Dear me! Dr. Lal Sharma, for someone with your level of academic status, you do not seem to grasp the word “strike.” (Children suffer when teachers and their employers fight, Progress letters, Jan. 12.) Now, take a drive by a school, and then kindly tell me if you see teachers holding placards outside their respective schools. I don’t believe I do, neither does the public. What I have just described to you is call a “strike.” What you have indicated in your letter is called “job action”, not a strike. Dedicated teachers continue to get up at ungodly hours and head to their schools in the morning to put in hours, long before you and I start our regular work hours, during a regular work week. Long after you and I call it a day, sit back and relax, these teachers continue to work from home, calling parents/guardians and no, the work does not stop here. There’s more – they have to stay awake into the ungodly hours of the nights, marking and preparing lesson plans.
Haven’t you noticed that there’s hardly been any publicity in this matter, simply because there has been no disruption, neither to parents nor students? Oops, pardon me, maybe a slight imposition on the ‘higher ups’, who now has to drag themselves out of their comfortable office to do bus duties!
I do not agree with your view that the kids are suffering, but I do share your concern with regards to the low literacy skills. What does it take for this government to fix the problem, you ask? The teachers’ concerns need to be addressed, the chief one being, the classroom sizes. As a parent who has raised two kids, the experience of meeting each one’s individual needs throughout their growing years, has been rather challenging at times. Now, visualize a classroom with twenty-five of these youngsters (not forgetting the three-to-four special need kids) ranging from ages five to 12 – get the picture?
So, teachers continue to work 12 to 16 hours a day, six days a week, facing insurmountable challenges educating our young. These dedicated professionals deserve an audience with our stoic government, who are busy lining their pockets with whopping 11 per cent to 16 per cent pay hikes, and have no qualms telling the teachers that there is no money for wage increment!
BTW, notice the politicians are rather silent as there has been no public outcry. Why? You guessed it Dr. Lal Sharma, teachers are not on strike.
Kee Lang Teo-MacDonald