Stu­dents and Teach­ers Head Back to the Class­room

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - --- C.E

Iknow, as school is about to re­open this Septem­ber, chil­dren must be feel­ing a lit­tle gloomy. Es­pe­cially those I saw rid­ing their bi­cy­cles on one wheel in the Rod­ney Bay Mall park­ing lot and those that were glid­ing on their skate­boards on road­sides. I could most def­i­nitely sym­pa­thize with the pop­u­la­tion of stu­dents about to sit in dreary traf­fic on Mon­day morn­ing. Go­ing back to school was never an ex­cit­ing event for me.

But what I didn’t re­al­ize then is that I was only one of very few peo­ple who gen­uinely hated school, and that teach­ing is more an act of servi­tude than a job.

Back in my school days, my class­mates and I loved spend­ing the ma­jor­ity of the week in each other’s com­pany. We were al­ways will­ing to learn new things and, over time, some of us re­al­ized just how much some teach­ers en­joyed serv­ing the coun­try by pro­vid­ing the ba­sis of ed­u­ca­tion to hun­dreds of us at a time.

Af­ter a seem­ingly end­less sum­mer, the re­open­ing of school will once again serve as an op­por­tu­nity for some par­ents to free them­selves of the bur­den of their chil­dren’s bad at­ti­tudes. The only plau­si­ble ex­pla­na­tion is that the above-men­tioned con­sider rais­ing a child more of the teacher’s job than their own! For­tu­nately, there are those who are just thank­ful for the fact that their chil­dren are able to get bet­ter learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties than they had.

And there are at least some oth­ers who are happy to hear that 8 a.m. shrill of the bell – our dear bus driv­ers who are promised a steady in­flux of bus fare on week­days, and the many can­teen per­son­nel and food stalls that are about to col­lect school allowance in gross quan­ti­ties as soon as school re­opens.

My school years weren’t too long ago, but speak­ing with teach­ers nowa­days makes it very ap­par­ent that school­ing has changed in dy­namic and of­ten chal­leng­ing ways.

As the 2017-2018 aca­demic school year is about to com­mence, it’s most im­por­tant to keep in mind the teach­ers who are per­form­ing a fun­da­men­tal job in society. Some who spent their fi­nal two weeks of va­ca­tion on school com­pounds pre­par­ing, and oth­ers who sac­ri­fice some of their salary to help chil­dren and par­ents in need. Teach­ers work hard try­ing to cater to the var­ied learn­ing needs of all their stu­dents. We should re­mem­ber that all stu­dents are not the same and in a coun­try where fa­cil­i­ties pos­sess in­suf­fi­cient sup­plies for ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion, some teach­ers have to use just that to mould th­ese stu­dents into func­tional and lit­er­ate mem­bers of society. And al­though it seems like they have more va­ca­tion days than any other pro­fes­sion, many teach­ers go home with their thoughts bur­dened by the lives of trou­bled stu­dents. But, they still love what they do and work hard.

While hun­dreds of chil­dren around the is­land are hes­i­tant about go­ing through those dreaded doors of ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions, one teacher from Bocage Sec­ondary School didn’t show the slight­est hint of re­luc­tance to tell the STAR, “I look for­ward to see how my stu­dents have grown – my past form one boys must be taller than me by now. I’m hop­ing we can have a pro­duc­tive term and that I can con­tinue to make a pos­i­tive change, no mat­ter how small.”

“I’m ex­cited to meet new faces and in­ter­act with new per­son­al­i­ties,” an­other joy­ously af­firmed. “Teach­ing is al­ways a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. You never know whom you’ll dis­cover, and each stu­dent stands out from the rest.”

Even with their en­thu­si­asm, teach­ers still have plenty that they would like to ask of the pub­lic. Some claim that their job isn’t get­ting any eas­ier as the gen­er­a­tions evolve. Al­though many busi­nesses have taken up their so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity by of­fer­ing scholarships, teach­ers would still like to im­plore the pub­lic to help rear the is­land’s youth, as they re­main the fu­ture of this coun­try.

An­other long-serv­ing teacher from the Cas­tries Com­pre­hen­sive Sec­ondary School of­fered the re­mark, “Over the past few years I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced ap­pre­hen­sion about go­ing back to school and main­tain­ing dis­ci­pline in the face of de­te­ri­o­rat­ing fam­ily val­ues and gen­er­ally poor par­ent­ing. Th­ese are ma­jor is­sues. Now, kids want re­wards they can see and don’t have the am­bi­tion to learn for them­selves.”

She added: “Teach­ers are no longer the ‘know-it-alls’. Tech­nol­ogy has cre­ated an ease of ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion. Now, we teach skills and we’re not the only ones who need help show­ing how th­ese skills should be used re­spon­si­bly.”

As the streets will once again be lit­tered with uni­formed stu­dents need­ing ed­u­ca­tion, guid­ance and pro­tec­tion, I hope we re­mem­ber that it is not just the job of the teach­ers, but our col­lec­tive society.

The re­open­ing of the new school term comes with an­other op­por­tu­nity to ap­pre­ci­ate those teach­ers who go above and be­yond!

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