Teachers look forward to more burden
KUALA LUMPUR — Teachers from across the nation are hailing the Education Ministry’s decision to increase their workload and scope of responsibilities by threefold, calling the move as ‘timely’ and ‘generous’.
“It’s about time, really,” said Puan Yatimah Norden, a Year-2 class and Bahasa Malaysia teacher from Sekolah Menengah Kampung Chetek, Kelantan, upon hearing the good news. “All this while, we teachers have been severely underworked, overappreciated and, honestly, overpaid. I’ve been teaching for more than ten years, and I’ve been going to bed with this overwhelming guilt that I’m earning easy money.
“Or as the Malay saying goes, ‘Makan gaji buta’.”
Puan Yatimah added that when the Minister of Education cum Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Dato’ Muhyiddin Yassin announced the government’s plan to triple the workload and responsibililty of the country’s 300,000 teachers, she was initially skeptical.
“We had heard that kind of promise before,” she said, wryly. “They said they’d add our burden, reduce our benefits, even going so far as promising some massive paycuts, but all those were sweet words. All I remember is getting more and more pay, with more benefits being added to our retirement funds. It’s insulting.
“After a while, I had given up hoping for a more challenging work environment. The only good thing is the fact that students are now getting even more indisciplined and downright violent. My colleagues and I were just left with our pupils’ criminal tendencies to keep us entertained and motivated.
“But right after the minister’s announcement of the extra work and responsibility last week, I noticed that my work had, indeed, increased! Multiple-levels of lesson plans with compulsory Powerpoint presentations, class simulations and completely unnecessary reports which no one will even read, I’ve got it all!” said Puan Yatimah, gleefully.
- A typical stress-free atmosphere in a classroom
Mr Tan Hsien Kai, the assistant principal at SMK Seksyen 31, Shah Alam, said that the announcement was ‘the perfect Teachers’ Day gift’ for all the ‘over-rewarded educators’ in Malaysia.
“We’ve been getting nothing but the long-end of the stick all this while. Great working hours, lots of holidays, sincere and, I might add — undeserved — respect from students, parents, school administrators and society at large… it was choking me. I needed some really bad news to make my job satisfying again.
“And boy, the honourable minister’s announcement was such a breath of fresh air!” he said, smiling, as he marked a five-foot-tall pile of workbooks and exercise books diligently. “Finally, I can look at myself in the mirror with pride again, after feeling so ashamed at being paid so much money to do so little work. I’m looking forward to becoming teacher-in-charge of more pointless student clubs and associations soon,” referring to the Table-Polishers, Bird-Watchers, Dictionary-Reciters, Air-Appreciators and Diaper-changing Science Clubs his school plans to form within the next few weeks.
Puan Yatimah said that she hopes the decision was only the beginning of a continuous effort to make teachers’ lives more difficult and unbearable.
“This had better not be a ‘hangat-hangat tahi ayam’ thing from the government. Yeah, it’s difficult now, but there’s still so much more to do, so much to improve,” she stated, while massaging her temple due to stress-induced migraine. “Right now I can still go home relatively on time, and spend some time with the family. That cannot be tolerated.
“Other than adding even more work and responsibilities to us teachers and reducing our benefits, the authorities should also start taking our dignity away, maybe by making it illegal to even scold students. The ministry needs to really clamp down on some rogue teachers who reprimand their pupils — I hear that some even punish their naughty students with the cane… the gall!
“I say, bring it on. Punish us. Treat us like dung, and spit in our faces,” she said, coldly.
“Sure, some of us teachers will quit, some will be violently assaulted by our own students, and some will even end up in the madhouse. But what doesn’t kill us will make us stronger. And I want to be stronger.”