Why are teachers failing?

‘The improvement of the quality of teachers is a critical thing,’ says the department of basic education’s acting director general, Bobby Soobrayan, in a report on News24. He was referring to a document that stated that many teachers could not pass the tests their learners were expected to.

It’s been a bad week for the reputation of South African teachers and schools. In addition to Soobrayan’s report, there were angry parent protests at a school in Khayelitsha with accusations of mismanagement. And in probably the most shocking case of all, the discovery of 20 pregnant learners at another Cape school led to accusations of widespread sex abuse – by teachers, according to EyeWitness News.

Clearly, the profession is in something of a crisis, and parents have more or less had it in chunks. This kind of scandal and mayhem gives a bad name to a profession that has many dedicated and diligent members, working tirelessly to get learners through the tough final years of high school.

‘How sad it must be for these girls that their teachers took advantage of them in this way. These people that are entrusted to protect, guide and educate them,’ says Parent24 blogger Cams, giving voice to the indignation of many parents.

All in all it’s a situation that can’t be allowed to continue. If there’s one thing we need to promise our children, it’s that they will be safe at school. And beyond that, they deserve teachers who will act in their best interests on all levels.

Of course, given the recent frustrations faced by teachers in relation to their promised payments under the agreed occupational specific dispensation, there are bound to be those who are under-motivated.

But a lack of motivation would be an improvement for some teachers it seems.

What is to be done? As parents, unless we are qualified to step in and teach, we can only go back to the basics of supporting our children’s education: paying our fees on time, attending all school meetings and functions, giving close attention to what our kids are doing, and keeping an open line of communication between school and home.

The rest is up to a profession that needs to clean out those bad apples that are making it look rotten to the core.

What should be done to restore the teaching profession’s reputation?

Read more by Adele Hamilton
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24