There are times when I’m grateful that Baby attends private school, even if the fees are sometimes a killer. Today is one of those days.
As you know, teachers have gone on strike indefinitely, until government commits to giving them a salary increase they are demanding. I am angry on behalf of young South Africans, especially those who are in matric and need to be getting ready to prepare for the final exams. The exams are stressful enough on their own, without their having the additional burden of not feeling prepared.
Yes, I know it’s the teachers’ constitutional right to go on strike if their employer is not willing to pay them a fair wage. But my sympathy ends when people who have consciously made adecision to make a career out of caring for and educating our children do things that they know are not in the best interests of these children, just so they can win an argument with their employer.
They may be right; government may be acting like Scrooge. But that’s beside the point in my view, because the people who pay the highest price in this argument are the kids, who are counting on getting a scholarship and need to get high marks to meet the requirements, but may not be able to do so because they did not get the full benefit of the academic year. Or maybe they will miss getting an exemption by just a few percentage points that they might have gotten, had they actually been granted the full academic year. Which means that they will never be admitted to a university, which limits their career options, earning potential and the future of the next generation.
Or , maybe I’m just jealous, because throughout my career, I’ve worked in environments where, if you didn’t like the conditions, you were free to leave. Don’t think you're paid what you're worth, or the bills are starting to exceed your earnings? Work hard to get a promotion, or if that doesn’t work, go find another position at another company. Your career doesn’t pay enough? Never fear. You’re free to change careers, get a second, part-time job selling Tupperware or doing multi-level marketing or whatever else you can do to make more money.
You can even launch a blog, start telling us all about your lousy job, build a big readership and earn loads of mooola through advertising revenue. (OK, the last part is mostly urban legend, though there are enough people pulling it off to motivate everyone else to keep trying.)
And once again, I’m not saying the teachers are not entitled to a fair salary increase. But if government says it can’t afford to offer as much as they want, from a personal level, I’d say it’s time for these individuals to create new opportunities for themselves.
I suppose another thing that irritates me is that we're talking about educated people here. Teachers. Role models who are supposed to show our children that the world is full opportunities and all they have to do is get the skills, work hard and be persistent. And all they can do for themselves is whine? Where's that creativity in thought that they're supposed to be teaching our children?
P.S. For the teacher who supports the strike and wandered to my site ( by accident???), my mother is a retired school principal. And for as long as I can remember, she sold atchaar, vegetables, tupperware and everything else she could get her hands on to supplement her income.
And from the time I was in high school, I volunteered as a literacy tutor and later, volunteered at the Saturday school for the Programme for Technological Careers (PROTEC), a national NGO that offered science and maths high school students additional tutoring so they can pass matric and get into good university programmes. So yes, I do understand the teacher's lot. I also understand how much many of the kids from villages and townships needed extra tuition just to get by, and their being short-changed on the basic teaching they should get is just not right.
BTW, I'm currently reading a brochure which explains what child sexual abuse is, giving definitions and a glossary of terms. It's giving me the willies. But if you're interested, get it here.