I want to applaud all the frontline workers in controlling the spread of the Covid-19, the doctors, nurses, firemen, policemen and the Government of Dominica. However, it would be remiss of me if I did not take this opportunity to praise our teachers for their role in this difficult time.
- From conversations with teachers, some of them especially those not yet appointed, were faced with bully-like tactics from their principals to report to school at least twice a week even if they were doing their work online. This meant they had to travel by public transportation faced with increased bus fares to get to their schools where, in some cases, the internet service was not working satisfactorily. Of course, some with underlying conditions such as being diabetics, hypertensive cases, cancer survivors, were compromising themselves. In addition, there are those who may fall within that category that live with and take care of elderly parents. Do we want to take that risk of compromising the health of these people by risking exposure?
- According to the education Act II of 1997, #132 (c) “Every teacher has the right to be provided with sufficient and appropriate equipment to carry out assigned professional duties.” How many teachers were provided with equipment or devices to do online teaching? They used their personal stuff. Teachers with one computer in their homes had to share with their children who were also required to do assignments on line. Others are using their cell phones and spend a significant amount of money purchasing data plans, something I should also add is a headache for some parents.
- Teachers, at short notice and limited training, had to learn a new modality for delivery of lessons, try to find students to give them information and worksheets, a task which can be daunting since some teachers do not live in the community where they teach.
- It is my hope that the employer will learn from this situation and will give some incentive to teachers to have the necessary equipment and devices to facilitate continued learning should the need arise again. One must understand that the purchasing price of a good laptop in Dominica exceeds the monthly salary of some teachers.
- In closing, I say Hats off to you, the backbone of any society, the people who create the greats wealth of any country. While the country has no active Covid-19 patients, the battle is not over so continue to be safe while doing your essential service to your nation. while the recognition of your work sometimes go unnoticed be comforted that without you there would be no other profession for teaching is the one profession that makes all other professions possible and further take courage and follow in the footsteps of the greatest teacher who walked the face of this earth, Jesus, in spite of all that he did, he was rejected but his reward was great.