JUDGING from the comments made on the education scenario in this country, it seems no one is denying that we have produced a generation of young people who struggle with the 3Rs — reading, writing and arithmetic. Many still struggle with literacy and numeracy skills and are unable to communicate properly.
To overcome the problems, the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 has recommended certain measures to ensure that only those who are qualified and keen to teach, are accepted into the profession.
The recommendation is indeed timely as going by the current situation now, dedicated teachers are indeed a dying breed. Worse, if no quick measures are put in place, this rare stock of teachers will be “extinct”.
The moment has come to seriously make that big push to get only the best people into teaching and to encourage them to give their best in areas that have long been neglected.
That is good teaching. But is having the right paper qualification or the best degree good enough for one to be in the teaching line until retirement time?
To many, teaching is a relatively easy job. After all, it is only a half day’s work — that’s the perception of most people.
However, the critics fail to note the hours of preparation involved before the teacher actually conducts a lesson.
This is not all as teachers also spend long hours correcting homework and marking papers and worksheets. Then there are the administrative chores that need to be carried out, not forgetting the extracurricular activities.
Over and above this, is the sense of guilt upon seeing exam results that clearly indicate their charges are not grasping the basic knowledge of the subjects taught.
These facts are an eye-opener to those who intend to be teachers or claim to love teaching — will they find the job really rewarding or will the frustration be too much to bear?
Past teachers and those who have been in the profession for years may moan the declining academic standards of youth and their disrespectful behaviour. What’s even more worrying are parents who are equally uncouth and contemptuous towards teachers such that the cikgus are afraid to tick off an errant pupil.
Considering the circumstances, those who love teaching are already finding it hard, to strike a work-life balance. A dedicated teacher often has additional workload and has to put up with the brickbats and even abuse.
Sadly, this is the reality. Teachers being in the frontline are sometimes at odds with the authorities. The institutions they serve, fail to defend them while over-protective parents often blame teachers for most things that go wrong in school.
There is no denying that bad teachers do exist. In addition, feckless parents ought to shoulder much of the blame of their ill-mannered children.
School principals in defending the system may say that the number of problematic students constitute only a small percentage but they must realise that no matter how small the impact, a substantial percentage of a school’s time, money and resources are spent on weak and unruly students.
As someone who was in the teaching profession albeit not in a school, I do empathise with teachers as the criticisms levelled against them are sometimes unfair.
Teachers on their part have to restrain themselves from over-reacting to situations — it is pointless shouting at students or even crying for it reflects badly on them.
Students on the other hand, should be more respectful and parents instead of condoning their children’s negative behaviour, must instil in them some positive values.
Dr. Arzmi Yaacob Subang Jaya, Selangor The STAR Home News Education 25 May 2014