"Where's Ziana? Sick?" I asked my colleague when I was asked to relief her class.
The new part-time English Language teacher or commonly called GSTT [guru sandaran tidak terlatih] had been absent for two days. It was bad enough having to teach for 5 periods and then being asked to relieve another teacher's class. I was dead tired.
"She's quit!" came the short answer.
"Quit? Why? Didn't she continue her contract just 3 days ago?" I was surprised.
Nowadays, the GSTT teachers are required to be under a 2-month contract.If they perform well, then they are allowed to continue teaching in the same school. As most of the new-graduates from the local universities are jobless or "waiting to be posted to schools", one of the options they have is to apply for a temporary teaching post in schools which are in short of teachers.
It has been a common thing to see these GSTT teachers in the schools I work in. If we are lucky, we'd get the hardworking and conscientious workers. Otherwise, it's a struggle for us and the newly hired ones who think that they are still in their honeymoon year in universities. Tell them to move and they'd move a step; if we don't approach them, they'd remain in their comfort zone and wait for further instruction. Heck, the senior teachers are always busy and from the first day they step foot in school, we have told them to always approach us if they are in doubt or need guidance. We have no time for chit-chat or slow talk when we ae in school, so if they need something, they should come and see us.
"Why did she quit?"
She was not the only GSTT teacher who quit in the beginning of May. The new group of English Language graduate teachers have decided to stop their stint and to "rest at home while waiting for posting". I want to say that I almost rolled on the floor laughing when I heard this lame excuse. They call themselves TESL graduates and they have trained in the teaching institution and local universities for 3 years to prepare themselves for a career in teaching. And they quit as a GSTT teacher just because they find the school environment ' too difficult for them'?
Hah.. with the excess of graduates from the teaching colleges and universities, it'd be a long time before they get a posting to schools. Some states like Kedah, Kelantan and Trengganu have enough trained teachers that they have postponed any transfers of teachers to those states.
Frankly speaking, I find the current group of new graduates who happen to be teaching part-time in schools to be lacking in positive attitude towards their duties. Of course, there are a few exceptionally good ones like Suffi, whom we have trained so well during his one-year service with us that he's now happily teaching in an elite school. However, there are many who need to buck up if they were to be respected teachers in future. There should be no gossiping and online Facebook in the staffroom where they should be marking books and preparing the day's lessons. They ought to be smart and avoid being caught in office politics. Most importantly, they must learn to manage the naughty students during lessons, because they can't expect to be given only the good classes in school. They have to be able to cope with paperwork and other minor duties given by the senior teachers, who have more work and responsibilities to manage. In addtion, they ought to be friendly with all the teachers and staff and not be selective as to whom they want to talk to. Most importantly too, they must learn to ignore any gossips and not be sensitive to other teachers' personal remarks.
One would have taught that the universities and colleges have trained the graduates these soft skills but experience tells me that they have a lot more to learn before they are ready to be good teachers. If these graduates who have teaching diplomas and should be better GSTT teachers compared to their colleagues from other fields who have opted to be called GSTT teachers feel that they cannot cope with the work pressure and other personal problems faced in the school they are currently teaching, then please do not take up the posting offer by the ministry of education. Such teachers will only create more problems in their new schools with their negative attitude, not to say give a bad impression about English language teachers to parents and students.
I have worked with other GSTT teachers who are not trained as English teachers but due to their ability to speak well, they are offered to teach this subject in my school. I'm happy to note that they are able to teach well and their work attitude is sometimes better than some new TESL graduates. Don't know why this is so, but it's a sad fact that some young teachers think that they are above reproach just because they 'speaking Mat Salleh' and dislike being nagged at and given a tongue-lashing by the other senior teachers for their lackadaisical attitude toward their duties [something English teachers seem to be famous for, by being direct to the point]
By the way, I'm still waiting to see who will be taking over Ziana's duties in school, now that she has quit her job[hopefully the pejabat pelajaran daerah will stop posting her as a GSTT to another school].
As another senior teacher lamented," We have trained them from the beginning of the year, with all these PBS stuff and set system.. and when they quit suddenly, we have to start all over again. Why can't they send us a permanent trained English language teacher?'
p/s: When the school breaks ends, I returned to my school to find that
another GSTT who reported for duty in May and was assigned to teach
English has also quit. So we've 2 new untrained English Language
teachers who we have to supervise and be mentors to, hopefully they'd
last till the end of the 2nd term.