Many Bahamian Public School Teachers Are Calling It Quits
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More Bahamian public school teachers are growing weary of the country’s educational system and leaving the classrooms for greener pastures.
Frustration boiled over on social media when a Facebook post said that “another excellent teacher” deserted the job to begin work in another sector.
This prompted other young teachers on the post to warn that they too, will be leaving the system.
Jaidei Pinder, a Spanish teacher in Eleuthera, said, the teacher was her friend and was posted at a public school in New Providence. She stated that even though “I have four more years to go, but I’m telling you now all of the excellent teachers are walking away. I’m saddened by the teacher’s departure, but God knows I truly understand because this return to school next week almost didn’t see me either.”
Teachers have long complained of a myriad of issues in the classroom: undisciplined children; lack of parental involvement; a low salary that is unable to compensate for the demands of the job; work overload by the administration—lesson planning, PTA, markings, observations; an outdated curriculum; overpopulated classrooms; poor working conditions and no monies provided for class supplies and decor.
Rashad Cunningham, a music teacher in Nassau said he is noticing the exodus of teachers because of the heavy burdens placed on educators. “Teachers are expected to sit back and take crap from everyone and I am sick of it all. Even older teachers say hang in there while they were complaining and still complaining giving advice while they take their leave.
“Teaching itself is stressful. Then you have to deal with parents and their nonsense, the general public who think they know it all, the powers that be…some silly administrators that are being pressured by [the Ministry of Education]” he said.
Teachers enter the profession believing that they can bring change but within a few years they become disenchanted by the system.
Anna Smith left in June, stating that the system needs to be “fixed.”
Nadia McQuay said she will return when school reopens in September, but she warned it will be the “beginning of possibly the end for me.”
“I’m dreading walking into the classroom in the next week. I don’t know what this year holds for me but I’m wishing for the best.”
The Ministry of Education has since said it is looking to hire more teachers for the new school term which will plug the gap in the number of shortages in the system.
Minister of Education Glenys Hanna-Martin said on Tuesday, “We’re seeking to address shortages in critical areas in core subjects. It’s a challenge. The teacher shortage is happening globally so the Bahamas will not be excluded from that.”
Hanna-Martin, though, did not address the number of teachers who have already left for the year, nor has she revealed the causes for the teacher shortages, only that her ministry will hire more teachers.
Alicia Marie McQueen said, “There’s only one option and that’s out. They will get it when the majority of us have left.”
The Bahamas Union of Teachers which represent over 4,000 teachers, counselors and librarians, will meet with officials from the Ministry of Education to discuss the long-standing issues and lobby for better pay. President Belinda Wilson has warned that if their demands are not met, teachers will engage in some type of industrial action on the first day of school.
If ministry officials do not adequately address pay, which is high on the list of issues, it remains to be seen how many more teachers will ditch the classroom.