I go to a school which like many other governmental-run schools don’t pay attention and care to its teachers; teachers get paid too little, get too little merit, and as often is this case with teachers in my school – they don’t get the respect they deserve sometimes.
Supposedly most of the teachers at my school have been working for twenty or fifteen years. They often unshamingly brag about how long they have been working at the school.
Whenever the time to this type of conversation comes, the teacher recounts the past; the good and bad, the horrific times he has witnessed – “I, with my own eyes, saw a Russian tank just right there on the fourth floor, right where your Sar Malam’s (headmaster’s) office is…” – but most of all, he will say about how much things were better at his times.
Few weeks ago, the teachers, angry with how little they get paid, organized a protest. They demanded: “We want from Ashraf Ghani….” The list was long with what they demanded, but what they for sure deserved. Nothing among them were a privlige that made it a case-of-special-treatment. Today unmet with their demands they organized a similar protest. Still business as usual, nobody from the government showed up.
Teachers however, many of them unqualified, deserve better; just if nothing, for the sake of being a teacher in the profession-sense of it. Personally, I have seen situations in which a teacher gets hit back -physically- from a student. Students with those types of attitudes are no less of a thug. A couple of years ago, a teacher showed up with brusies on his face, he was beaten by a group of students who were ‘unhappy’ with their English subject marks. Only one of the prices a teacher has to pay to teach. To teach.
It’s quite heartbreaking when you hear stories of a teacher walking around asking for money – the teacher who in the next period is going to teach you chemistry; and that with no complians on his face.
Such are the odds against the teachers at my school. I hear stories, that leaves me more heartbroken, stricken – of other teachers, at other schools.
When is this going to change?
Perhaps, nobody from the government dares to do a survey or a poll about how happy teachers are with the new ‘national unity government’ because they will be shocked with the results. There is a lot of very harsh criticism about the government. Specially about Ghani himself. Of course, a lot in the Afghan society is about politics or talking about it. The teachers often do their own commentary-punditry. It’s not a pretty sight.
The situation with teachers is much more critical than this, I hope a change happens, and that soon.