Noble profession with myriad roles
I FEEL it is not an exaggeration to place teaching in a list of the most elusive professions around. It is a profession that is the least understood and under appreciated by those outside the sphere.
This often over-glamorised profession has a side which not many are able to see and comprehend.
Unlimited working hours is one of the many hidden aspects of teaching, as teachers toil for a minimum of 10 hours per day! It’s not inclusive of the number of hours spent checking exercise books, planning lessons for the next day, preparing test and examination questions, keying in data online, recording information which is often redundant in nature, analysing data and a long list of many other tedious tasks which have to be done strictly outside teaching hours.
Most teachers get less than five hours of sleep at night and the number of teachers suffering from mental and psychological disorders is ever growing. Valuable family time is snatched away and depression has crept into the lives of teachers. The alarming number of depression cases among teachers is stark evidence of the issue discussed here.
How about the so-called “unlimited” holidays we assume teachers enjoy? Have we considered the days spent attending courses and the invigilation duties forced onto teachers during the holidays? Most schools are forced to conduct extra classes and camps during the school holidays.
Who do you think run the whole show? Planning, organising and conducting these camps at times consume the whole holiday and all the carefully crafted vacation plans have to take a back seat for these poor teachers.
We should also bear in mind that teachers are not paid as generously as workers in other professions.
A graduate teacher with about 10 years of teaching experience earns less than a graduate in a different field with the same work experience. The annual salary increase crawls at such a pace that it’s painful to look at, and they get only RM500 as bonus!
While some professionals are paid an amount equivalent to five to six months’ salary as their yearly bonus, teachers cheer at the announcement of half-a-month’s salary.
Teaching differs from other professions as teachers are forced to deal with human beings of various characters every minute of their time while in school.
One needs a tremendous amount of patience to keep cool throughout the day especially when dealing with unruly students. At one time, a teacher is in charge of at least 40 students with 40 kinds of characters, and in a day he handles hundreds of other students who come to school for other reasons except learning.
A teacher plays multiple roles in his career. To the administrators he is a clerk, debt collector, personal assistant, data recorder, planner, and organiser, among others. To the students, he is a teacher, educator, counsellor, sports coach, investigation officer, trainer, nurse, baby sitter and a host of other tasks which are yet to be named.
I have seen parents lament when the school holidays begin as they struggle to cope with their children who are left with them 24/7. They often complain about not having enough energy to entertain their children who, they claim, leave them exhausted.
Excuse me, we are talking about parents handling two or three of their own flesh and blood! Have we ever thought about the fate of those poor teachers who are forced to tolerate the antics of the children in a multiple of 20?
A show of appreciation is needed as a boost for all human beings and it applies to teachers too. Unfortunately, appreciation is seldom exhibited as teachers are expected to be the proverbial candle and sacrifice themselves.
Teachers constantly face assaults, threats, emotional blackmail and harassment of the worst sort in the course of their work. With advancing technology, students are becoming more creative in their attempts to execute their evil plans and teachers are expected to tolerate the intolerable.
And how about the attacks the teachers have to endure from various quarters? When a child succeeds, the credit goes straight to the child but failure of students is often associated with the inability of teachers. How unfair!
However, teachers do strive, despite all these shortcomings, thanks to the astoundingly high self-motivation and sense of sacrifice that’s unique to them. They celebrate the success of their students as their own and enjoy the occasional attention they get, and draw satisfaction from words of motivation and appreciation which are saved for special days like Teachers Day.
Let’s salute all those teachers out there who are contributing tirelessly towards nation-building. Happy Teachers Day, folks! SR2 Tampin The STAR Home News Opinion Letters 15 May 2015
Teachers good role models
ON May 16, we will celebrate Teachers Day.
It is worth knowing that this date was chosen by the Government because it was on that day in 1956, that the Federal Legislative Council accepted the recommendations of the Education Committee Report as the education policy for the country.
The document, which is also widely known as the Razak Report, has since become the National Education Policy.
Accordingly, the objectives of celebrating Teachers Day among others is to emphasise the role of teachers in nation-building (including unity and integration) as well as to draw the attention of parents, students and the public to the important role played by teachers within our society.
It is crucial to know that teachers as well as educators form a very important part not only of our society but of almost all other societies in the world.
One of the most important responsibilities of a teacher or educator is to be a good role model for the students.
In fact, it has become a duty and responsibility for every teacher and educator to be the best role model they can be.
In multiracial Malaysia, students come from many different backgrounds and ways of life, making it hard for any teacher or educator to be the perfect role model for their students.
However, there are some basic positive qualities teachers or educators must have to become good role models.
They must demonstrate a positive attitude about themselves among their colleagues, their school, their profession, their community and their students.
They should also dress and behave in a professional manner at all times.
They also must be careful about what they say and always do what is considered appropriate.
They should always demonstrate love for their subject and be able to teach it with full dedication and enthusiasm.
More importantly, they must be the perfect role model of honesty and integrity and they must treat every student with dignity, respect, and fairness.
Having all these positive qualities would make any teacher or educator a good role model, one whom the students would aspire to follow.
Happy Teachers Day 2015 to all teachers and educators.
Muzaffar Syah Mallow, Faculty of Syariah and Law, USIM The STAR Home News Opinion Letters May 13, 2015