teacher’s strike misses the point

SADTU is on the move again and South African Teachers are taking the streets…again.  when the teachers called a go slow i was excited.  SADTU said the go slow would involve teachers teaching for the required 7 hours that makes up the school day and would do no more; no holiday school, no morning classes and no extra programs.  i was excited by the idea that teachers would actually teach the full 7 hours; this would be an achievement.  i am fully behind the 7 hour go slow proposed by SADTU in part of a strike action for force basic education minister to resign.  this to me seemed like South Africa would get the best of both words, Angie would be chased out and teachers would actually be in their classrooms from 8-2 and so i was fully behind the strike action, i did not care what the strike was about.

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my bubble was burst when SADTU started calling pupils, no school children, to take part in the strike action and they raised the stakes.  when the strike involved teachers actually doing their job, i was glad but now they are creatures of habit and no strike is complete before their disrupt education.  i thought they were striking to get rid of Angie, this is a good thing we have all been calling for.  the education system is in collapse and the level and standard of education in South Africa is an insult to our children.  the education system asks less and less of our children and they intern begin to require less and less of themselves until you have an under-educated, illiterate  unfocused and mediocre society.  South Africa will fail to develop and the social imbalances will deepen if nothing is done to address the collapsing education system.  so you see, i found myself behind the call to fire Angie.  with Angie gone and teachers teaching, it seemed to me we may be starting the process to address the education break down.  Angie and her team of administrators are but a part of the problem – the other lays with schools administration, unions, discipline of teachers, parental participation and many other social imbalances need to be addressed to begin to make a change in education.

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so this morning after seeing SADTU call on children to join the strike i wanted to know what the strike was actually about and stop assuming we were on the same side as the strikes.  this is about some collective bargaining thing?  i should get into the details of this but in reality it irritates me.  let me try, Angie has unilaterally gone over an agreement with teachers – about the amounts to teachers who mark exam papers. i believe that for what teachers do, they are not getting paid enough and should get far more than what they get.  i understand and support the rights of teachers and value the potential they represent for a healthy society.  teachers are a treasure and this is a given.  however i am annoyed by the fact that today a full day of school is missed and children are being encouraged to leave the class room for this strike action. i loved the idea that teachers were striking for the value of education and for proper leadership of the education system.  i thought – teachers are now understanding the frustration of children, parent and the crisis that the country was being led to.  i am irritated by the narrow agenda here and their willingness to take the school system to the same depths that Angie might.  i thing i would leave my desk and take to the streets if teachers acted like the teachers in the 70’s who left their calling to be teachers because what they were forced to teach would kill the minds of the youth.  i wish SADTU was out there today saying enough with the 30% and institutional mediocrity but instead school is out because of a collective bargaining matter.  i am fully behind the collective bargaining process and the rights of workers but in this instance i just wish the agenda was focused on what is important and addressing the ongoing abuse of children through the provision of an inferior education.

for the love of peace

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