GOOD, committed and dedicated teachers are a gem to their students. They teach, they inspire and they are great role models. However, like in all other professions, teaching is not spared its share of “black sheep”.
This is most unfortunate for, unlike other professions, teachers engage directly in moulding the minds and characters of the young ones. And, this has a direct impact on the future of the nation.
We still have teachers who are into teaching as a last resort. They have not the passion, neither are they competent in their subjects and pedagogy to deliver a proper lesson.
They are uninitiated, slow, lackadaisical and irresponsible, and they are quick to shirk any additional tasks and duties. Yet, they claim that teaching is not rewarding enough; they will leave when something “better” comes along.
We also have teachers who complain of unfair appraisals and being bypassed for promotions. They attest that their “suffering” has driven them to slow down, do the minimum, or simply to work to rule.
Agreed, the teacher appraisal system and mechanism needs to be continually reviewed and improved upon. Nevertheless, from time to time, we do hear of announcements about better deals for teachers: more promotional posts, higher grades with better perks, performance incentives and others.
While teachers await their dues, they should nevertheless soldier on honestly and righteously. Giving lukewarm and half-hearted service is not an option. It is their responsibility and duty to serve their charges to the best of their ability.
Anything less will do irreparable damage to the learning process and progress of their students. Consciously not giving their best is compromising their pure conscience.
True, we all work to earn “bread” for ourselves and our family. But, do our salaries or remuneration constitute all that “bread” that is in our life? We compare, and feel, that a colleague who works as hard or even less is getting more “bread” than us; and we get frustrated. This shouldn’t be allowed to happen for it affects and eats into our inner beings.
Have we considered that taking into account all factors, the “bread” we earn is indeed equitable reward for our labour? Have we considered that our reward for work well done may also come in other intangible forms?
The students appreciate the comprehensive lessons that we deliver; our colleagues have high regard for the quality of our work; our dedication and commitment invariably take us to a higher level of professionalism and we are accorded professional recognition; and above all, the good feeling that we have, simply because we have done a job well.
We see the worth of our work; we see the purpose for our life. All these make us happier, healthier and livelier individuals. We are indeed already blessed.
What is the alternative? Discontentment, frustration, anger, cynicism and even vengeance drives some of us to “hit back” at the system. We begin to work to rule, to do the minimum, to consciously avoid task and assignment, to give excuses, to be always critical and cynical and, worst of all, to “sabotage” the system.
We “rejoice” thinking that we have succeeded in the “tit-for-tat” game. But, know that the greater evil eventually falls on us, and us alone. We have compromised our conscience. And this is destructive to self physically as well as spiritually.
The afflicted teachers should take leave to reflect on their attitude, and if they cannot overcome the resentment, the honourable thing to do would be to quit.
This is not to condone that teachers should absorb all discrimination, disparity and unfair practices in their appraisals. But, there are channels to refer to for such grievances. Any bad practice should be reported to, and be dealt with by, the Education Ministry. Teachers concerned can enlist the help of their professional unions.
Taking it out on students and their job is not it. The students are innocent.
All teachers who have professed their allegiance to the teaching profession have a moral duty and responsibility to give their best to their charges. Nothing less is acceptable.
LIONG KAM CHONG, Seremban.
Source: The Star Home News Opinion Tuesday September 13, 2011