What has happened to respect

SVC Teachers and students during the mVuli Portal Launch at Swami Vivekananda College in Nadi. Picture: BALJEET SINGH/FILE

The suggestion by a retired schoolteacher that the teaching profession has lost its lustre because of the loss of respect from students is a concern.

Kelerayani Vueti, who now lives in Buliya Village, Kadavu, said in the past, teachers were among the most respected members of the community.

She began her career at a high school in Toorak, Suva in the late 1970s.

The education system, she believes, has changed a lot but needs more improvement.

The shift in relationship between teachers and students, she believes, has, in a way, affected the respect and honour that came with the teaching profession.

“Another anomaly I have noticed is the way our syllabus is being changed. There are errors in a few textbooks which are really amusing because it questions the capacity of those that put these texts together,” she insisted.

Textbooks, she said, had to be proofread and checked because they formed the foundation of learning for students.

Teaching, she said, was a special calling. We can’t cast aside the fact that teachers play a key role in paving the way forward for our children.

The future of our country demands that our children are prepared well. They will eventually shoulder the responsibility of moving our nation forward and paving the way for its development. Teaching is a great responsibility.

Considering the laws that serve as a guideline for behaviour in the workplace, the life of a teacher is not for the faint-hearted.

If there is a sense of appreciation for the role of the teacher and expectation to be disciplined and composed under great pressure, then there might even be an acceptance of bad behaviour left to run wild on the part of some students.

But respect. Where has it gone? What has changed?

If what Ms Vueti says is the way things are, then there is a need for us to understand our children, and appreciate the need for us to inculcate respect and value for learning.

Times have definitely changed. As parents and guardians though, we have a challenge to nurture in our children an appreciation of teachers, what they stand for, and what can be learnt.

In saying that, teachers are also expected to live up to the standards expected of them.

Ms Vueti has a point. At the end of the day though, we all are in this together, as parents and guardians, teachers and students. We must be in sync, to forge a positive path forward.

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