They say silence is golden, but is it a good strategy to apply in the case of the student teachers' protest at the SICHE's School of Education, where student teachers seemed to have genuine concerns that need to be addressed by those in authority? Does the silence by the Head of School concerned really portray strong leadership qualities? Does ignoring problems that exist within one's area of responsibility a good leadership strategy? I will leave it to each reader to answer these questions themselves.
I think our education policy makers and administrators must come to the realisation that our next generation of teachers are brought up in a period when our lifestyle has drastically changed both economically and socially. Hence, they grow up in a different world from that of previous generations and are exposed to different environmental influences, and these exoeriences influence their attitude to work and lifestyle choices.
Those who study the behaviour and attitude of the young people in the 21st century found that they have a strong sense of confidence about their economic future and embrace mobility, adaptability and change in their career choices. They do not live to work-rather they work to live. Moreover, they value a sense of community; demonstrate strong loyalty to friends and many are disillusioned with materialism. This means that our new generation of teachers are more likely to think and act differently from those older teachers in our school system. In a work environment this generation of teachers looks for trusted guidance through real life models and mentors.
The media often portrays the current generation of young people as "Gen Y" and they are described as 'fickle, self focused and transient', which would lead us to believe that those who enter the teaching profession are more demanding and calculating in their working lives, offering themselves to the highest bidder and changing schools, or even professions, for the best deal.
What this means for education policy makers and managers in our country is that they need provide potential teachers with the best opportunities for teacher education and attractive pay packages for teachers, if they want to attract good candidates for the teaching profession in our country, to ensure quality education for our children. The protest by the student teachers at Panatina Campus in recent weeks may send the wrong message to aspiring teacher candidates out there. Hence, some potential teacher candidates may opt for other scholarships leaving the less capable ones to take up teaching. Such a situation is not healthy for our education system if we want to train and retain quality teachers in our schools.
Is silence truly golden?
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter are those of Felisia K and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.
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