TEACHERS: Losing sight of the job description
By : MARISA DEMORI, Ipoh
I STRONGLY object to the statement by Hashim Adnan, president of the National Union of the Teaching Profession, that "Teaching has lost its appeal because it is perceived as a woman's job." (NST, June 21).
The problem is teachers, the Education Ministry and parents have lost sight of the job description attached to the profession of a teacher. As a result, the teaching profession has been expanded, enlarged and extended to include duties and responsibilities that have nothing to do with the actual job of educating children.
A teacher is not someone entrusted with the moral education of a child and with inculcating discipline or the rigours of military-style training. Rather, a teacher is a person who facilitates the acquisition of knowledge.
A teacher is the means by which the education system can ensure that students learn the contents of the syllabus established as necessary for the background knowledge of each student in order to proceed with his studies and also advance in life.
A teacher relies on textbooks and workbooks to deliver knowledge. Therefore, good textbooks are essential for them to carry out their work adequately. The teacher also regularly gives tests and examinations to make sure that the students know the syllabus.
If a teacher wants to have good students, she must have been a good student previously and done well academically. The sound academic record of a teacher is proof that she has what it takes to impart knowledge to others.
The acquisition of knowledge is best achieved when the teacher is patient, caring and understanding. The quality of understanding, in particular, is dictated by love, and since women have more love in their hearts than men, they are better suited to be teachers.
Besides facilitating the acquisition of knowledge, another essential task of the teacher is to determine the child's abilities and to spot and help develop his talent. A teacher is best suited to do this because she sees many students and thus becomes a good judge of character. Additionally, a teacher is impartial.
A teacher's assessment, on the other hand, is based on experience and backed by the child's performance in school and his test results. Assessing a child's ability correctly is vital so that the child can pursue the right career in life.
There is no doubt that women make better teachers. Being mothers, women are naturally inclined to empathise with a child's needs in the classroom. Women are also more observant, meticulous, and better organised than men. They are also better communicators, listeners and speakers. All of these are qualities necessary to a teacher. There are many jobs men can do better than women but when it comes to teaching, women have the undisputed advantage.
Teaching is not a difficult job when the right tools and the right environment are at hand. An experienced teacher will certainly find her task fairly easy to perform because teaching is a repetitive job. Monotony is probably the greatest danger to the teacher as it can make her lose focus and concentration. Thus, the biggest challenge for the teacher is not to teach, but to make sure that she keeps on teaching.
The teaching profession is suited to women because many of them are married and have families. After spending half day in school, they still have enough time to be with their families.
I believe the ministry has incorrectly interpreted the job description of teachers and thus unnecessarily extended their workload and working hours.