I found this article extremely sad that, there are so many people who are unable to even master the basics of 3R – Reading, wRiting, aRithmetic – at the end of high school. It is a sad state of affairs when our high school leavers are not even able to do the basics needed in everyday life.
Who do we blame for such a state of affairs?
More specifically, the quality of teachers in our schools today. While the teaching profession used to be a seriously respected and sought after profession, such is not the situation today. From what I have heard, many of our teachers today enter teaching because they were not able to secure better options.
Something needs to be done about the scenario where people apply to teacher training if they are unable to secure a place in a public university. Teaching should be a first port of call for those with a passion to teach, and not the last chance at earning a decent living for the desperate.
Of course, this is a generalisation, but a surprisingly realistic generalisation.
While remuneration is often cited as the main issue, it isn’t. Money is important but teachers today are not that badly paid anymore. The situation has improved a lot in recent years. Except in KL city, teachers are actually earning a decent amount and can survive fairly well.
From my many years of teaching experience, I have come to realise one thing about the syllabus – it is not important. The reason is because the syllabus merely tells you what topics need to be taught but not how. In my opinion, the how is far more important than the what because it is the how that will inspire.
That is why we need good teachers – it’s the how that is important, not what.
The grind kills more than anything else. I would say that this is the most important aspect and determines whether a teacher stays a motivated teacher or becomes a tired old crone. The issue at hand is whether or not the current system supports good teachers and motivates them to grow into great ones.
If our students are unable to even master the 3R, I feel that this is the main problem. If the system is flawed, even the greatest teachers would not survive it. Therefore, I think that it is the system that needs the most fixing. The process of fixing it would include ways to encourage our best to teach.
Would I teach?
I am already doing so, at various levels. I would encourage others to do so too. Volunteer to work with kids if you want to. There are so many out there that need some good adult supervision and guidance.
Do not give up on our kids as they are our future.