There was a time when becoming a teacher was the ideal career path. A decent salary, convenient hours of work and summer holidays were the best cocktail to entice many to study for a teaching role. Not only that, it enabled you to become a pro at your favourite subject and allow you to teach it to others.
In recent years however, this has started to change, leading to a dry spell in the recruitment of teachers. What is also worrying is that we need to recruit foreign teachers to fill in open positions. Such positions include maths and IT teachers. With that said, all foreign teachers will need to commit to getting the Maltese O-Level, same as the other local teachers, within a stipulated timeframe to ensure that their contract is extended.
It is argued that the influx of foreign teachers will help to alleviate the workload of local teachers, some of who have to deliver twenty-five lessons per week. The announcement of foreign teachers was not received well by the Malta Union of Teachers which argues that this issue can be easily resolved by increasing the salary of teachers and provide better incentives and working conditions. This approach is referred to as a short-sighted solution and the proposed course of action is to increase wages to make the profession more attractive. Considering the available options in business and other professions, the teaching section does not compete well enough in terms of salary.
The union also proposes higher stipends to university students studying teaching. Other measures proposed are early retirement schemes to make the profession more enticing. In fact, the union also referred to the Labour electoral pledges which included less clerical work for teachers, drastic salary increases, more physical security and other financial incentives.
Some argue that the current situation of teaching staff shortage is due to government delaying in taking appropriate action. Had it acted in a timely fashion, we would not have encountered such a scenario where we have a shortage of teachers.
Another reason for the shortage of teachers is due to the current generation of students, as social cases seem to be on the rise. Many teachers complain that students are ill-behaved, interrupting classes and make the learning experience impossible. Several reports on the news highlight stories of bullying and physical violence on teachers, which make the profession less attractive.
Would you want to become a teacher? Let us know in the comments section.