I know, as school is about to reopen this September, children must be feeling a little gloomy. Especially those I saw riding their bicycles on one wheel in the Rodney Bay Mall parking lot and those that were gliding on their skateboards on roadsides. I could most definitely sympathize with the population of students about to sit in dreary traffic on Monday morning. Going back to school was never an exciting event for me.
But what I didn’t realize then is that I was only one of very few people who genuinely hated school, and that teaching is more an act of servitude than a job.
Back in my school days, my classmates and I loved spending the majority of the week in each other’s company. We were always willing to learn new things and, over time, some of us realized just how much some teachers enjoyed serving the country by providing the basis of education to hundreds of us at a time.
After a seemingly endless summer, the reopening of school will once again serve as an opportunity for some parents to free themselves of the burden of their children’s bad attitudes. The only plausible explanation is that the above-mentioned consider raising a child more of the teacher’s job than their own! Fortunately, there are those who are just thankful for the fact that their children are able to get better learning opportunities than they had.
And there are at least some others who are happy to hear that 8 a.m. shrill of the bell – our dear bus drivers who are promised a steady influx of bus fare on weekdays, and the many canteen personnel and food stalls that are about to collect school allowance in gross quantities as soon as school reopens.
My school years weren’t too long ago, but speaking with teachers nowadays makes it very apparent that schooling has changed in dynamic and often challenging ways.
As the 2017-2018 academic school year is about to commence, it’s most important to keep in mind the teachers who are performing a fundamental job in society. Some who spent their final two weeks of vacation on school compounds preparing, and others who sacrifice some of their salary to help children and parents in need. Teachers work hard trying to cater to the varied learning needs of all their students. We should remember that all students are not the same and in a country where facilities possess insufficient supplies for basic education, some teachers have to use just that to mould these students into functional and literate members of society. And although it seems like they have more vacation days than any other profession, many teachers go home with their thoughts burdened by the lives of troubled students. But, they still love what they do and work hard.
While hundreds of children around the island are hesitant about going through those dreaded doors of educational institutions, one teacher from Bocage Secondary School didn’t show the slightest hint of reluctance to tell the STAR, “I look forward to see how my students have grown – my past form one boys must be taller than me by now. I’m hoping we can have a productive term and that I can continue to make a positive change, no matter how small.”
“I’m excited to meet new faces and interact with new personalities,” another joyously affirmed. “Teaching is always a learning experience. You never know whom you’ll discover, and each student stands out from the rest.”
Even with their enthusiasm, teachers still have plenty that they would like to ask of the public. Some claim that their job isn’t getting any easier as the generations evolve. Although many businesses have taken up their social responsibility by offering scholarships, teachers would still like to implore the public to help rear the island’s youth, as they remain the future of this country.
Another long-serving teacher from the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School offered the remark, “Over the past few years I’ve experienced apprehension about going back to school and maintaining discipline in the face of deteriorating family values and generally poor parenting. These are major issues. Now, kids want rewards they can see and don’t have the ambition to learn for themselves.”
She added: “Teachers are no longer the ‘know-it-alls’. Technology has created an ease of access to information. Now, we teach skills and we’re not the only ones who need help showing how these skills should be used responsibly.”
As the streets will once again be littered with uniformed students needing education, guidance and protection, I hope we remember that it is not just the job of the teachers, but our collective society.