Teachers are one of the most underpaid professionals in the country, literally underpaid. Why so?
For a full time teacher, he/she is only paid for his/her work from 8 am to 5 pm in a day, giving lectures to his/her students. Just that, no overtime pay at all. But is the teacher’s work only confined within that 8am to 5pm time slot? Definitely not. In fact, majority of his/her work is outside of that paid time, an overtime.
What constitutes the teacher’s overtime works?
1. He/She prepares the lecture, and in doing so, must research several resource materials for a good content of each lecture. He/She should keep himself/herself updated as well so that his lectures are in keeping with the changing times. Each lecture entails creation of instructional design – the objectives, contents, the sources, learning activities/teaching strategies, and methods of evaluation. (For the elementary teachers, this would be their lesson plans). Teachers should be careful and make sure that everything he/she utters in front of his/her students are factual. Whatever the teacher says is considered gospel truth by his/her students and is sometimes upheld by the students over what is said by parents at home. The preparations are very taxing, and you only deliver it for an hour. It is therefor insulting when the students do not listen, do not enter classes and attend to the lectures, or when the student just asks a copy of the lecture so he/she doesn’t have to listen to its delivery. How much time did the poor and lowly teacher devote for this?
2. When a teacher construct test questions, he/she has to always consider the MPL – minimum passing level. This pertains to the degree of the difficulty of the question being asked. This is based on the probability that a minimally competent student will be able to answer the question correctly. When you set the MPL at 65, this means that at least 65% of the students will be able to answer correctly this particular question. And that should always be considered for every question that the teacher drafts. Secondly, the teacher should make sure that each question should be answerable for a maximum time of 1 minute. Therefore, when an examination period lasts for 2 hours, it means that the teacher should maximally ask 120 questions only. How long does it take to make a quality question thus? That would entail a minimum of 5 minutes (that is, basing from personal experience). It takes more time for the teacher to construct the question that the time it will take the students to answer it.
3. Of course, those test papers need to be corrected as well, recorded, and grades computed. While some teachers device a way to make correcting test papers conveniently, it still entails time to do so. The advent of technology has as well allowed teachers to easily compute grades. Otherwise, manual computation would entail more time to do such.
Teachers do not only need to lecture, prepare test questions, compute grade. At school, they are also disciplinarian, second mother/father to their students while away from home, influencers and molders of our children. And so much more.
They are encouraged as well to undergo postgraduate studies. This allows the teachers to be adept with the facts they teach their students, improve or enhance their teaching skills, etc. There is of course an advantage to that, and few of those include promotion to the next level, better salary, better credentials and an expert, authority in his/her field.
Our teachers do sacrifice a great deal beyond what is paid by their salary. But despite that, their sheer dedication to their profession keeps them striving so that our children may be able to learn well; and everyone of us had been taught by a teacher. They are indeed the unsung heroes, often paid tribute only by mere words. They deserve more than their pay, or citations. They deserve our lifetime respect.