Created on: January 02, 2013 Last Updated: January 03, 2013
It is no secret that teaching is a job which has become much more complex and demanding in recent years. From America to India and from Australia to England, the role of the teacher has been loaded down with additional responsibilities. Many children can no longer rely on their overworked or disenchanted parents to provide the time and effort required for a healthy and happy upbringing. And when parenting fails, the burden of care inevitably falls on the education system.
There was a time when the most important part of a teacher’s job was to teach; to develop a child’s intellect through the presentation of knowledge and skills. Lessons were prepared, taught and marked. There was some pastoral care, of course, but the teacher’s domain was intellectual development. The other three domains - social, emotional and physical - were tended to by churches, various clubs and parents.
These days, however, a typical teaching week may involve extensive hours spent attending to all four domains. Teachers are now no longer expected to be simply educators. They need to be mediators, guidance counselors, scoutmasters, breakfast cooks, nannies, and bus drivers. The whole meaning of ‘in loco parentis’ has shifted from being a legal responsibility to being a practical one.
This is not to say that all parents are irresponsible, or that all teachers are under the same sort of pressures. The age group of their students and the demographic of their school will have a big effect on what extra duties a teacher is called on to perform. But many teachers are in daily contact with 100 children or more in the course of a typical week, and inevitably, some of them will have needs that are not being met by parents.
To begin with, the primary responsibility of intellectual development is no longer being supported as it once was. Teachers of English, for instance, are expected to improve a child’s reading and writing through, perhaps, three or four hours teaching time per week. How much progress can realistically be expected if the home environment is one without books, and homework regimens are not being enforced?
Although there is still a widely held belief that ‘an education is important’, many people are no longer so sure what kind of education might be best for their kids. Unemployment, too many career choices, and a stretched - some might say ‘diluted’ - education system, have created an
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