A teacher from St. Clare’s College in Pembroke, the school where a parent-teacher-student brawl erupted this week following racial tensions, has spoken out about his experience working in the secondary school, giving an insight into what some Maltese teachers are experiencing in 2019.
Andy Muscat, a singer and a teacher from the school, has laid bare what it means to work in the high-pressure, responsibility role of a secondary teacher. With his school in the spotlight and the Malta Teachers Union calling for security to be placed at all school in Malta, Muscat explained why being a caring, dedicated teacher is still so important.
He opened up in a public Facebook post that drew praise from many quarters
“The Ministry of Education announced that in the last 10 years an average of 40 teachers a year leave the profession. This excludes those who retire. In fact, between 2009 and 2018, nearly 400 teachers left the profession,” he said, referring to a One article.
Numbers that, even though minimised, remain alarming. (In the same article it’s also writen that only three teachers are needed in the country, when even in our own school alone we need more than that.) Ironically, we admit that there is a problem of some type, but we keep creating new challenges for teachers and these probems are hidden in the same way that we fix our roads – with a patch of tarmac over the holes made by others.
The stress of this work keeps piling up and up, and no-one realises that at the end of the day, it’s the children that suffer.
“It’s pointless building the prettiest rooms decorated with the best technology if they don’t have those to teach, or those that are trying to teach feel worn out and do not feel safe going to work.”
“Don’t come and offer to pay for the psychiatric services of teachers instead of admitting that the majority of the problems they have come from those who make the decisions from behind the desk.”
“It’s true that we have enormous problems in our schools, especially when it comes to discipline and the lack of staff. It’s true that we have problems with fights between children from different nationalities due to a hatred that no doubt comes from home.”
“It’s true that we have children that, even if you make water dance, they couldn’t care less; however, we have a lot of children who appreciate the effort you make. They appreciate that you have yet to do like those 40 every year who resign and find better work. They appreciate that you don’t let people’s stupid comments affect you, and no matter what you show that you’re always there for them and that you love them and respect them.”
“The children’s smiles that surround me in these photos that I found in the camera, and I don’t even know who took them, give me faith.”
“Maybe in some way I’m still doing something worthwhile with my life.”
“I don’t think I’m the best teacher, and it’s not my intention to compete for that honour, however, until I unite with those 400 and resign as well, I am going to continue fighting so students who are entrusted to me know that in me they will find someone who will pay attention to them as individuals, and not just like a number in the system.”
“No matter what they say about you, as a teacher never forget that the subjects, the new syllabi, O’ levels, and all the programmes that keep getting created are never as important as the children themselves.”
His emotional comments come after a shocking fight that left two educators and a student injured
Two men – one of them a senior AFM officer – have been remanded in custody after entering St Clare’s College in Pembroke to attack a 15-year-old Libyan boy who had been bullying a 13-year-old member of their family.