Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Schools or Sweatshops?

The profession of a school teacher was once considered the best profession for women. This was because of the timings, the ample number of holidays, low stress, and so on. All these reasons made it the most sought after profession at one time. With the commercialization of education, this profession no longer interests younger generations.
The working conditions are not good either. Most schools do not allow teachers to sit in the classrooms. There are no more teacher’s desks or chairs. During bundhs, teachers are expected to be in school throughout the day. I wish I could get the heads of the principals examined for damage. What are the teachers supposed to do in an empty school? Teachers are monitored on CCTVs that are installed in classrooms. Most schools do not give teachers enough breaks or free periods even though this profession is physically and mentally exhausting. They do not get trained on latest teaching methods. Teachers need to squeeze in time for practical classes or correlating bookish information to the real world. They have to work on all these and the pay is bad. I know that teachers in Tamil Nadu’s aided schools and government schools are paid well. But teachers in government schools in Andhra Pradesh are not paid on par to their counterparts in Tamil Nadu. I do not know about teachers’ pay in other states. But teachers in private schools everywhere are paid badly. Not surprisingly this is the least preferred profession. If there is no young blood in this profession, I am not sure kids are going to be inspired to attend schools. As a mother this downward spiral in education bothers me. 
As a teacher’s daughter and granddaughter I could be partial to teachers. But I have also seen the dedication and passion my father has for his profession. He has retired and works part time. But even now he prepares for his classes, browses books on Mathematics and teaching methods. He would quote short stories to keep the class interesting. I have seen teachers who are very dedicated. I strongly believe that teachers deserve good pay scales, reduced span of students, and enough breaks.
I once read an article on Army and the reason why it was not attracting many youngsters to join it. An army officer commented that apart from many other reasons the pay was bad. He said that if you pay peanuts, you will only get monkeys.

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