By JOHN KARIUKI
Sadly, teachers’ role in shaping the future of our youth is seen as supplementary to the “real work,” like policing, military and so on, that everybody else does.
Recently a colleague took the breath out of a graduate reporter by telling him that he was in job group “M”, the same entry point for a police inspector, yet he was only a classroom teacher. If he switched jobs and joined the police, his rank would entitle him to an official car and driver and round-the-clock security!
This was too much for the reporter to comprehend and he categorically said this was merely a coincidence of a teacher’s job group “M” and a much serious one of the police service! For him, there is no way a teacher could equate himself with a police inspector, whom, apparently, did more work than a teacher!
Witness the occasional calls to radio phone-in programmes with the salacious details of teachers’ misdeeds. This often opens a veritable communal catharsis with people lambasting teachers, left right and centre by airing innuendos, stereotypes, falsehoods and old and unrelated cases!
Apparently, society has conspired to ridicule teachers at every opportunity since the old days when senior government officials would make no pretence of their dim views, by the roadside, about teachers. In fact, an education official famously ordered teachers in one school to clean their pupils’ toilets in the 1990s. And when a DC publicly ordered a teacher to shave his goatee without water, teacher bashing became indistinguishable from government policy.
The President rode to State House in 2002 on the falsehood that his government would only require 100 days to settle, once and for all, the contentious 1997 teachers’ salary award which has reared its ugly head today!
Such technocrats could be out to simply prove, like everybody else, that they are capable of cutting down teachers to size than for any real deadlock or budgetary implications in their demands!
Teachers are social signposts that direct everybody to become what they want to be. But in our critical social eyes, teachers themselves never seem to move with the times in our materialistic and hedonistic culture. They stand out as moral vanguards, reminding everybody of taking pride in doing a job well no matter how low the pay. And they never shy from naming the big men and women that have passed through their hands.
Certainly this does not please many people especially the well heeled who have everything except the ability to connect with their rural kin and explain complex issues to the understanding of those less academically endowed.