'Your job's a joke!'
The people who want the best for your kids are often under-appreciated and even mocked.
Imagine working in an industry that is constantly ridiculed, where your clients do not respect you and your methods are questioned. Would you continue doing it? Imagine you trained for years to obtain the necessary qualifications to do your job and your chosen profession is one that is so often seen as a joke.
Your salary is fairly average and you sometimes question your reasons for continuing on this path.
You’re one of thousands like you: a teacher.
“Those who can’t, teach”?
Yes, we all know that the South African education system is flawed and we are in dire need of quality educators but the constant ridicule around it can be quite disheartening for teachers. We have high school students who have lost respect for their teachers and have little to no interest in their own education and parents who are apathetic about working with their child’s teacher. Why then would you want to be a teacher?
Because at the end of the day, we know that we are responsible for moulding minds and shaping futures. There are some really great teachers out there who consider their position a calling rather than an occupation.
Meet the teachers
I spoke to a few teachers from different spheres of the education spectrum and asked them why they do what they do.
Mr Stoltz: English and History Teacher at Norman Henshilwood High School:
I teach because I can’t imagine doing anything else. I have a passion for education and for educating our youth. The fulfilment I get when seeing my learners understand concepts and content is a feeling that people cannot comprehend. It’s so fulfilling knowing that you are part of a child’s holistic development and that you as a teacher are working with the future of South Africa.
Mrs Constable: Grade 2 Teacher at Oakley House:
I went into teaching because it is part of who I am. It is my passion, not a profession. However for financial reasons I left a government school and joined a private school. Firstly because it was closer to home and with the rising fuel costs, I couldn’t afford the petrol. Resources were also limited and I ended up spending a big part of my salary on teaching aids that the budget didn’t allow. I don’t receive any benefits such as medical aid or maternity benefits but I do get a better percentage increase each year. It would be lovely to get paid the salary teachers deserve but there are just some things money can’t buy. Job satisfaction is one of them.
Mrs Sutton: Pre-school Teacher at Sunny Skies Nursery School:
I believe it takes a special kind of person to teach pre-school. You need to be creative, gentle and above all else have a large amount of patience. Having all of these qualities is vital to being a good teacher. I felt I had these and so I chose this profession. I also teach because of the joy I get watching little ones develop in all aspects of their lives. They get such an amazing sense of achievement when they reach their milestones and I love witnessing that.
Mrs Laaks: Grade 0 International School of Qatar:
I do it because it’s rewarding, fun and fascinating to see how children grow in the time they are with you. I love to see the little people they are becoming, hopefully while instilling in them good morals, compassion and social skills.
These are just a few teachers who feel that their job is more than a career. The theme that comes through seems to be one of passion. Take heart, parents- there are teachers out who really have your child's education at heart and, despite the obstacles, enjoy teaching.
Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.
Do you know any special teachers? What makes them stand out?