If I had to sum up what I think other people think of teachers; I'd say no one likes them.
Of course, the word 'like' here to much of a generalisation and I'm sure in many other places (Teacher Utopia, for example) teachers are revered and loved.
I fully understand how some students don't like us coz of we have to do for their own good - good medicine always taste bad. I understand how some parents think the worst of us; whenever their children are found to be in trouble, it's always the teacher's fault.
Nonetheless, I am deeply hurt by the fact that even our employers, both on the administrative and managing and ministerial level don't SEEM to "sek sek" us.
Today, an announcement was made that the teachers from my school would be no longer afforded temporary leave from school using time slips (even government ones are not allowed). This is different from MCs. From what I understod of it;
- if you needed to go for a check-up, if you were pregnant and needed those two-hour monthly scans, go see a doctor on your own time (outside school hours).
- This is fine...but knowing government hospitals and clinics, what if they gave you a morning appointment? The school's answer was: Take a Cuti Rehat Khas....
- Don't be fooled by the name. Every govt teacher is only given 7 CRKs a year. These must be applied for in a weeks' advance and the school reserves the right to know what, where and under what circumstances you need it for. As I was very strictly warned during the KISSM course, CRKs are a privilege, not a right. I've had mine rejected several times. I was also told that "Urusan Keluarga' would no longer be accepted as a valid reason. Privacy mean anything to you??? I guess not.
- But I digress. So yes, imagine if you'd taken a few CRKs early in the year for weddings or festivals or driving tests or (whateverla). Then your kid falls sick several times (and kids seem to fall sick a lot) and you take a few more to bring them to the clinic in the morning. A whole lot of unplanned events later (death of relatives, for example), you discover you're preggers and have been given a morning appointment at the local district hospital. You've used up the CRKs but you really need to go. What do you do?
- The solution is: Take a no-pay leave. Even if it's just to nip out to the doctor's for 2 hours and when it doesn't disrupt your classes. Sigh
I was aghast at this. The announcement reeks of the administration's suspicion of teachers. I thought time slips are a pretty valid way of saying "I really had to be away for just a couple of hours. Sorry, but I'm back to teach now". Now this announcement tells me they don't even trust that.
I'm wondering...do they have meetings where the thesis statement is: "Teachers are lying to us and makan gaji buta - what can we do to foil their evil? Welfare? What welfare?"
After a lot of simmering and swearing at the no-good higher-ups who came out with this order; I decided to go take a look at the pekeliling (official govt memo) myself.
I was surprised to see that they weren't too unfeeling after all. It says on the document that the Ketua Jabatan/ Principal reserves the right to carry this as they see fit. As long as 'time-slips' aren't made to be an automatic pass for teachers to miss school, principals can allow such temporary absences at their discretion.
So, I drew the conclusion that either:
a) whoever made the announcement at my school didn't read and understand the doc clearly...
b) my school's managerial level harbour a need to quell any forms of anomaly at our school and they want to make sure that the teachers conform to as rigid a set of rules as possible. I feel suffocated already.
Says a lot about my school huh?
The thing is - I'm a pretty dedicated teacher, my colleagues are the same. I don't think any of us seriously abuse this time slip thing. Do they need to push us so far by questioning everything we do and denying us of even considering the "at your discretion" part?
This shows me there's a serious mistrust issue and certainly, not much faith in us teachers.
If you don't trust me, I don't trust you too. *sad*
note: I really hope to be proven wrong and that it is a big misunderstanding. I have never taken a time-slip leave but I feel hurt to the core anyway because this comes along with a whole series of "you-can't-dos" and "you-must-dos" just recently.