Being a teacher is a calling, at least that is what I was told when I was young. A teaching profession used to be looked down upon by those who worked in factories in Gauteng. Many earned more than teachers and did not hide that fact.
The Department of Basic Education decided to close teacher colleges that were awarding mediocre Diplomas and moved the profession to universities. Those who graduated from universities with a teaching degree are compensated well.
This compensation put teachers on equal footing with many other professionals. Many factories in Gauteng closed down those who used to laugh are now languishing in abject poverty, forgive my insensitivity in this regard.
The Department of Basic Education has decided to create yearly awards to recognise those teachers who do sterling work. This particular teachers go beyond the classroom and embody what the department envisaged when the profession was created.
Being a teacher is not just about standing in front of learners delivering lessons. A teacher wears many hats. A teacher is a parent, a coach, a social worker, a friend, a motivational speaker and more.
But it must be noted that schools have become very dangerous for both teachers and learners in recent years. There have been many attacks on teachers by learners who turned criminal.
One case that stands out is of a teacher in North West who was stabbed to death by a learner during break. Teachers are expected to assist learners with meals during break.
There are those ill-mannered learners who do not want to stand in a queue or want more food than others. Usually these are boys who abuse drugs and some are part of gangsters.
Last month in Ekurhuleni at a secondary school, a search conducted by the police uncovered weapons and drungs from learners in school. The department needs to bring security in schools so that the school community can feel safe. Learners who are found with weapons or drugs must be punished accordingly.
Check out the list of teachers who won awards this year at a gala on the 1st of October.
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