Rabat - I have heard that some colleagues in other parts of the world have small class sizes, teach fewer hours and levels, and have all the resources they need. They are highly respected in their community and are well paid for the work they do. They undergo several in-service training and personal development programs. They also enjoy frequent systematic professional support. I have even heard that some were requested to integrate games in their work and not assign homework anymore to their students.
Rabat – I have heard that some colleagues in other parts of the world have small class sizes, teach fewer hours and levels, and have all the resources they need. They are highly respected in their community and are well paid for the work they do. They undergo several in-service training and personal development programs. They also enjoy frequent systematic professional support. I have even heard that some were requested to integrate games in their work and not assign homework anymore to their students.
Conversely, I have also heard that some of us in Morocco this year have students but no desks or chairs in their classrooms. I have seen rosters of over seventy students as well as schools without roofs or window panes. They lack latrines, water, and protection from the elements. I have read reports of subjects with no textbooks, teachers that have been mistreated by law enforcement personnel, and trainees that when promised jobs had been beaten up for claiming a position after graduation. It pains me to admit that ambulances have been scheduled in anticipation of events and have actually taken away cases with severe injuries. I have seen pictures of bloodshed and of injured heads, faces, and limbs. In fact, I have even seen it in vivo.
I have heard government officials speak of us in ways no one wishes to be talked about. I have, like all of you I am sure, been expecting my salary to be amputated of precious amounts and am currently witnessing it occur. I have been told that my retirement pension has driven the country’s economy and financial stability to the dogs. I am then told that the only cure is to extend my labor days by three to five years and significantly increase my participation to the pension funds while decreasing my income. This would not have bothered me so much had they applied the same measures to themselves, but they refused, arguing that they cannot disturb the status quo that they inherited.
I wonder how I still see amazing stories of teachers doing incredible things in rural and mountainous areas, in marginal neighborhoods of big cities, and in the once prestigious but now impoverished city centers. Teachers walking long miles in rough paths in the mountains, risking their lives crossing mad rivers, and confronting dogs and hogs. They live in classrooms, provide supplies to students, volunteer extra hours, and pay for their own professional development.
I hear stories of teachers spending high percentages of their meager salaries on equipment and technology to use with their students and going out of their way to assist others. Many still find time to work out cooperation projects and programs with national and foreign organizations to benefit their students who otherwise would not have had any opportunities.
It is amazing how teachers can still have inspiration to find innovative and creative solutions, face up their everyday classroom challenges, and be supportive of their students. They somehow have time to prepare lessons as well as design, administer, analyze and interpret assessments. Where do they get all this energy, these resources, this resilience and this patience? It is a wonder! It must be their patriotism, their respect for the job, and their commitment to serving the students. I may be wrong here, but these are the only reasons I can think of for anyone to accept to undergo what teachers are made to experience in our country.