Unfair treatment of newly qualified teachers in Saint Lucia (letter)

By Pissed Off Teacher

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Teachers and public servants in St. Lucia have been at loggerheads with government over salary negotiations, recently.

Dear Editor: As a newly qualified teacher, I have waited for the last seven months to receive my upgrade and subsequent backpay from the government of St. Lucia, to no avail.

The 2018 cohort of newly qualified teachers were hired and placed into schools in September 2018 on the premise that the government knew we had met the requirements of our teacher training programme. However, we were told that since we were not in possession of our certificates we would be upgraded when we presented them to the ministry after graduation. This turned out to be a lie.

After much agitation by newly qualified teachers concerning their upgrade, the HR (human resource) department in the Ministry of Education informed us that our upgrade was not processed as the ministry was in negotiations with the teachers’ union. That turned out to be another lie!!!

The union released a statement indicating that they were never negotiating with the ministry and demanded that the Ministry of Education stop the unfair punishment being meted out to newly qualified teachers by withholding our upgrade and backpay.

At the union meeting dated Monday 11th March 2019, newly qualified teachers were informed that the Ministry has in fact stopped the tradition of upgrading newly qualified teachers, as well as providing us with our well-deserved backpay. Not once has the ministry publicly informed us of these changes!!!

I feel disrespected as a teacher and I am rightfully pissed off. If the Ministry of Education sees it fit to pay me (a qualified teacher) the same peasant salary I was getting before I became qualified, then what exactly was the purpose of me going to teachers’ college for TWO years to become a trained teacher?!!

What then is the point of having qualified teachers in schools if the government isn’t willing to pay us for our sacrifices?!! The government might as well pull random people off the street and place them into classrooms to teach because it appears that being qualified has no value in their eyes.

It is easy for parents to bash teachers and vilify us on social-media platforms while they remain ignorant of the extent to which we suffer every day. Teachers are expected to be surrogate parents, mentors, care takers, nurses, counsellors and disciplinarians to a generation of children that have become more difficult to manage by the day.

Teachers give life to all other professions on this earth, yet the government of St. Lucia thinks it can treat us like prostitutes, giving us the money they want and not the money we deserve.

THIS IS NOT A NEGOTIATION
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
WE WANT OUR MONEY

The government is NOT going to get away with treating us like second-class citizens.

Kind regards,
A pissed off teacher

(57)(5)
This article was posted in its entirety as received by stlucianewsonline.com. This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of stlucianewsonline.com, its sponsors or advertisers.

17 comments

  1. Is the action of the Ministry in f act illegal according to the educaion act when they choose to delay negotiat lion or decide not to upgrade their teachers

    (0)(0)
  2. Now that is what I am talking about. If you guys want the majority of the people to get on your side I think you need to get messages such as this across using social media, mainly because you know the other forms of media we have down here(T.V, newspaper and radio) may have their own political affiliations/ties. if we are being serious we can definitely agree that the masses just do not know what you guys are suffering through so we are skeptical about your true motives and the end game. Show us pictures of the conditions you work under, tell us the financial misdeeds that you are experiencing and give us your current pass rates and projected rates based on these improvements. I understand the government will be the ones approving the increases and overall improvements(hopefully) but we the masses are the ones sending our children to school so it may be best to appeal to us for support. I will never stand against my own people when they wish to lobby for better but please get us in the know so we can make an informed decision as to where we throw our support.

    (3)(0)
  3. Concerned Citizen

    The timing of this letter is rather suspect. It seems like the SLTU is behind this. I am still baffled at why persons willingly choose a profession having full knowledge of what it entails, then turn around and bash everyone else about how burdensome and unfair it is. As a former teacher and current parent, I can honestly say I do not empathize with you. Having witnessed first hand as well as having heard numerous reported accounts of the often atrocious treatment some of our poor children suffer at your hands, I will stand in solidarity with the truly defenseless; our students, the ones in Grades K through 7 primarily.

    Yes, teachers, we are cognizant of how unruly and ill-mannered our children can be at times. So were the majority of you during your childhood and school years. What part of children are immature and require guidance and forbearance don't you comprehend? We are also aware that you have your pets. You know, those students who can do no wrong in your eyes. Perhaps its the one with the "nice" hair (aka coolie or dougla) or maybe it's the shabin one. Oh and let's not forget the one who comes from a well-to-do family. Trust me, we know. You guys need to do some serious introspection and quit treating people's children lower than second class citizens. While you're at it, please grow up and stop behaving like big entitled babies. Be thankful that you are fortunate enough to actually have a job and fixed monthly income. There are many who cannot relate. It is blatantly obvious that all you care about is your pockets. And guess what, we don't care.

    (7)(25)
    • Before you bash qualified teachers and their classroom management skills enlighten me as to which profession people are not paid for their qualifications?...as you said you are a parent...I hope your kids don't go out looking for work and I hope that they are not paid for their qualifications because you are a ridiculous mf....

      (9)(1)
      • Many professions pay you for the actual work you do and not some piece of paper. Are you saying that a teacher with 10 years experience without teachers college is any less effective than a teacher with no experience straight out of teacher college? Is that what you teachers are teaching our kids?

        (3)(1)
    • You speak about being a former teacher....during your time of teaching was the cost of living so high? Were the students so difficult to handle? Time is changing and if you were okay with the salary you were given for your work it's you. A fair days pay for a fair days work. This all teachers all requesting and they have the right to request. After all it's a democratic country and we all have the right to speak as we see fitting. If the government wanted to stop the upgrading of teachers they should have made it known to the relative parties prior. And yes we know the teaching profession is demanding we know. We also know that you are entitled to a salary/wage when you work. So if the government didn't want people (teachers) to be making such demands they should have laid their cards on the table from the get go. They should have informed teachers (newly qualified ) that the basic rate is now based on your qualifications before teachers training college.

      (8)(1)
      • But you're aware of the circumstances when you sign on for the job. I can understand cost of living increases but when you talking about unruly children then you have serious issues.

        (2)(1)
  4. This is nothing new. Has always been the case. The backpay stopped a few years ago with the other administration. The length of time for the upgrade has always been this long.

    (3)(2)
  5. This is nothing new. Has always been the case.

    (3)(3)
  6. Budget you'll money properly. No increase needed. There are over qualified people working within the private sector and are under paid yet they survive. Increase in salary will result in an increase in cost of living. Everyone will suffer. Learn to live with what you'll have currently and stop with this prostitute bullshit!
    Next time take the $1000 at the end of the year, i.e., if they ever offer it again!

    (8)(22)
    • I don't understand we as St Lucians the government is free to spend monies as the please, but once a worker try to stand up for rights they are being bashed on. The staff of private companies do fight fir their salary increase and whatever benefits due to them, example lucelec, now bank of St Lucia is in negotiations for theirs. Would you say they are lazy and don't deserve it. Is it right the government to pay the Caymans $4 millions to come and operate the new hospital. It is ok for the government to pay consultants to come and do the same work they are paying government workers to do. Only for those consultants to tell them they already know what to do. It ok for the government is add an additional 2.5,% from our salaries for Universal health care. The cost of leaving is going up no matter if government give their workers a salary increase or not. Tell the government with ever one is in power stop the lavish spending

      (7)(0)
  7. I have been there and done that, which qualifies me to make this statement. They deserve every penny that they make. A teacher's duty is now compounded with the lack of security in schools. They are not even safe in the classroom anymore.

    Can you believe that I sat an exam for which I was successful, But this guy who was a principle of a teacher training school and also held an office in the ministry of education, manipulated the result. My pass was given to a student, which everyone attending said school knew that he had a sexual relationship with and who never sat said exam. I had to launch a complaint to recover my success. People be vigilant and trust no one.

    (13)(3)
  8. I totally agree with the stand these teachers have taken. My child has been in classrooms with more than thirty students. Teachers are expected to reach every child so that they all excel. Multiple subjects being taught mon-fri, to 30 + students, with 30 + different personalities with some students coming from homes where the parents don't show interest in their childs education, are emotionally absent.....
    Our children are the ones suffering as a result of this, but OUR teachers are not volunteers. They have lives and expenses like every individual and deserve the respect they demand.
    Stand for something, or fall for anything! I am a single parent with one child, and i stand with all the teachers.

    (38)(3)
    • The letter, as well as the comment by stand strong, was not written by a teacher. Most primary school teachers are not capable of writing these political pieces. One thing I agree with Stand Strong, is the idea that the ministry should pull random people off the streets to teach the children. The resulting performances of the children would not be any worse than what exists currently. 50% of the children can't read, write or count.

      (8)(33)
      • Do you have statistics to support your claims. Persons must stop commenting on things that they do not know about just to get favours from politicians. HOW DARE YOU DISRESPECT TEACHERS BY SAYING THIS WAS NOT WRITTEN BY A TEACHER. Are you aware that all writer in the world begin to learn to write in primary school.

        (18)(3)

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