Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Why is teaching not an ‘Attractive Profession’?

Why was teaching attractive?
  1. A tension free environment, most parents did not like their daughters working in an office hence school was a safe and honourable place.
  2. Teaching was considered a noble profession and had respect and reverence and was almost considered as social service.
  3. You worked only a few hours a day and hence were able to look after your home.
  4. You had all the holidays, summer, Diwali, winter, bank holidays and were paid for it too.
  5. You associated with children and hence your happiness quotient was always doubled in your interactions with them.

Then what happened to this utopia?
  1. Other more lucrative professions came into place.
  2. Society changed its perception about allowing girls to work in other professions too.
  3. Even a doctor can work part time and enjoy holidays.
  4. Society started loosing respect for teachers as tuition racket and teachers accepting gifts rackets increased.
  5. Children became more and more difficult to handle and there was no happiness only stress.

Who is to be blamed for this?
No one and everyone! If teachers want to gain back respect and good salaries then somewhere two things need to be done, one at the educational level and one at the national budgetary level.
Respect, recognition and monetary benefits are the issues out here, of which the last one is an issue even abroad for teachers and they tackle it by involving politicians and the government in raising the standards and bars, see how Barack Obama has already voiced his support for early childhood and elementary school policies, Canada has recently passed an education bill for the same. But what does India do? In any of the politician’s speeches do they make any strategic commitments about policy changes? No. we have the sarva siksha abhiyan, crores are kept aside for it, but where does the money go? To publishing houses to print books and fancy materials, but yet the abhiyan does not get teachers. Why? Because they have not earmarked good money for it.

What about the educational qualifications angle?
All professional courses are for at least 3 years or more after graduation. What about teaching? It is just for a year. Yes, B.ed (bachelor in education is just for a year!!!! whereas abroad it is a 3 to 4 year if not 5 year program. how can you train quality teachers in a year? how much of internship are these teachers getting? Very little. Almost as good as naught and when they pass out they do not know the science of teaching to implement in practice? And that is why you have teachers beating, threatening, abusing children. You have teachers who grumble about large numbers in the class, but sit through their lesson and you will feel like tearing your hair, as they are so dull and boring.

PRE PRIMARY IS EVEN WORSE- Now you have courses that run for 3 months, 6 months, great brands are running them and students get hoodwinked, they feel they can get jobs earlier, not realising that when you do a course like this you will get a job but you will not get the right salary and further because you have incomplete qualifications you will be a failure as a teacher.

There are plenty of women and men out there who still want to come back to teaching but things need to change. Schools need to understand that staff attrition which is killing their quality and affecting children adversely too will only stop if you raise the bar of your salaries. And educational department needs to look into the qualifications, raise the bar of the teaching profession, and change the redundant curriculum.

Are teachers also to be blamed where growth is concerned?
There is plenty of growth if one looks creatively and again here the education department needs to put its foot down. There are so many publications, workbooks etc in the market that need educational consultants, but are designed by novices, or a secondary teacher is designing primary material so on. If teachers used their talent they can link up with design houses whether it is c.d roms, educational channels they need consultants, have teachers looked at this?

It is definite growth. but here again first teachers need to work on their knowledge base of the science of teaching, half the worksheets we collected from various ‘top’ schools in Mumbai and Delhi had basic reading and writing errors and these were being used by the school.
Even the Cambridge published book on reading and spelling has a major error- all the words are printed in all capitals. Think about it, the child has to convert all capitals into small in his mind and then remember it!!!!!!

Do teachers know the reasoning behind why they use a four line book to teach children to write when ultimately the child will have to use a single line book? Won’t the child get less confused with a three line book where the middle dotted line will disappear over time and the child is then easily writing on a single line?
Erik Erickson, Kohlberg are theories that all teachers must understand to be able to practice behaviour management, do they even know these names after doing B.ed or an Ecced?

Do they know the connection between physical-motor and cognitive development? If they did they would not insist that children fold their hands and put their fingers on their lips when the teacher is teaching.

Till teachers do not understand their teaching and the science behind it teachers will not get any growth. Just like a doctor will never grow if he cannot diagnose his patients if he cannot understand and cure them.

New Zealand has one of the best practices to ensure that all professionals are up to the mark and keeping in touch with latest research in their field, so here all teachers and doctors have to give an exam every year and get their new qualifications. Now that’s called quality.

How many of our teachers read about their profession or subject?

Friends lets change the way the world looks at teachers, let’s bring respect back to the profession. Any suggestions?