Sage in School Selection
Ifrith Islam #
My child just comes of age to be admitted in a school. I was looking for a school which has every feature — the best education policy, playground, minimum of every of indoor games, and on top of all a quality teaching staff. Though I’m not the only mother who is in search for a good school, hundreds and thousands of guardians are desperate to admit their children in the best grooming places. The reality in the ground is that answers to such questions — where is that sort of school, how does that function, what is salary of the teachers— are very hard. It is equally hard for the guardians and parents to test the school and the schoolteachers. No school allows guardians to test the quality of teachers and other things related with education. Diametrically it is the schools, which are failing to groom up our children to the world standard, are very selective in enrolling students, and ask about the background of the parents first. As a mother I stepped into an unchartered area of selecting school.
A trick played inside my head…
I took job in a school so that I would get acquainted with several students, teachers and guardians. So I started working in a school as an English teacher who got an opportunity to work undercover. As English is a mandatory subject for which I got to take every class that practically opened up an avenue to test the standard of my fellow teachers. After classes wherever I got chance began talking to the teachers with non-specific topic at first gradually. I came to see that a large number of teachers do not try a plethora of teaching techniques to make his or her lessons interesting. A student’s problem in understanding is not given much importance by the teachers, thanks to lax teaching monitoring system. I wandered that if my son or daughter had been in that class and if s/he wouldn’t have understood anything at all then that makes her/his growing up without any real basics.
I have witnessed most of the pedagogues are least concerned about being the pioneer in their respective subjects. Journals or subject related advanced knowledge is also unavailable to the schoolteachers or they don’t afford those. Unsurprisingly schools in Bangladesh don’t earmark certain teachers, who have specialized in academic track, for certain subjects.
I have also seen many teachers in English version and medium schools without having proper either British or American accent. A good number of them are not even trained in pronunciations and it is a naked truth in public schools. Teachers are not tested in reading, writing, speaking and listening. All over the world to test the proficiency in English IELTS or TOEFL are being used. But our teachers of English version or medium are not tested. Test of teachers on all four bands is essential not only for English language or literature teachers in every educational institute but it is a must for the teachers of mathematics, physics, religion, global studies, history etc teachers. In English version and medium schoolteachers, of other than English subjects, have to know mathematics, physics, religion, global studies, and history etc subjects in English.
It is equally disastrous in the case of Arabic teachers. Good Arabic language teachers is a real crisis in 99 per cent institutes even in the madrassahs, be it Alia or Qawmi. Standard of Arabic in Bangladesh is not up to the mark whereas the country could have exploited the expatriates who have returned from diverse Middle East countries. Mideast Bangladeshi expatriates may have a designation as ‘Honourary Language Teacher’ (HLT) and teach language free of cost. By imparting training a little to such expatriates Bangladesh government can engage to teach in its 37000 institutes.
So mothers or guardians do want the best teachers for our children but at the end they don’t get what we really wanted. It is primarily because these guardians don’t know how to choose a good school. As a guardian I always wanted my kids to learn good English and Arabic with proper accent. So as a quick test I talked to English version teachers in English and I spoke Arabic with Arabic teachers. So it may be a quick technique to test the quality of teachers of a school. If you don’t know English and Arabic well you can hire two such guys to know the quality of schooling as new laymen millionaires buy cars or other electronic goods by hiring experts.
Only a parent who has the insight will see the way her child is being treated by a teacher. I expect my child to be treated equally but when I realize that there is discrimination in between the rich and the poor and if I discover my child coming home with fluffy eyes and complains that her teacher did not distribute chocolates equally among the students. Such a treatment will tell the disparity deeply rooted in the minds of my children’s teacher. If one child got a small number of chocolates and her best friend coming from a rich family got a large number makes any parent depressed. So the rich child is being loved affectionately where my child is ignored and left in a corner. The overpowering greed and expectation plays tricks in one’s mind that the teacher will gain something in return from the rich if s/he takes a good care of the specific one but such expectation never helps one to reach their destination.
Teachers could have been happy knowing that they hold the most honoured position in a society. Unfortunately a large number of them, particularly the chance teachers, are least caring about morality, manner, and but the same teachers are highly caring about their primitive system of teaching. In fact the teaching practices in Bangladesh, absence of the use of education technology, typical educational legacy, and their backgrounds and strata of society are premier obstacles to the way of change in education. And sometimes it also turns out that underpaid professional parents were too busy to teach their kids manner, love, and respect no matter what their positions are in the society. And we mothers expect our children to come home and teach us the part of manners that we missed to learn from our parents. Sometimes we feel proud to tell our parents what we learnt from their grandchildren.
A teacher by choice plays the most important role in a child’s early stage of life. If the teacher is a schoolteacher by chance he can’t be a good teacher. Upbringing a child with proper education seems rare in place nowadays. Chance teachers can’t teach the exact behaviour to the children as a result such sort of teachers have least things to give to the children. Once such children, ill-taught by such teachers, become grown up man and woman they won’t be able to help their children to be groomed in the best way. Not only that such teachers resort to discrimination between the rich and poor students and can’t ensure justice in a classroom among the innocent children. In return he does not help any student to grow up properly.
I left experimental schoolteacher’s job and went to several others as a journalist to check which school best suits my child. Before you confuse with my character I shall take the opportunity to introduce me as teacher cum journalist. Anyway to know about teachers in some schools I tested teachers. I joined in some classrooms to observe. How do teachers take care of students and teach told me how much they are sincere and devoted to education. Most importantly, if found a teacher makes the most common mistakes, gives really a bad impression to guardians like me particularly when I am looking for enrolling my child into the school.
Now comes the questions of guardians. After talking to several guardians I also understood that they admitted their children because of less admission fees or they depended on buzz-marketing. No matter how much money one gives to enroll one’s children into a school does not ensure your child is being taught on world standard. To investigate deep into the matter what he is learning from the specific teacher and his classmates a guardian needs to be investigative journalist.
Even if I am one of the teachers in the same school a guardian would not know if I don’t give her any opportunity to know me better whether I am good for her child or not. So if I’m to enroll my child in the same school where I work will have completely different output. I will know then the teacher’s background and her educational status and also how her mind works.
Whether his salary matches his status and honour is equally important to me. Whichever school I visited the first question I asked is that are teachers paid like those of Bangladesh cricket players because there is no denial that teaching professions are much more important than those of playing. Since the teacher is going to have a lasting impact on my child’s mind, so they must be happy with their salaries. Probably Bangladeshi teachers are one of the lowest paid teachers in the world. Most teachers, particularly in the private sector, don’t get festival bonus when the onus of teaching the pupils is solely on the teachers. The schools are getting rich day by day not the teachers unless they cheat the students in their classroom only for private tuition.
A teacher’s practical and personal life is also an important matter that you need to look into. I admit that I found two types of teachers — chance teacher and choice teachers. And if I admit him in a school and do not know the teachers who turn out to be medium or less caliber then I am going to put my kids in danger. Similarly if the chance teacher enters the education sector only to learn himself through trial and error his or her students will be merely a guinea pig. Such a teacher is real chance teacher not one by choice.
When a child’s body, mind and soul are aligned then the project blooms. So to bloom or to help groom up my child I have to understand how he works or plays. The combination of body, mind and soul is barometer of the student shining to click in real life! That’s is the success of a school but I didn’t find any school that is perfect.