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Monday, October 5, 2015

Day of the Teacher

Today is Day of the Teacher. Well enough, were it that the teaching profession is recognized as such...


Here in Belgium, there is in general no appreciation for what a teacher does. It used to be different, when our parents and grandparents were kids. In those days a teacher stood on the same line as the mayor and the priest. Those three people were in high esteem, for which everyone stood in awe.

Right now, both goverment politics and the general public assume a teacher's life is a walk through the park. Only having to work between 20 and 22 hours a week, having all those holidays, getting a good pension...

The reality is different. I dare everyone who thinks as described above to come into a classroom for a few weeks, and then reconsider. A teacher indeed performs 20 or 22 hours  in the class per week, but this means he/she has to prepare these lessons at home. That will easily take just as long, and for young and inexperienced teachers it will even take longer. You not only have to prepare, you also have to correct, especially when you are a language teacher. Again a couple of hours per week. 

Standing before a class is not really a walk in the park. You are working with young people, who think very differently than you do. You have to get into their world of thinking. At the same time, next to being a teacher who tries to bring them something worth-while, you are both a parent admonishing them, or a doctor/nurse who can tell them what is wrong with them. When you create a good relationship with your students, they come to you with questions and problems that only a sociologist or phychologist could solve - and they expect you'll know the answer. Sometimes you have to be a police officer. And importantly, you should never get angry and keep your calm.

Ok, all of us who've done this for several decennia don't complain about our job. We love what we are doing. But our beloved government has now decided to reorganize our pension system. When we started, we did it under different conditions. We agreed to be paid less per month, to have a better pension later on. Now the ministers think we should get less pension (why give so much money to people who don't work???)

So I think we could better forget the Day of the Teacher.

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