I have always known that there are problems in education and in schools which are bad but actually living the experience is a whole different thing. Describing the situation from the outside is just highlighting a problem based on what it seems on the surface, but experiencing it is actually feeling the problem on so many multilayered levels which is a much deeper concept than just knowing the problem exists.
This week really tested me as new teacher, and I feel that I might be putting it lightly. Actually, it felt like I was breaking. Oddly, I wasn’t breaking in the sense of wanting to give up or leave; it felt as though I was breaking into a new me that wants to fight for something better. That is better schooling, better efficiency, better resources, better management, better conditions in every way. Without giving too much context, I was told, ” … because this is the public sector, this is education, everything is slower …” In a sense, I could understand that public eduction is slow to change or react to its surroundings, however I could not accept that it was excuse to actually be slower and inefficient as an organisation in the public sector as though it is on purpose, instead of striving to be better. I know it is not easily done as it is said.
My academic year began with an internal school crisis which was really a two in one situation, making my problems bigger than they actually needed to be. This made me feel greatly disadvantaged this week (still do) and out of place, sort of like I was unplanned and then tossed aside. I could finally understand the realities of so many teachers in the country who are just trying to make ends meet on a daily basis, without being given much to work with in order to succeed. I could feel the overwhelming anxiety that makes you feel so helpless and a bit lonely when you are asking for help and clarity but nothing. Knowing very well that promises had been made, yet none of them delivered.
We often hear that the government or the Department of Education will provide resources to schools and improve the work lives of educators by training them well, reducing workload or paying them what they are worth. But why have we lost so many teachers in a short span of time, why is teaching an unwanted profession, why does a teacher have to struggle to get adequate support??? I finally understood, and I must say, it hurt pretty bad. Whether it be on a larger scale nationwide or within a particular school we are all affected.
No school is perfect. However, I think that they could be managed better by taking care of the teachers who work tirelessly and bend over backwards to deliver quality to learners everyday. Schools should be equipped to support them (me included, support us) and all our needs to be successful before even arriving (referring to newly appointed teachers). The massive difference this would have made to my first week is unimagineable. I cannot blame anyone, everyone has been operating in a state of shock due to bad news that was recieved earlier in the week and unfortunately deeply rooted problems cannot be solved in a day.
Good news is that I was recognised as a teacher who is willing to go above and beyond to be the best and do what is best for her learners. I wanted to accept and believe it because it is a great thing to be told in your first week of school, but in the same conversation I was being reprimanded, I could not proceed with my efforts. That felt like a punch in the throat, but it be like that. To some extent I was wrong, but I also felt I had exhausted my pleas for help seeing that everything from before is still on hold. Everything comes back to negatively affect the learners, it almost felt like I ran out of choices. Oh well, we live to fight another day.
I believe that I am willing to go above and beyond, not because I want to impress anyone, I think it is just who I am. I would like to see what I am capable of doing and how I am able to learn and grow from this entire experience however long or short it is. Maybe this is where I am meant to be or maybe I am the sore thumb and secretly the universe is trying to find ways to get me out. I was told that because of my drive and go-getter spirit, I would do great in business (the corporate world/private sector). I think that is true, but I believe I will do fantastic in my teaching career because I do not think that being in the public sector is an excuse to be anything less.
A message to all teachers:
It kept me going and I hope it keeps you going as well!
Thank you for your precious time. You’ll be hearing from me again next week! 🙂
Beautiful piece, hope you experience better weeks going forward
LikeLiked by 1 person
Beautifully written. I am very impressed of your courage to do great exploits in teaching; be assured, that you are part of the solution to education crisis in South Africa. I will be watching your blog closely.
LikeLiked by 1 person