Nation e-Edition

Way off the mark

By – AMANDA LINDSAY

| Mon, January 21, 2013 - 12:01 AM

Way off the mark ()

IF I DID NOT KNOW better I would think that the letter writer Tammy Gaskin-Lewis (January 15 MIDWEEK NATION, Page 10A) was writing in an era long, long gone.

Her letter, given the caption (ironically, I believe) Alexandra Teachers Being Childish, seems to belong to an era when workers had no right to express concern about the conditions under which they worked; an era before the legality of trade unions and the right of workers to organize and demand that their labour and humanity be respected and that they not be treated as mere objects by their employers.

I do not know if any of this means much to Ms Gaskin-Lewis but I thank God for the vision and courage of some of our National Heroes to fight against unjust labour conditions and practices and, most significantly, conceptions that marked such an era.

It really distresses me to see how some of the characteristics and ideas of that unenlightened era are now sinisterly creeping back into our modern society.

From the depths of Ms Gaskin-Lewis’ letter, I hear the echoes of that unfortunate “go and teach de people children do” mentality which I wrote about recently. At its heart, I maintain, exists a failure to appreciate what exactly being a teacher entails and, thus, a disrespect of that profession.

It all comes out in that one statement: “But if this job is something that you love to do, it should not matter where you go.”  It is precisely because of this love and commitment that one demands that the conditions and environment in which one works (whether coming from or going to) are conducive to the most effective teaching and, thus, the most effective learning. I have heard this said more than once by the teachers and I could not agree with them more.  

Can Ms Gaskin-Lewis honestly say the timing and the manner of the implementation of these “transfers” create an environment most conducive to effective teaching and learning?

Isn’t anyone troubled by the stark contrast between the assurances of the Chief Education Officer that a careful study of the comparative skill sets was done on the teachers to be scattered to ensure “compatibility” and the revelations we now hear that all sorts of new teachers have to be hired because of the incompatibility of the moves? At an extra, unnecessary financial burden to us, the taxpayers of this country!

I think that the lesson our young people can learn from this is not ever to become the unthinking, unquestioning victims of propaganda that so many adults have become. Critically analyze their world and be able to differentiate appearance from reality.

Absolutely vital, wouldn’t you agree?

Also, that in spite of all the challenges that will be faced when making a principled stand against injustice, standing up for what is right and decent is always better than accepting wrong because as soon as you do, the perpetrators of wrong become further emboldened and continue their wickedness with even greater vengeance.

Which student do you think can fail to see the rank illogic of moving his/her teachers in the middle of the school year?

How many students do you think can fail to see the folly of [sending] them teachers who cannot teach the subjects the removed teachers [taught]?  

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