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Teachers going the extra mile...

By Mark Fraser

I would like to respond to Catherine Kumar’s statements that “ Teachers can help instil a sense of worthiness in children” (Express, February 6). Too often, there are too many individuals standing on the outside looking in who are making vacuous statements without getting the facts.
Ms Kumar, while you are well respected in the business community, you do not have an iota of experience or knowledge of what is going on behind the scenes in schools. You need to accompany the Minister of Education or the Chief Education Officer at his meetings with principals. As a teacher in a supposedly prestige school, I am humbled by the reports on the efforts being made by school principals to arrest the myriad problems experienced.
Teachers are pressured to “perform” under terrible conditions: teachers have been threatened physically. Recall the teacher in Tobago who attempted to make an intervention and her life ended tragically. But these memories fade.
Ms Kumar, would you remain in a thankless profession even when a child vandalises your vehicle because he was disciplined? Yes, we have used tough love, nice love, all kinds of love, but they return to their homes and unlearn the values which we are trying to impart to them.
Do not use a broad paint brush to cast aspersions on the entire teaching profession. As in all professions, there are bad eggs marbled into the setup. Those of your ilk need to spend more time having conversations with those of us in the trenches.
We do not use the media for photo opportunities to demonstrate our love and caring. We have dug deep into our shallow pockets to provide basic needs to prevent our charges from falling through the cracks.
Are you aware that there are teachers who actually take students into their care to help them complete their education? We cannot save all, but we do save some and the success stories are sitting right there in your power-broking rooms.
This is just a snippet of my sentiments, but in spite of the negative criticisms, we will continue to make a significant contribution to society in redefining our spaces.
Debra Leonard-Simon
via e-mail
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