Tuesday, 6 October 2020

EDUCATION: TEACHERS SALARIES AND SCHOOL RESUMPTION

World Teachers Day 2020 precisely October 5th, the world focused on teachers. International Teachers Day, 2020 had the unique theme “Teachers: Leading in Crisis, reimagining the future”. And after that traditional day the situation would go back to the status quo. The challenges facing teachers this year is very complex and unprecedented. Nobody should pretend not to know this or put succinctly nobody should feign ignorance.

I am going to paint a vivid reality scenario regarding teachers’ challenges this season. The following areas are addressed:

Teachers salary not commensurate with the heavy work load, Government make policies that fail to capture the real situation teachers are facing, Parents transfer aggression, students transfer frustration on teachers, School administrators vent on teachers, Teachers under severe pressure, teachers become depressed under the heavy weight of work, teachers lash out on students, problem at school extend to teachers families, inflation nibs away teachers salary, teachers ill-prepared to tackle unprecedented challenges, some teachers cherished teaching strategy fail to work, students attitude towards learning changed, students performance slow and poor, parents unable to fulfill financial obligations, etc.

Also Read: The New School Year: How parents can help their children

Teachers salaries not commensurate with effort

Hmm! Where do I begin? As far back as I could remember, teachers’ salaries and remuneration have been pushed to the background and the society at large forces teachers to project their highest value. Although some effort was made to increase their salary and extend retirement age in Nigeria, the impact is hardly significant. Inflation rate has already sliced off the increment.

 They expect teachers to drain out their soul while enriching others. The teacher is a candle that burns out while lighting the way for others. In Nigeria, there used to be a popular adage that a teacher’s reward is in heaven. This is mockery in disguise! Even in other countries, people have echoed this sentiment in behavior and actions.

“The teacher is a candle that burns out while lighting the way for others” 

Teachers save lives, Doctors save lives but the world honors doctors more than teachers. WHY? The cumulative impact of ignorance and illiteracy over a period of time is worse than the death of an individual. It could lead to the death of a generation of innovation, progress, growth, science and technology and even medicine. Teachers often lay the foundation for every record- breaking advancement in Medicine. We could go back to the stone age! Now answer this question, you. How many doctors can work in poor environment or conditions for a long time? How many doctors can accept meager pay for a long time and even retire poor? During the Covid 19 pandemic, almost all teachers lost their jobs, yet many doctors were empowered. Many teachers became more creative and innovative just to make sure learning does not stop.

The teacher should focus on the outcome and not the income. This is the projected sentiment of people.

Yet when teachers go on strike, people criticize them but when doctors go on strike, people criticize the government for not paying enough attention to doctors(and there is a quick response). There is a huge difference between the two responses and reactions. Oh, you want me to explain further? No way! You already knew. Besides, I need a cup of coffee to calm down my nerves.

‘You are digressing’, you say. Well, I know. Let me pour out my anger. A situation and perception that lingers over a long period of time becomes a tradition.

Let’s flip the coin.

I know the teacher was nodding and smiling as I was speaking critically about the attitude of others towards teachers. Wait! You can’t really blame others 100 percent all the time for your situation. Abraham Lincoln once said: “The best way to predict your future is to create it”.

I am speaking now in the context of teachers’ general austerity situation. Most teachers live from hand to mouth(sorry to admit). Granted, their salary is not enough to reverse this situation. However, no teacher is doomed to live that way. They could do something to change the narratives. If the teacher wants people to begin to accord him much respect, like the doctors, the teacher should begin the change from within.

From the broken window theory, the external environment speaks volume about the internal environment. A prolonged physical austerity is a projection of mental austerity and mindset. The teacher should overhaul his thinking pattern. His mind should be focused on wealth creation, multiple income streams, alternative sources of income for teachers.

The teacher should think of how to turn his passion into profits and physical financial reward. Teaching is not supposed to be synonymous to austerity and poverty. Teachers are not supposed to retire poor. The teacher should not continue to prepare great future for others while neglecting his own. My dear teacher, this is really a heartwarming advice. Create the kind of future you want for yourself. Others, including the government, cannot do it for you.

Be the hero of your own story.

Wealthyteachers.org is determined and dedicated to lead the transformation. We begin with an orientation of the mind, paradigm shift, and financial education of teachers. Join the train before the ride begins. To get further training in this regard, you may want to secure a spot on my telegram channel https://t.me/wealthyteachers

Just join the channel above. We are making huge preparations to rewrite the story of teachers. Few months from now, the programme would take a definite and concrete shape. As of this writing, a book for teachers’ financial education is been edited by Professor Emmanuel Okaka. Be assured. Never doubt. Welcome on board to the new order.

Additionally, to maintain focus on empowering teachers we initiated a research in 2013. Seven years down the line, we are close to achieving the best financial education programme for teachers.

We have studied the general business climate in Nigeria and how teachers can fit in. Our findings revealed that there are many businesses teachers can do on a part time or full time basis without disrupting the teacher’s normal teaching job. Thus this would discourage total dependence on salaries. These alternative jobs or employment for teachers would definitely increase the earnings or income of teachers.

The teacher’s passion for teaching is indescribable. However, passion for teaching should not be the basis for limitation or been rewarded with meager salaries. Passion for the teaching job should lead to prosperity.

Trying to stem the tide of teachers retiring poor, we have condensed a 7 years of research into a workable system. Apart from pointing teachers to additional sources of income, we also help them to develop the skills to succeed.

For teachers to derive joy in their career, we have considered best teaching practices and strategies. The teacher would have to give up some long-held teaching strategies that have become obsolete in view of contemporary challenges facing education. The Covid-19 pandemic brought numerous challenges on education.

A CUSTOMIZED TRAINING IN THE PIPELINE

The requirements;

The teacher identifies his area of specialization as: English Teacher, Mathematics teacher, art teacher, science teacher, etc. Also, the teacher describes his other skills(or skill-set) apart from teaching, his location, etc.

Such background information helps us to fine-tune the training according to the needs of the teacher.

COMING UP

Rebranding of this website. So do not quickly dismiss our capacity to offer teachers assistance. It takes a lot of work and resources to put all these programmes together. We are working at a convenient pace to reach our target in providing alternative jobs for teachers.

GOVERNMENT MAKE POLICIES THAT FAIL TO CAPTURE THE REAL SITUATION TEACHERS ARE FACING

The teachers’ situation is complex especially this new school session. It requires an insider’s understanding and knowledge in attempt to formulate policies that could address the lingering issues. You have to be in the classroom and school environment at different times and long enough to understand the scope of challenges teachers face everyday .  This is not the case with Government officials who visit the schools occasionally and make lasting policies regarding the school and teachers.

Unless an experienced teacher is in the cabinet of policy makers, little would be achieved. Another way to make a meaningful policy is when a deliberate effort is made to interview several teachers, school administrators and even parents over a period of time would they come to grasp with the real situation and come up with an all encompassing policy. Having a meaningful insight into the situation is usually the first genuine step in tackling the challenges teachers are experiencing.

Would the Government be patient enough to go through this seemingly rigorous situation before formulating policies? Well, your guess is as good as mine. Sadly, most officials feel that they have superior intelligence and knowledge to make the right decision and should be implemented without question.

Such attitude have done more harm than good. Teachers are put on the spotlight and under constant pressure to comply with some out- of -context policies. And why won’t teachers shiver and quiver at the visit of government officials to schools? Teachers know the consequences of falling short and would never want to be in the black book. This is the situation in many countries and we keep going round the vicious circle.

Parents Transfer AGGRESSION (PTA): 

The prolonged lock down occasioned by the COVID – 19 created a terrible impact on everyone and the effect lingers. We are focusing on how it affected parents. Most parents lost their jobs or perhaps experienced a severe pay cut. Because of this they find it difficult to meet up family obligations. Put mildly, putting food on the table has become increasingly difficult. They are under intense pressure. In some countries, there was literarily no support from the government. In the midst of these challenges, school opens. This goes with a lot of expenses -  tuition fees, just to mention a few. Private school owners careless about this situation. Parents should pay their fees.

Parents that managed to fulfill this obligation would have an enlarged expectation of good performance from their children. Teachers are expected to reach this target in a short while. Funny enough, students have developed new habits that impede accelerated learning. Performance would be slow. Adjusting to the new normal would certainly take some time. Because of this situation, parents would transfer aggression on teachers, who in their own perception, are not working hard enough to transform students. An atmosphere of tension is created between teachers and parents.

Students Transfer Frustration on Teachers

Students are on the spotlight. Parents place watchful eyes on their performance. Parents cannot tolerate poor performance. So there should be a visible evidence of good performance, no excuses. Teachers also expect students to pick up rapidly with learning, no excuses. Too high expectations from parents and teachers. This could drive them crazy, and thus react and respond to teachers with bitterness. No doubt teachers and students would always clash.

School administrators vent on teachers

School administrators,  principals or proprietors are not left out in the squabble. They want to protect their image. Thus, this pushes them to side with parents. They want to please parents and may immediately pass unfounded judgment on a teacher’s seeming poor performance. Some parents simply cannot stop complaining about the performance of their children. School administrators should especially be careful not to repackage a parent’s anger and fire it at the teachers. The pressure and frustration of the teacher would simply increase.

Problem at School affects teachers’ family

If a teacher keeps facing unresolved issues in class, this could drain him or her and also have significant psychological effect. A teacher that is stressed goes home tired and exhausted and feeling like a bomb waiting to explode. At this point, the teacher needs a lot of rest. But the husband comes in for discussion or to resolve certain issue in the family. The teacher would not have the energy for this. She could speak out rashly to the husband, creating strain in the family.

A teacher with children may not have enough time and energy to take adequate care of his children because of stress at school. Ironically, the teacher is busy grooming other kids while her children gets little attention and even find it difficult to perform well at school. Many have the perception that a teacher’s children should be intelligent. I hope this were always true.

ALSO READ

Causes of Frustration for the classroom teacher

 

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