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Treat teachers with dignity

Parents must come to the party and help their children with school work, says Lungi Maphalala. Photo: Supplied.

Lungi Maphalala says parents and learners should also be held accountable, not just educators

As I am writing this piece I am deeply saddened by the loss of two brilliant young mathematics and physical science educators, who have left us for the greener pastures of another country — Dubai, to be specific.

I must say it does look appealing when I see their pictures on Facebook. They are treated with dignity and are highly valued.

In my own country, as far as I am concerned, an educator is the equivalent of a volunteer when it comes to salary. It’s not easy for a teacher to own a decent car or a house, unless he or she is married to a rich person, inherited wealth or has a business on the side.

Running an extra business is also very difficult as educators are expected to give extra and intervention classes as well as attend accountability sessions, cluster meetings and workshops. I often feel like extending my 24-hour day to at least 28 hours.

I find it unfair that educators must account for learners who did not do their work or who failed to complete their tasks. Learners and parents are not invited to accountability sessions, and yet we wonder why learners drop out when they reach tertiary level! They simply cannot cope, as they were never taught to take responsibility. At tertiary level nobody runs after you; if you have not submitted an assignment you get a zero, simple as that … no two ways about it!

It is really so sad to see learners and parents who are satisfied with 30% pass. As long as they do not see a red pen in the reports they are satisfied, conveniently forgetting that learners who obtain 30% don’t know 70% of what was taught in class.

I suggest that when it comes to accountability sessions, learners and parents should also be invited. Educators commit to the fact that they are going to teach, so learners must commit to learning, and parents must commit to ensuring that their children do their homework and revise the work assigned to them.

An educator may have taught the lesson, but that does not actually mean learning took place, unless the learner learns! The learner be certain she learns by asking the educator to repeat, rephrase, speak louder, demonstrate etcetera, so that she acquires the necessary knowledge — otherwise we will have an ignorant nation!


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