Mon | Apr 23, 2018

Teacher refuses to strike - Says it would hinder students' education

Published:Wednesday | March 14, 2018 | 12:00 AMCarlene Davis/Gleaner Writer
Jody Titus-Maxwell

With teachers opting to stay home for three days as a sign of protest over the Government's latest wage offer, one teacher is sticking by her decision not to join the unofficial strike.

Jody Titus-Maxwell, an educator for 11 years, who has worked at Glenmuir High School in Clarendon since September last year, teaches Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) sociology, Caribbean studies and history and says, while she understands the reason for the protest and supports her fellow teachers, the timing is not right.

"I am not against taking industrial action, but, based on what we all know as teachers, I don't think it was the right time to strike.

"I have a CAPE history class on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, so I would be missing almost five hours of teaching or more. I cannot give up those hours at a critical time when I'm preparing students for exams," said Titus-Maxwell.

The exam is scheduled for May, but students will take a one-and-a-half-week break for Easter, and Titus-Maxwell says there is still a lot of work to be done. In 2016, one of Titus-Maxwell's student received an award for placing first in the Caribbean for CAPE tourism.

"The syllabus is very long and the requirements for history at the CAPE level have a very high standard. For me to sit out these three days, I don't see where I would be able to give them back," said Titus-Maxwell.

She said she understands the struggles teachers face and she's going through the same, as it relates to salaries, but insists that it can't just be all about the money.

"As a professional, it couldn't be just about the money, because, as an organisation, we should equally be concerned about the performance of our students. So, for me to strike at this time, it would be like it's all about the money, and it's not all about the money; there are many other issues in the school other than wages that we should be pressing for," said Titus-Maxwell.

"I think we could have an impact without punishing students this way. When it comes on to this time, we are punishing the students more than we are punishing the Government," said Titus-Maxwell.

carlene.davis@gleanerjm.com