THE CONFESSIONS OF A PRIVATE TEACHER
By: Dr Khursheed Ahmad Wani
This article is based on the confessions that have been put forth by the teachers who are working in private run educational institutions and the lecturers who are working in different educational institutions on contract basis. Although, everyone has a different story to tell, but the problems in general are the same. Most of them are riddled with debt, had few liabilities to cover and are desperate. The agony increases when the salary of these teachers is deducted due to the indigenous policies.
Some of us are perhaps lucky to have a family that is supporting with all the odds around, as this may not be the case with everyone. I am in this profession from last 6 years and am not able to meet my ends. I have my colleagues who work in different institutions-some are contractual and many of them are in private educational institutions. Everyone has the same story to tell, they have their own feelings and own confessions. With a seemingly unsympathetic attitude of management and government, and schools/colleges/ universities juggling near impossible budgets, it’s not clear what the future is for my profession and what will be the fate of thousands of those who are in this profession.
There has been a significant emphasis on teacher’s workload causing stress and anxiety, but the issue of teachers pay has always been underestimated. We usually don’t sleep well and always think about money and there are days when the thought of getting out of bed seems impossible but we have to move. We know that one bill arriving could have catastrophic results. Our job is full of stress, the working hours are extremely long, and we manage our family in desperate situations. Yet, our lesson plans are detailed, enthusiastic, inspiring, motivational and differentiated, our resources are in order and our sympathy with students is very encouraging. You can see the difference in the classroom; our students are engaged, focused and appreciative of our hard work. All this and I still don’t enjoy our lunch every day, even we aren’t allowed to venture to chat with colleagues in the staff rooms.
We work in the evenings on the assignments to be prepared for the next day besides venturing into researches, reports, tutorials, observations, exam duties, counselling’s, inspections, testing’s and marking – we dealt with everything that is thrown at us and still outside campus I am not my own master. The response to emails, phone calls and visits to higher authorities is below par.
Most of us, like any other section of the society, have liabilities. Earlier we coped with all these things very happily given the promising job that we had been doing and the hopes of a better future. But now we are concerned, the future of seems bleak and we don’t know where this will lead us to.
As you might expect, our students are also affected by this system of education that requires too much from the students as well as teachers and that too in too little time.
Complaints by me and other teachers to the management have been met with excuses or silence. But while I can work around some reduction in resources on my part is imperative. Some of these tribulations put very real limits on student development. I am losing large chunks of lesson time, am unable to give my students what I am supposed to give.
The management needs improvement in class performance but they will not listen when we speak about the requirements for achieving such a result. This is not the case for me only as thousands of teachers have a similar story to tell. My colleagues and I am working leaps and bounds to improve the life chances of our children by teaching them instead of all these hardships. But the heartbreaking reality is that I can barely afford to do this job for a long time as the salary is too little to suffice my needs.
In certain institutions, the demography of teachers changes with the speed of light as the staff are terminated without citing any real reason, without bothering about their family, without adhering to the policies that were made at the time of appointment. However, if a teacher resigns the scheme is reversed and every single law and regulation is evoked.
One has to admit that most of us work for the proverbial ‘peanuts’ and its is fundamentally important for the authorities to look into this uncanny and bizarre practice in order to create some amount of certainty among the teachers.
The author teaches Environmental Science and is associated with GDC Bijbehara