Thu | Dec 8, 2016

Raise respectability of teaching profession

Published:Saturday | February 28, 2015 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I am a student teacher attending the University of Technology Jamaica (UTech). I have a strong passion for the teaching profession and the course I am currently pursuing. I feel deeply hurt when I look at the state of the teaching profession in Jamaica.

I can recall my mother talking fondly of when teaching was a respected profession and parents trusted and worked with teachers because they were sure that all teachers had the interests of their students in mind.

The teaching profession now is widely disregarded and rooted to the bottom of the average Jamaican's list of desirable jobs. Step into any classroom and ask the students which profession they aspire to, and I guarantee that you can count on one hand the number of students who will say they want to become a teacher.

Why is it that doctors or lawyers have to be sure that they want to pursue such a path before actually going on that route, but any person with five or more CSEC subjects can get into teachers' college if they get rejected by other schools?

Many persons entering university view the teaching profession as a back-up in case they are unable to get into their profession of choice. I personally know students at UTech who are in the Faculty of Education and Liberal Studies because they were not able to get into other faculties. This, I believe, produces teachers who are not truly interested in making a positive change in the lives of their students.

NEED TO BE SURE

I believe that the criteria for entering teachers' college should be such that students have to be sure that they want to be a teacher before taking that route.

Could we raise the bar for accepting students in teachers' colleges? Could there be a prerequisite subject implemented at the sixth-form or other pre-university level that is specifically related to the teaching profession?

As a profession that is responsible for educating the future doctors, lawyers, ministers, engineers, etc, teaching as a profession should be leading from the front. It should be one of the hardest jobs to get.

If the bar is to be raised, however, I recognise that the benefits must balance the effort required. If we are going to raise the bar for persons entering the profession, $60,000 or less per month for a graduate who spent four years in university is not even close to being sufficient.

RANDENE HARRISON

Mineral Heights, Clarendon