Values maketh a good school

2011-11-19 11:21

 Conversations have been held about a deficiency in teaching, learning, discipline and effective administration in public schools. Academics in education have researched this and conferences have been held to interrogate the problems. President Jacob Zuma himself has expressed concern about the state of education.

Nevertheless, the problems persist and no one is taking the bull by the horns. From the outset, I must say I am a teacher from the “old school”, privileged to have worked in the “old order”.

The problems in schools today can be attributed to several causes, but values are what make a school good.

What was abandoned with the “old order” was respect for authority, for the self and others, for the profession and the code of conduct. Teachers displayed selflessness, commitment, discipline, punctuality and a strong work ethic.

In the “old order”, the authority of the principal and every professional in the school was respected. Currently, this seems to be rare. In some schools, the union steward has more authority than the principal. Disrespect for authorities is overt during meetings, workshops, strikes and marches. Some teachers have denied departmental officials access to schools to execute their duties.

Education has become politicised. There is a perception that for teachers to be promoted, they must belong to certain unions. And if you are a principal or departmental official, you avoid stepping on those teachers’ toes.
This is how authority becomes compromised.

Many teachers today will be remembered for intimidating learners and their colleagues during strikes, for ill-discipline, a poor work ethic, shabby dress, drunkenness and rock-bottom failure rates.

In the past, teachers were not as educated or as “well paid” as teachers today, yet they were more productive. And principals managed schools efficiently because everyone shared the same values.

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