Opinion: Teachers

POSTED: 10/6/11 12:50 PM

Maybe it’s just us, but when we saw that half-page ad on the government information page we thought for a split second that Education Minister Arrindell was congratulating people on World Cheaters Day. When we looked again, we realized that the congratulation was about World Teachers Day.
Elsewhere we read that the Minister is looking for more male teachers which brought to mind a remark she once made during a visit to the Pointe Blanche prison: “I like men.”
Teachers are of course of crucial importance for the development of any country, and St. Maarten is no exception. But congratulating teachers because it is World Teachers Day is as meaningful as congratulating somebody with her or his birthday.
Birthdays and World Teachers Day have something in common: they do not represent an achievement, unless getting one year older counts as such. World Teachers Day 2011 is not different from the same day a year ago, or from the same day next year.
What is the Minister congratulating our teachers with? We would like to see our students do well in school. We would like them to become productive members of society – here or elsewhere – so that they are able to take care of themselves and of the families they will have.
How good are our teachers really? That is interesting to know. Woody Allen’s credo – Life is for 95 percent about just showing up – does not apply very well to teaching. Being on the job alone does not mean anything; the community needs results, and since the community (or in some cases the parents) are paying those teachers, these parties are even entitled to demand results.
So on World Teachers Day we would like to hear something else than how important teachers are. We want to read how good they are, or how bad, where they need to improve, and what the Minister is going to do about it.
Today’s opinion page is all about how incentives drive human behavior. Teachers are definitely human beings. So we ask our Minister: what (grammar savvy teachers would correct this in a heartbeat to: where) are the incentives that make our teachers perform to the best of their abilities?

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