With the controversy still raging about the apparent meltdown by a teacher at Pembroke Hall High School in St Andrew, a teacher at another high school in the Corporate Area has appealed to the Jamaica Observer to help her find a job, any job, to get her out of the classroom before she suffers a similar fate.
“Anything apart from teaching. Right now I want to leave the classroom. This morning I was leaving for work and my neighbour saw me and he said, ‘good morning, teach, how you do?’ and I said to him, ‘I don’t like being called a teacher because I no longer want to do it,” the teacher, whose name is being withheld, told the Observer.
She said after completing her diploma at Shortwood Teachers’ College she moved to The University of the West Indies, Mona campus, where she read for a degree in Education.
Armed with her degree she was employed to an upscale, traditional high school where she stayed for two years without feeling the sense of satisfaction which had sparked her passion to enter the teaching profession in the first place.
The teacher told the Observer that she wanted to work in a school with less resources, where the children faced greater challenges, and the parents, for the most part, were unconcerned about the performance of their children in school.
So she sought employment in a school in an inner-city community, where the grades of the students entering were lower and it would be an achievement to move them to levels where she could see her influence in improving their educational achievements, behaviour and personality.
Now, after 15 years at that school, she has decided to call it a day and has accepted that, if she continues, the meltdown by the Pembroke Hall teacher could seem minor to where she feels she is headed.
“The indiscipline of these students has overwhelmed me. They use expletives in your presence without any reservation; they don’t care. They gang up on teachers, they fight teachers, they tell teachers anything. The discipline, or lack thereof, the support from the administration, or lack thereof, is too much,” lamented the teacher.
If students does somethings they tend to get away. For example last year a teacher was ganged the teacher
I’m not even sure if they received a suspension. But those boys were still at school and teachers are expected to stand in front of those boys and teach them,” said the relatively young woman.
She said when she initially went to the school in 2004 there were several challenges, but she embraced them as she was determined to improve the life of her students while lifting the reputation and profile of the institution.
“The challenges were always there. In my second year, two boys climbed over a grille and went into a staffroom and cleaned my desk out. I had two phones in my bag and they stole them and my money. I did not even have bus fare to go home. But even with that it is worse today,” declared the teacher, her voice breaking.
“It has reached a point where students are telling teachers ‘go suck out anything’, and they are talking anything in the presence of teachers. I don’t think it matters to them anymore, the respect is just not there anymore,” added the teacher.
She declared that while teaching was her passion, based on what teachers are facing now she is prepared to take any other job that can pay her a liveable wage, and many of her colleagues are at a similar stage.
“Just last school year the students decided that on the last day of exams ‘we a go mash up some teacher car’. They slashed two of my tyres, they vandalised two other teachers’ cars. And when I say they were vandalised, every surface of the cars was defaced and one windscreen smashed.