Another letter in the teachers series, this time detailing many of the compulsory sacrifices that public school teachers have to endure.
Passion of teachers doused by system
MY wife is a secondary school teacher, serving to educate the young for more than two decades with full dedication. However, her passion withers as time goes on.
The reasons are:
> Uncomfortable working conditions. She has to share a table with another teacher in the afternoon session. Imagine an area of 90 x 24 ft accommodating more than 100 teachers without air-conditioning. Teachers are sweating not only in the classroom but also in the stuffy staff room. Today, even clerical staff enjoy better working conditions in offices.
> Meetings and co-curricular activities are held on most Saturdays, unlike for other civil servants. I work outstation and am only home during the weekends but weekends are no longer a family day because my poor wife and children have to go to school for activities.
In March, my wife had to go to school for a staff meeting and in-service training on the first Saturday, carry out uniformed society activities on the second Saturday, and attend marching competition on the fourth Saturday. In April, she had to attend the prize-giving day on the second Saturday, gotong-royong on the third Saturday and replacement for Hari Raya holiday on the fourth Saturday.
> Unnecessary clerical work such as filling forms, making data entries, issuing receipts for payment of school fees. Imagine she has to issue four handwritten receipts to each student in her class and record the details of each receipt in various forms.
> Only Maths and Science teachers have been provided with laptops. Teachers who teach other subjects have to buy their own. As there are limited computers in school, teachers at times have to fight to use the computers to meet deadlines.
> Attending courses. Many a time, my wife was directed to attend courses outstation at short notice simply because the letters arrived late at the school. How would you expect a teacher, being a mother and a wife, to just put aside her work in school and leave her family just to attend these courses?
This is only a sneak preview of my wife’s job. When we got married, I thought she would have time to devote to the family. I did not mind that she earns a meagre salary compared with those in the private sector. But it looks like the perception I had that my wife would have more time for the family no longer holds true as she has to spend such long hours in school doing paper work and giving extra classes to examination classes.
She has to stay up at night to mark exercises and test papers. While other civil servants get to enjoy their family days during weekends, why are teachers the exception?
And also from The Star 13 May 2010:
Minister to get study on overloaded teachers soon
PUTRAJAYA: A study is being done on the issue of teachers being burdened with unrelated work and the findings will be presented to the Education Minister within a week.
A committee, set up by the ministry, would also present its recommendations based on feedback from teachers, school heads and district education department officers, and school surveys, said ministry director-general Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd Dom.
The committee was formed last month after the National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) voiced its concern over members not being able to concentrate on teaching.
Alimuddin said Education minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin would reveal details of the “New Deal” for school heads and teachers at Sunday’s national Teacher’s Day celebrations. He will also launch the festivities, themed Guru Pembina Negara Bangsa (Teachers, Builders of the Nation) at Universiti Malaysia Pahang.
In George Town, the state NUTP said it would defend teachers if school heads penalise them for not attending the clean-up programme scheduled for Teacher’s Day celebrations on Sunday.
State chairman Lim Ming Tzong @ Adam Alim Abdullah said teachers should contact the union if they were made to do so and they would raise the matter with the ministry.
“If teachers cannot attend school on that day because of other important matters, they should inform the school heads in advance for the administration to prepare ahead,” he said yesterday.
Lim said the union was, however, irked by a teacher here who sent out SMSes coaxing his colleagues to boycott the programme.
He said the teacher gave the impression that the SMS originated from the union.
Lim had since clarified the matter with state education director Ibrahim Mohamad.
Department deputy director Ahmad Tarmizi Kamaruddin urged teachers not to listen to rumours and liaise with school heads. “I have sent the ministry’s circular on the programme to schools today (yesterday) reminding everyone that the programme is voluntary,” he added.