Once Upon a Teacher…

Practically, all the educational organizations assign extra-curricular duties without any compensation to educators of the nation, which vary in nature with indeterminate cost of time. The utmost predicament is either-or workplace practices. If the teacher taking up the task can’t follow the administration’s diktat, he has to call it a day.

The admirable enthusiasm for profession and quotidian tasks is anticipated even after over capacitating the educator with assignments that are impracticable, inequitable, and unjust. For instance, a ‘super-human’ lecturing 34 out of 38 lessons a-week is decreed to watch over all the academic and non-academic goings-on as well as communicate the parents on daily basis. Furthermore, provide assistance to all the faculty, resolve the issues regarding students, perform guard’s duty during breaks and at dismissal time etc. Precisely, they are escorted by incessant miseries. Another example is of a builder of nation who is made a gatekeeper in order to stop the outsiders from entering during a concert; this not only degrade the teachers but also demotivates them. Another example is when a teacher is ordered to be stationed to perform duty at some place during any program or concert for more than three hours and some money is also deducted from their salary on the name of participation, which leads to demotivation, financial loss, and wastage of time. Such duties are having diverse implications on the outcome.

These unpaid tasks take the toll on the life and career of a teacher. Business-minded schools neither attach value to an educator nor to education itself. Corporatism instead of service drive the administration’s action in sweet pursuit of material goals.

When a position of greater responsibilities is allocated to an instructor without due reimbursement, the quality of teaching as well as the aspiration of the teacher nosedive. Sacrificing quality time with his family and friends, the man has little choice but to prepare the lecture. Lower wages drive him to teach part-time job in an academy or take a home tuition. Certain institutions burden its staff so much that moonlighting becomes a far cry. The most befitting example is of a teacher assigned with the role of academic coordinator. Not only his tasks don’t finish on the campus but also he remains boggled in pursuit of diverse responsibilities. It’s humanly impossible to deliver one’s best while being the Mr. Fixit of the institution.

The extracurricular activities are the most sophisticated and successful cashing bait of the private schools clique. Yet again, people seldom know about contributions of teachers working extra hours for the arrangements to be seamless and ceremonies to be so well choreographed. Instead of hiring the experts, the teaching staff organizes the so-called hiking, sports or science clubs.

The urbane form of slavery is slays the respect, grandeur and splendor of the noble profession. May they be after-school extra classes, evening gatherings or parent-teacher meeting on alternate Saturdays, the workhorses are usually accorded no choice or right. It is utterly unfathomable as to how can the knowledge be best delivered if the teacher does not have time to prepare for the lecture. Severed from the family and friends, a guardian of the nation’s future is suffocating to spiritual death. Their families adapt to material challenges and psychological insecurities amidst high hopes of exemplary social behavior.

The teaching staff is predominantly paid around PKR 45,000 per month while serving for undetermined work hours often stretching from early morning to near sunset. Saturdays and Sundays are occasionally different their routines on Mondays. Lack of career planning, absence of regulatory authority and hand-to-mouth lifestyle of teachers deters well-groomed and determined youth from adopting it for career.

Lack of proper attention to their core jobs of updating their own knowledge, preparing lectures with new information and evaluating tests and assignment with care for details have direct bearing on the institution’s result as well as capability of the student.

The national debate has yet to turn to educational institutions. Ironically, vast majority of teachers in Pakistan is still reluctant to talk about the institutional challenges as well social odds they face. Only a dying nation can be apathetic about its schools and colleges, and in essence towards its youth and the future.

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Naeem Ahmed Qazi

Naeem Ahmed Qazi

Naeem Ahmed Qazi is an educationist, researcher and professional editor.