidence that teachers treat children unfairly because of not receiving gifts for special occasions such as Christmas or World Teachers’ Day.
Teaching is in a crisis in Guyana. There are far too many untrained teachers in the system and even where there are good teachers, many parents still feel under an obligation to send their children to extra lessons.
There are children in Guyana who are being forced to go to extra lessons from as early as Grade Four. Many parents send their children to these lessons because they are fearful that their children will be discriminated against if they do not go to the grade teacher’s lessons.
This fear must be removed. Every parent must be given the assurance that lessons should only be optional and purely a choice of the parents.
Teachers have educated the nation. Without them there would be very few qualified individuals. But teachers are paid for this service and this payment along with the satisfaction they obtain from teaching should be enough motivation for them to continue in the profession.
Unfortunately, teachers are not well paid and this problem has not been adequately addressed. While it is true that teachers no longer need to take sugar cakes and other sweets to schools to sell to make ends meet, the salaries that they receive are far too low considering the value that they give to society.
Something has to be done. The resources can and must be found to pay teachers better. But when teachers are paid better, they must be prepared to do their work and ensure that students would not need extra lessons to help them with their schoolwork. If teachers are performing satisfactorily, then extra lessons would be something that would not be needed.
Teachers need a raise, a big raise, so that they can live respectably and in a manner befitting their contributions to society.