THE EDITOR: So TTUTA, the bargaining union for teachers, is ready to rumble as it seeks to negotiate for increased salaries. The president of TTUTA, Lynsley Doodhai, has indicated that teachers are operating with 2013 salaries.
Under which rock is Doodhai living? Has he seen the state of our economy? In the face of fledgling economies, mass retrenchment is the order of the day worldwide. Has he seen what is happening to the other unions? Why would he give teachers the false expectation that if they protest and abandon the classroom and children they will be rewarded?
While I agree that teachers are underpaid and undervalued, I strongly disagree with the union’s tactics or lack thereof. I suggest that TTUTA negotiate for benefits like housing, travelling, better medical insurance and even clothing allowance.
Many teachers already absent themselves from school on a daily basis for a myriad of reasons, some legitimate and others suspect. Legit or not, the fact is that their charges do not have the privilege of their teachers’ presence. Instruction through WhatsApp and so on is not enough.
I am told of cases where full-time teachers pursue law, PhDs, Masters and other tertiary-level courses. It is said one pursued full-time pilot training while being a full-time teacher, all while on sick leave or whatever leave is afforded. The students suffered.
The students will always suffer once teachers remove themselves from the classroom. It is perceived that teachers absent themselves from school excessively. Let us have new strategies.
I know the union has already negotiated for study leave. TTUTA needs to perhaps renegotiate this to eliminate the mass exodus of ambitious teachers who desire to upgrade their status. There is a professional development department within TTUTA that offers opportunities for teachers’ professional advancement.
As a retired teacher, I know that no amount of money could compensate us for the numerous roles we play as teachers.
As we embark upon a new term, I am confident that the majority of our beloved teachers will fulfil their vocation and inspire the nation’s children.
JANICE FREDERICK-SEALY via e-mail