Fresh graduate teachers actually received good salaries. There are many reasons why individuals become teachers, not because of good salaries only.
Teaching is a passion and a dream. Becoming a teacher does not mean an exchange for money or to be praised by others; becoming a teacher means faith.
Being a teacher is to develop youths to have better lives, and imparting essential concepts about life. It is a great role.
Being a teacher means lifting youths from their own world into the real world. It is also a challenge of being a teacher.
However, the quality of teachers in our country is in question. The requirements of being a teacher are not standardised, and there is a lack of passion for teaching.
Some observations made about our teachers are not very flattering. They include having poor communication, being uninterested in teaching and condescending to their peers, and of poor quality because the new recruits are graduates unable to gain employment elsewhere.
Teachers who are not competent and confident in their subjects cannot teach to high standards. Academic ability, while not sufficient by itself, is still necessary for quality, innovative and challenging teaching.
There are also likely to be future challenges in managing the performance of academically weaker teachers.
Teaching is rated as the most respected profession. The teaching profession needs to be entrusted with the responsibility to develop a national system.
Our education system should recruit high-quality teachers not just through adequate pay but also by providing an environment in which teachers can work as professionals.
Recruitment can emphasise the fulfilling nature of teaching as a profession, and seek to draw in groups who may not otherwise have considered teaching. Where teaching is seen as an attractive profession, its status can further be enhanced through selective recruitment that makes teachers feel that theirs is a career sought by high-fliers.
All this also requires initial education to prepare new teachers to play an active role in the design and running of education, rather than just following standardised practices.
We should have a comprehensive approach to identifying and nurturing teaching talent by carefully selecting young people who are especially interested in teaching. Strong academic ability is viewed as essential, as is commitment to the profession.
An interest in teaching can be seeded early through teaching internships for secondary school students. The Government must keep a close watch on starting salaries and adjust the salaries for new teachers accordingly.
Young teachers should be continuously assessed for their leadership potential and given opportunities to demonstrate and learn, for example, by serving on committees, then being promoted to head of department at a relatively young age.
Teaching is not only a matter of methodology but perfecting an understanding between teacher and student. A teacher should be able to bridge the gap between him and his students.
If one loves his job, he will excel in it and succeed. Becoming a schoolteacher can be a very rewarding profession, but it is not as easy as everyone thinks.
JACK WONG KIN TUNG Ipoh Source: The STAR Online Home News Opinion Wednesday September 19, 2012