Elshot cites stress as reason for absenteeism

POSTED: 06/25/12 12:53 PM

St. Maarten – President of the Windward Islands Teachers Union (Witu) Claire Elshot has said a stressful work environment is one of the reasons that teachers are absent from the classroom. She also named the continuous introduction of more rules and regulations as a reason why teachers are stressed.
“You cannot function in a classroom when you have stress,” Elshot said.
The union president also recently called it a fairy tale that teachers are absent from work one day and then show up as “signed in” the following day without being questioned. The union leader said this is not possible because school administrative staff that pick up the sign in sheets on a daily basis.
The union leader has also called into question whether secondary school teachers need to stay at school for the entire duration of the school day. To illustrate her point she spoke of a teacher who was confronted by a member of her school board while she was at the Immigration and Naturalization Department. The teacher was attempting to finalize a reentry permit and had taken the time during a free period with approval from the school’s management.
“Teachers are required to work a number of hours and in all cases they have free periods but apparently the school boards want them there from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. This is a manipulative act. Why should a teacher be at school at 7:30 a.m. when her first period of teaching is 9.00 a.m.? Sometimes a teacher is at work for several hours after the time that they were supposed to leave, which is never questioned. We are in a secondary school which is not like an elementary school, since they work with a time table. The teachers are aware of their responsibilities and after they have completed their schedule they should be free to leave,” Elshot said.

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