Take care of teachers

“I would like you to help me polish my English so that I sound as sophisticated as you do. I want to have an accent like the native speakers!” This was said to me by a middle aged lovely looking woman. Because I am usually very happy to help, we quickly drew up a schedule and discussed all the other nitty gritty details. All was going well until the part about the payment came up.  Clearly the would be student expected to get all the skills and knowledge but was not prepared to pay for the service. For some reason, teachers are not expected to be paid well for their hard and immensely immeasurable work.

Is it because it is difficult to measure or quantify knowledge? What about the time spent preparing for the lesson and during the actual engagement with the student?  These do not seem to be put into consideration.

During the term and after everyone has been considered, the teachers usually get the short end of the stick. Now that the results of the examinations done last year are being released, guess who is going to get the blame for any disappointing results. It is true that some teachers are not worth their weight in gold but these are the exception, not the rule.

The schools that have taken deliberate measures to cater for the welfare of their staff have reaped considerable benefits. And we all know  the impact of a constant stable staff on the learning of the children.

These schools have put welfare measures in place, such as medical schemes or insurances, affordable tuition for the children of the teachers, as well as housing allowance. Others have organised breakfast clubs occasionally where teachers take their breakfast together or other meals. Better still, the top management in some schools have decided to take on some lessons from the teachers to relieve them of their heavy loads. This is an incentive that greatly aids the bonding experience of the staff as a whole.

When the emotions of the people are appealed to the response is likely to be greater and further reaching than when they are told to do something without any show of interest in them as being people first. So if you are wondering what to do differently this year, try listening to your teachers with your ears and eyes.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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