The key to sustainable development of education starts with teachers. Teachers today are the most affected party in making or breaking a school’s reputation.
Kalina Sotiroska Ivanoska
The end of the school year is approaching, the students are waiting for the long vacation, but before the release day comes, they need to go through the grading process. There comes the moment when monitoring, checking and assessing throughout the school year loses its meaning due to the pressure on teachers to convert all grades into A’s. So, the number of excellent students in each successive generation is higher, while each subsequent international test shows that the results of Macedonian students are getting worse. In this way, the value of the basic work tasks and responsibilities of teachers is reduced, and we send a message that ‘school is not important’. Once a respectable and privileged profession, today the overall respect for teachers is decreasing more and more. The general impression of the community towards teachers is that they are people who have not made it and do not deserve better. The responsibility of teachers is huge, they educate and form generations, but the interest of students to enroll in faculties that train teaching staff is significantly low.
Trends are changing in the labor market; young people are becoming aware of the new jobs that are emerging, with better working conditions and, above all, higher salaries than the teacher’s or professor’s salary. There is no doubt that salary is a very important thing, but research shows that other factors are also important for job satisfaction, efficiency and effectiveness in the workplace. The number of teachers who are employed for a fixed period of time is not small, and with the change of the political set-up, convenience trumps ability. Hence, there is apathy in the engagement of the teacher due to the insecurity of the job and being easily replaced.
Reforms in education are necessary, but openness to change among teachers and the community is limited. The revolt against the endless reforms in education is probably due to the fact that they have been started but not finished, compounded by the lack of appropriate textbooks, misinformation, teacher education and provision of adequate materials. The overload with administrative work that is not useful to anyone reduces the time for teachers to focus on developing the expected innovative activities for the lessons, needed to develop criticality, creativity, communication and collaboration in students.
The key to sustainable development of education starts with teachers. Teachers today are the most affected party in making or breaking a school’s reputation. If the teacher is unable to meet expectations, the school loses its appeal.
Each of us has memories of his favorite teacher with whom we have identified ourselves and were ready to go out and have gone out of the comfort zone. Despite the drastic change in society’s respect for teachers, good teachers still have a huge impact on their students. With that in mind, teachers should not give in to resignation and wait for better times. For each of us to be successful in our profession, it is necessary to start the changes, beginning with ourselves, and not from Monday, but immediately!
Kalina Sotiroska Ivanoska, Professor at the Faculty of Philosophy in Skopje, UKIM