#SPEAK_UP : Plight of Teachers – The backbone of schools
We started the SPEAK UP in the beginning of September this month with an attempt to compile all the issues that came up to us post Covid 19. Giving a voice to those who are unable to do it for themselves. The least we could do is listen without judgement or blame… listen to understand.
This is our 6th in the series and the previous 5 topics can be viewed in the link below.
Teachers are being celebrated for going ABCD – Above and Beyond Call of Duty. Did they really have a choice?
Work from home was always seen as a convenient and comfortable option any employee could get but come Covid 19 and we realize it becomes only work alone and no sight of home. Most of us yearn to get back to our physical work spaces and the ones wanting it most seem to be the school teachers. Their plight started as early as in March when most schools abruptly closed even before the final exams of 2019 were over.
Summer vacations which was supposed to be the little break teachers got from work to spend some time with family suddenly became the busiest days in their lives where they had to check on every other student and parent like never before as though parents never knew what to do with their children all these years during the summer break. It became the teacher’s responsibility to make sure they are engaged even at home. It got worse step by step till date and no one knows how and when this all ends…..
Here are a few excerpts from the conversations we had with teachers. A few were a cry for help, other send voice notes, messages to pages, some from other states, some from counsellors and special educators in schools … each anecdote shared below had been edited to remove the personal information it may have as our objective is not to put down any particular school or institution but instead to #SPEAK_UP and let the voices of these teachers be heard.
“.…it is so embarrassing to keep messaging parents and asking them for videos and photos every other day….. wonder why we are doing this….it’s just a show…..now my phone as more videos of pics of my students than my own children…..”
“…I am so fed up… it is like now I am a paid slave….I am having to feel grateful to the school for paying me half the salary for double the work that they get me to do…I can’t quit…I am so fed up…”
“… I don’t know if I am an IT professional or a teacher…I am full time searching for activities online and editing videos and uploading things….attending webinars….making ppts….I don’t know when I am teaching…”
“….oh we are not even allowed to talk about it… if we talk about our difficulties… we are labelled as being ungrateful or as cribbing and not understanding… you know we can’t’ even like or share things on Facebook if it is against online education….this is such a farce…”
“…I have headaches everyday…I ignore everyone in my family ….and am always angry… yesterday my younger ones told me she doesn’t like me anymore….. I am fed up of this…”
“….all of us are now in different rooms with different gadgets….nobody has time for anything…I don’t know what’s happening….even at 10pm the school is sending whatsapp messages..”
“…everyday there is a new plan….today they say something…tomorrow it is something else… we are just puppets because we get the salary….”
“…my salary is cut by half ….but my daughter in the same school has to pay full fees….I am so scared to question that…I cannot afford to lose my job now…”
“…I think our school has forgotten that we have families…we have to be available 24/7 now, no weekend as well…”
“…we have now listen to the parents rant… the school’s too…earlier we were only responsible for what students do in school…. now everything they do or don’t do at home is also our fault…”
Worst case scenarios as those that is seen in the screenshot of news that posted by Logical Indian about how teachers are being threatened when asking for pending salaries……
Many more desperate and frustrated voices continue to overflow……so we asked what they think is the way forward…we compiled a few below
“….Schools must recognise home and school boundaries and we should be able to stop work after school time..”
“…Parents who cannot pay fees must be able to genuinely prove the same but now it is like a union against school and teachers that is sad….”
“…The government or the educational board must intervene, this cannot go on like this…”
“…Parents and school should reach a common understanding it is not us vs them…”
“…it is okay to cut salary if the fees is also reduced and our workload too…”
“…schools should allow teachers to decide to some extent how they want to teach…we know our students better…”
Each school is different, their needs and challenges are different. So is every parent, teacher and student. How do we find a common solution to a problem that affects everyone differently.
How deep the mud is depends on who you ask. We all go through the same stuff differently.
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