It is not a secret that almost anywhere in the world teachers, the backbone of whatever little development a society can boast of, are paid peanuts, while MPs, judges, bureaucrats and supposed anti-corruption officials and many other professionals take the lion’s share. Some teachers spend a large part of their career timidly demanding for a pay rise.
Governments and private school owners often make so many promises but hardly fullfil any.
Such are some of the reasons why most teachers end up feeling so disappointed by the career they joined with a lot of hope and enthusiasm after high school. Consequently many end up abandoning the profession altogether preferring to join the business sector or to look for any job that will save them from the chalk dust they have to endure each day.
The high staff turnover in the teaching profession only serves as a disavdvantage to the rather innocent learners who find themselves, having to adapt to new teachers every so often. Sometimes a student may have more than four teachers for one subject in a year simply because teachers keep abandoning the profession and others are immediately hired to fill the gap.
For schools to tame this unfortunate scenario, certain measures other than the legendary pay rise can be used. In labour language, we have what we call fringe benefits of a job. If a head teacher or entrepreneur is unable to offer a pay rise, he can still devise some ‘small’ benefits for teachers that may not only motivate them to work harder but engender an environment of better staff retention.
One of the most vital welfare benefits that a school may provide to its teachers is that of free or cheap accomodation near the school. A teacher staying in a free house next to the school is very unlikely to leave the job for another because of the luxury he/she is enjoying by having a place to stay that is also very convenient for the work they do.
In case offering accomodation seems too much to ask, then a school can try and offer free or subsidised transport to its teachers. A school van may pick the teachers from a known point each morning and return them to the same spot after work.
Another area for which I wish to stress is concerned with the meals offered during working hours. Any right thinking employee should have the courtesy of offering his workers something to eat because this is one sure way of ensuring that they will perform their duties better. A cup of tea during the mid morning break can go a long way in having more active teachers in class. A decent lunch there after is very important and should not be looked at as a favour from the school. Without it, there will hardly be any work done in the afternoon.
In the class, it is important to have a teacher’s desk too. Standing for hours in class is usually one of the things that tire committed teachers. However with a desk in the class, a teacher can rest his teaching materials there and even decide to sit while marking an exercise he has just given to his students.
Where possible, having a medical cover for your teachers can also go along way in motivating them just like soft developmental loans would. These can be negotiated with a bank or issurance company.
Those are some of the welfare benefits that can result in better teacher retention rates and better perfomance that head teachers, especially of private schools, need to think of seriously. In a normal labour set up, an employer should demand better output from his employees, while the workers demand better working conditions from their employer.
Therefore workers should not fear to demand for better working conditions and conversly, school administrators should not take their teachers for granted. You cannot continue milking a cow that you do not feed!