Oh sure, it's the teacher's fault!
THE EDITOR, Sir:
As an undergraduate, many of my family and well-wishers questioned and devalued my decision to pursue a teaching degree. Now, having completed my studies, I have come face-to-face with not only their concerns but with a society where teachers are to be blamed for just about every academic, social, economic and political problem.
I am to blame for Jamaican students' inferior test scores compared to those in other Caribbean islands. I am to blame if students can't read and are undisciplined. And if my students don't earn all grade ones in the external exams, it must be my fault; after all, I am the teacher.
A large percentage of the children eat their only hot meal of the day at school through the school's feeding programme. I am just a teacher in a classroom where many of the children have special needs; are abused or are victims of neglect; and parent themselves.
I try to motivate and inspire students who are more concerned with who sent them a message on Facebook. But as a teacher, I do more than help students answer questions, and my job goes way beyond the classroom.
Teachers have to supervise the lunchroom, break up fights, grade papers until midnight, counsel, and be mother and father to those in our care. Hence, every day is a challenge, but we do it for the love.
I am, etc.,