OUTLOOK — By Huda Al Jahwariya — Two weeks ago we received some messages and comics which featured the feelings of teachers before the beginning of the new school year. I wondered why teachers complain about their jobs more than other employees! I have come to this assumption not after conducting studies or reading any detailed report. In fact, this is the result of my observation and interaction with teachers in this sector.
People have featured teachers as lazy people longing to get more and more holidays. Teachers have created an impression that, no matter if their students miss classes, they want to free themselves of the burden of teaching. Whether the description is true or not, I believe that this is an indicator that reveals a risky problem which leads parents to enrol their children in private schools instead of the public ones.
I remember my school days some 10 years ago when some of my classmates expressed their wish to become teachers in future as they had great respect for teachers and the profession of teaching. I see now that this respect does not exist any longer.
In all positions and jobs, there must be reasons for complaints. However, I ask myself a lot about the reasons for the increasing discontent among teachers. It could be due to the fact that the education is one of the biggest sectors in the Sultanate. With the widespread use of social communication means, complaints and grievances easily spread among the community.
I asked a group of people about their opinion on the growing resentment among teachers and their complaints. Their opinion was similar to mine as they said teachers were complaining about the pressures of teaching and the associated activities at school. A teacher is not only obliged to take around 25 classes every week but also entitled to supervise other activities.
Teachers complain that they have to buy prizes for the winning students in such activities and competitions from their own pockets. They complain that they spend half a day in the school and come back home to prepare lessons for the next day. Besides teaching and supervising student activities, they also have to monitor the buses transporting the students at the end of the day.
The teachers hate their responsibility to supply food for students in the cafeteria of the school. They also complain about their plight of going far away from their villages to teach in a distant school. Lack of courses that could enhance their teaching abilities, arduous daily routine and the troubles that students make at school are the other problems.
I believe that the future of the country is in the hands of teachers. They can provide a bright or dark future depending on the ideas they instil in our children. The ministry needs to consider the ways that could bring the confidence of teachers back. The teaching community also misses incentives which could improve their status in society.