BESIDES the heavy workload of teachers, I would like to highlight their poor working condition and environment. Almost all other government departments have better working conditions.
Hospitals, police stations and other government departments are now fully air-conditioned but teachers have to slog in hot and humid classrooms where the fans and lights are sometimes spoilt.
The male teachers would love to wear ties in the classroom but the humidity does not work in their favour.
It can be argued that some schools have air-conditioned staff rooms but how many are that privileged?
Even if the staff rooms are air-conditioned, there is an unwritten rule that we can only switch on the air-conditioners after 10am.
In some schools, the fans are not allowed to be switched on in the morning. Students are only allowed to do so after recess to cut cost.
Students will not be comfortable learning under such conditions.
Teachers are professionals and soon even primary schools will be flooded with graduates and they deserve better treatment than this.
Canteens in schools, compared to other government departments, are also far from satisfactory.
The space or room allocated for teachers is congested and stuffy and don’t come with air-conditioning.
Thanks to privatisation of the general workers, our toilets are much cleaner but a great deal has to be done to upgrade the facilities.
Having only one or two small cubicles as toilets for teachers is embarrassing.
Correct me if I am wrong, but all other government staff except teachers are provided with stationery.
Teachers use more pens than anybody else but we are not provided with these.
Nowadays, we are compelled to use white board markers which do not come cheap.
There are schools which provide each teacher with two markers at the beginning of the year.
We are told to buy our own refills or get new markers. Each marker hardly lasts a week.
I am not being petty about buying marker pens and other stationery but why do other government staff enjoy such facilities while teachers have to shoulder such expenses?
I feel teachers are the most under-rated civilian staff and they deserve better treatment and opportunities for promotion.
Most of us get promoted not on merit but on the time-based system.
It cannot be denied that the Education Ministry has been creating more opportunities
for promotion but what percentage of the profession does that represent?
To add to the woes of
senior teachers at secondary schools, young teachers have been employed to teach
Form Six classes just because they get to jump to a higher scale.
Senior teachers who have been teaching Form Six classes all these while are relegated to lower forms.
Some argue that young teachers should be given a chance to get quick promotions. But what about the seniors?
Don’t they deserve some recognition too?
While other departments have their own fleet of vehicles for official purposes, teachers have to fend for themselves. Not all teachers can afford luxury cars and pupils feel
shy to make a trip in a teacher’s car as it is not flashy enough.