Oh what a lovely idea I did hear this morning while I was brushing my teeth:'Let teachers teach one to two hours extra a week for the same pay check.' Yeah!!! Well that just made my day, ladies and gentlemen. It only got more interesting when my other significant one said:'Yeah, why not? It is just one more lesson. That is not much.' And then I wanted to actually spit out my toothpaste and starting to use rather foul language.
Now before I go on I need to get something straight so that you know what Stallie does think about all the fuss that is going on in the political arena of my beloved nation. I am fully aware that we all need, and do not worry all of us will, to cut down&downsize. Our government tries to find money but only comes across debts. So we first need to get rid of the debt before we can invest again and start spending again. Makes sense.
I do agree that if we want safeguard our public health care system, still have the hope to retire at an agreeable age and then have a pension (I am already not counting on that one anymore but still let us stay positive) and make sure that when a person is in real need he or she does find financial support we need to stay a financially healthy nation to live in. Stallie thinks all of this is vital enough to have some major budget cuts. The problem is that some of these new budgetary plans do not make sense and this educational one is a budget cut in disguise and it worries me....
Now don't think it is because I am a teacher myself that I do not applaud loudly. Ladies and gentlemen, I have never ever counted my hours that I did put into my job. First of all I am happy to have a job and it is one I was after since my childhood. Teaching makes me very happy. It feels like a second skin and without a classroom filled up with children I can not function at my best. Passionate I am stil about what I do and I don't care how long I will need to work before I gain my pension status. It does not matter to me. I do hope to keep that mental status for a very long time.
The people who know me personal know that my educational hotspot is not the average school. It is totaly different then most of the schools that you will know. Yes, it is a private school and yes it is blessed when it comes to being financial healthy and it does offers its students and staff resources that will make your head spin if you ever get to visit. It is heaven. No, I am not overreacting. To me it is one of those places where you as a teacher won't find a single excuse not to be the best teacher you possible can be. To be honest this place is what most schools should feel&look like. It buzzes with energy and it sends out very positive learning vibes.
Now, don't get me wrong. Globally the outside of a school does not tell you a lot of what goes on in there. Chances are very likely that you yourself have been going to a school that needed some major improvements. I have myself taught in a school where the principal told parents that if they would choose this school they shouldn't look at the building but have faith in the people that work in that building. In Belgium most public schools, and I am tempted to say that this all across the world a fact, manage to do more with less.
Believe me, I have been part of a team that for a time had to do more with even less because we were dreaming of a new school building. We managed!!! I am still proud of that achievement. Most of all I am still impressed with my former colleagues. No, it was not a stroll through the parc. There were moments that I did wonder if this was not a bridge too far. In my head I wondered if it was worth to invest myself in my classroom or teaching like buying my own paper for students when chances were likely that the budget was about to run out. And I did make students write more once or twice a week instead of running to the photocopy machine. Also I did not mind having to work extra hours to find extra funding for my school. I planted my hands more then once into the ground to cut weeds and I have done millions of dishes. It was worth it. If I would still work there then I would still gladly put my name up on lists to make my work place a better place. After all more money means a 'better' school for my students. Or should I say the school then can offer the learning opportunities that students deserve.
Because according to me should the core business of a teacher be:' caring about students their education'. Teachers are the 'life- coaches who have been given the task to stimulate, observe, motivate, nurture, research, evaluate, encourage youngsters and let them find out what they are good at. It is inside of a school that children find out what living is all about. The spot where dreams meet up with reality. Sometimes it might not be the most colorful and well equipped place we all dream of. So we then need teachers in order to preserve the world and be sure that the generations to come can function at their full potential.
So you might think that an extra hour will then do miracles. Yeah, keep on dreaming ladies and gentlemen. If it would work like that what is then your excuse not to work an hour longer? Sorry, if I now hurt sombody's feelings. Every single one of us is after a happy, balanced and healthy life. Not straightforward in the 21st century a time where I do think there are no guarantees anymore. Let us be honest, the world we live in is so much more complicated and at times you might even wonder what it has come to. The youth journal can not even stay away from issues like conflict, war, destruction, uproar,..... I did try to find this week one episode without any of those ingredients and I failed...
That one extra hour might be that one extra morgage we won't be able to carry. It won't have the effect we are after. It won't life up to its expectations. Because you know what? A teacher their timetable is a minefield. It harldy tells you what they really do. It only tells you the hours they are inside a classroom and if you want to survive inside of that room you need to put in many more hours.
Now, don't start me about all those teachers you know who do or did seem to have such an easy time and only do or did teach out of a ready made course book. I also know some of them. But this is just a minority and to be honest it are those that will never have the honor to make a difference in a life of a student. They only will be remembered for the reason that they did seem only be there to do their expected time and get the job done.
The issue is not that teachers will need digest a budget cut. They will already do this at so many levels before they even enter a classroom. And then the government seems to have forgotten that they have them signed up already for the ultimate challenge of a lifetime:offering every single child with or without special needs top education. They will have to put in extra hours to make the dream come true of every single child that will walk into their classroom. Their workspot will be a more challenging environment then most of us work in. Yeah, believe me some of you do not have a clue what challenges teachers are up against.
Belgian schools and also universities are already asked to be prepared to become more professional challenged and bring extra sacrifices in the years to come. Still, I have not come across any effective plans to guarantuee that they will be offered the backup, the help, funding, training, solutions, extra staff (!!!) and most of all extra time to make it work for our children, the future generations who will have to do it with less, in harsher financial economical circumstances in a world that makes less sense. I don't think that one to two hours will do that trick because:
I want a teacher inside of that classroom who does have the time to get to know every single child she/he teaches up,close and personal and believe me they also do that outside of their teaching hours. I want a teacher who teaches my child about the real challenges it will face in the future or teaches them skills in order to think outside of the box, gives them space and time to get it first a few times wrong before getting it right, I want a teacher who has the courage to stand up for every single soul inside of her/his room and knows by heart what their strengths are and is able to put their weaknesses into the right perspective, I want a teacher who can get my child to listen to stories that sometimes are left untold because they are misunderstood but need to be taken serious because they might be hiding that one missing link to get to a solution, I want a teacher who still is aware how the brain of a child functions and that it is needs more then just math and spelling,.....basically I want a super teacher.... I don't ask for much, do I?
I guess it is time to grant teachers some extra credit... They already invest so much into the lives of many but never ask for extra credit....
PS:The music going along with this one might not make any sense but the people who know the books and the movies 'The Hunger Games" know what these books have meant to me while I have been teaching my last year in my special school. I found out thanks to this book that if you push children to a higher level that what remains is so much worth then I ever could imagine. The moment your students catch fire and you hope that you are near by to witness the effect it has. It is one of my best teaching experiences I ever had in my teaching career.