I wish teacher status raised as dollar did…

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It was a nice Saturday evening, after a hard work week when my brother invited me to join his company of friends to play billiard. I thought it was a great idea, to go out and relax, leaving all thoughts related to work, students, home works and lessons at home. I was introduced to others because I had never appeared before them till that day. Here we are playing, chatting, getting to know each other. One guy wearing stylish sunglasses with a cigarette, filling the room with smoke, came up to me. And everything started… Having asked how my things were going and other regular stuff, he showed interest in my occupation. And… In a moment I found myself surrounded by my brother’s friends, guys playing billiard stopped it, those in back of the room stepped forward. I thought to myself “I just said I am a teacher, what’s wrong?”

Of course, upon graduation from the university I was already aware of the problem of the low status of teachers, and what attitudes people (especially young man) had towards teaching profession. So was I aware of the shortage of male teachers in schools, but it is a different story. To be honest I understood the reaction of my “billiard partners”.  This kind of situations are the lessons to learn from. Unfortunately, we have to admit that we are all responsible for the current state of things with teachers and teaching profession.

The role of media in this is important. If mass media are one of the means of propaganda, we are on a wrong track… Sometimes chasing shocking news to increase their ratings, they “add fuel to the fire”, worsening the situation. In everyday life we can see what image of a teacher mass media build, often it is negative, presented in the form of incidents. Sad to say, media cannot or do not want to understand what kind of seeds in people’s minds they trigger to grow. If seeds are watered by unhealthy teacher images, the consequences of it are not optimistic. It seems like a hindrance for the government, given the fact that the state officials have made much efforts in attempt of promoting and increasing the status of teaching profession. Rather, media could serve for the sake of the country and society by launching different inspiring projects, as the US did producing movies about teachers.

It is already a beaten topic, the low status of teachers, but is worth to keep talking about it as the problem persists. The desired goal is to make our society understand how vital the role of teachers is, because they are the main agents in developing the country’s human capital. If we manage to do so, success and prosperity are just around the corner.

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12 thoughts on “I wish teacher status raised as dollar did…

  1. Glad to see you finally managed to post. I noticed your post was at the top of the home page because you checked the box “sticky”, meaning that it sticks tot he homepage. I’ve unstuck it so that newer posts will show up above yours. Next time, leave that checkbox blank.

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  2. Thank you, Bauyrzhan! Because you raised such worrying everybody topic. Status of teacher is low because of little wages and people’s attitudes. Right?
    Let’s think why most people (or maybe not most – I’ve never read research about it) consider that to be teachers is so easy. I guess they say:
    – Oh! You need just to talk a lot.
    – You have so free time.
    – You can go to class, open a book and just read it.
    – You can give students a task for the whole lesson and do what you want.
    And government despite its brilliant words about teachers doesn’t provide them with normal salary and hence make people think that they are right: teachers don’t deserve more money.
    I am sure that good teachers of public schools are real altruists. They just love their work.
    So what should we do to change the situation and people’s attitudes?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I do agree! Interestingly, “men in Kazakhstani education” is rare phenomenon. Local society get used to women – educators and I could imagine the pressue and critique of your “billiard friends”. Even though, the issue of men in education and overall prestige and status of educators should get attention among society. Mass media, policy makers, active citizens and academic stakeholders have to rise attention on this vital issue. To be honest, sometimes it seems to me that Kazakhstani teachers and educators suffer in silence, since i haven’t met any active teacher (academic) union or association. To this point, I would hold the opinion that if such issues as prestige of academic settings, statuses of doctors or power of innovations will be recognised and acknowledged, hopefully we would have a place in the list of most developed counties. Otherwise I don’t think that oil, gas and spendings on Expo could bring us to the top list of bests. Additionally, it worth to go back to Kazakh history, where famous, extraordinary figures in education were men. Ybyrai Altynsarin, Akhmet Baytursynov, Kudaibergen Zhubanov they are brilliant examples of male success in education. Thanks Bauyrzhan for the opportunity to comment this hot topic.

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  4. Unfortunately, this is something we have to admit. Whenever a person asks about your profession, and when you tell you are a teacher… something changes there in that conversation. This is because people measure everything by the amount of salary. What is the best job? it is not that which you like, but that with a high salary; Consequently, that very job has a higher status and prestige.

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  5. Hey, Bayurzhan! Thank you very much for your post! I like it so much! You have raised such an interesting and actual topic in the sphere of Kazakhstani education- a teacher’s status. So many things have been told and so much have been done so far in order to raise a Kazakhstani teacher’s prestige. According to some statistics, the salary of an ordinary teacher has been increased 4 times since 1992. However, it remains the same.
    If we say that the problem is in salary,let’s look at Finnish practice. For instance, the salary of Finnish teachers is not high at all, even lower than our teachers’ wages.But, being a teacher in Finland is more than prestige. So, I think the problem is not just in salary…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Aliya, let me kindly disagree with you. Being honest I do not have official information on average teacher salary in Kazakhstan, but know some from teachers themselves. And I have tons and tons of doubts that they make even half or even third of what Finnish teachers enjoy. According to OECD (http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/education/teachers-salaries_teachsal-table-en) 2011, annual teacher salary varies between 30500 and 46000 USD. Which means an average teacher earns minimum 2500 USD per month or 450000 tenge. I would shake a hand of an average teacher who in Kazakhstan makes above mentioned sum!

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  6. Dear Bauyrzhan, do not worry, there is nothing wrong with your current occupation. Contrarily, you happened to be in the company of wrong people who had misconceptions about teaching profession. You are absolutely right considering teachers as the key players in enhancing human capital. They are the people who influence and inspire others by touching their future.Teaching is not a profession, it is a passion.
    Yet today, teachers are undervalued, under-supported and underpaid.
    Moreover, in our society teacher status is an issue that is closely tied to salary and working conditions.
    What steps can be taken to raise teacher status?As for me, I am for the commencement of a national project where teachers can share their priceless experiences and inspiring stories with the other teachers and public. To sum up, I propose this project as a first step to change misperceptions of teaching profession and to support these irreplaceable people

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks everyone for your comments. We all see how much responsibility, workload, pressure teachers have every single day, so that they lack time to do what they are actually hired to do. Sad! At this point, I would not like to enumerate all “shoulds” and “needs” to improve the situation. We say that teachers are not valued, neglected by society. As one of the root causes of it, I think (and I stand firm my ground), is banal salary.

      Living in market economy conditions, it would be naive to say that money does not matter. Teachers are also human beings and have their own needs, which, unfortunately, cannot be met due to their salary. If we compare it with wages of people working in other spheres (lets say finance, law, state security and etc), it is shame. We tend to claim that economists deserve high salary because they are responsible for economic situation of the state, lawyers for justice, army and police for security and so on. But human capital, which the government keeps talking about as a main potential for the development of the country is a direct concern of those “undervalued, under-supported and underpaid” (as Assanova commented)!
      I hope to be understood correctly.

      P.S. Paradoxically, despite anything teachers keep doing their job at their best. This very fact (yes, it is fact) itself deserves respect! “Teaching is a matter of values. People teach because they believe in something. They have an image of the ‘‘good society’’ (Woods, Jeffey, Troman, and Boyle as cited in Day, 2002, p.682)

      Reference:
      Day, C. (2002). School reform and transitions in teacher
      professionalism and identity. International Journal of Educational Research, 37, 677-692.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Although the problem of low status of a teacher is discussed all over the world as one of the crucial topics in education, nobody can reject the vital role a teacher plays in society. “… the teacher is engaged, not simply in the training of individuals, but in the formation of the proper social life” (Nebeker, 2002, p.14). Teachers are those whom we trust to prepare young people to lead successful and productive lives. If not a teacher, who will teach children the skills to support themselves in future? Kazakhstan prioritizes to increase status of a teacher including this goal to the State Program of Education Development in the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2011 – 2020. It gives support for teachers and realization the fact that society is not indifferent to this global issue.

    References
    Nebeker, M.L. (2002). The teacher and society: John Dewey and the experience of
    teachers. Retrieved from: http://www.modernghana.com/…/the-teacher-and-the-society….

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  8. There is a notion that the job is easy if it is mostly done by women. And when men decide to do this job he is more than welcome. So, would you agree that it is easier for men to find a good job as a teacher?

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  9. It is surprising how is the status of teacher may vary between countries, starting with respect and unquestionable authority of teachers in Japan and China and finishing with unpleasant feeling we usually have in our country. There are a lot of reasons creating such disparity – social, economic and cultural. But i totally agree that the media played a negative role in attempt to attract auditory. For instance, yellow press in my hometown has a “special” rubric – students all over the city may call editors and inform on the “shocking facts” they experienced at school. It is sad, but that is how it is. I tend to think that we really need any nationwide project, which will finally increase the role of the teacher. Thanks, Bauyrzhan!

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  10. I like the title of your post “I wish teacher status raised as dollar did”. It will be cool, if teacher status rises but dollar falls .
    Because of collapse of the Soviet Union teacher status was a huge problem in Kazakhstan in the 90th and stills is the topic under the hot discussion. The government did not pay enough attention to the educational sphere at that time. Teachers were not provided with development courses and were played for a long period. A lot of teachers (mostly men) started to leave their professions seeking for the jobs in other spheres such as economic and business. The feminization of the teaching profession also was the result of the Crisis of teaching profession. All this factors led to the shortage of teacher. Teaches, who stayed at school, taught in overloaded classrooms, sometimes with students with different levels and were obliged to teach subject that was not their specialties. As the result teacher professionalism was under the question. The “hidden market” and private tutoring append as the results of willingness of teachers to find additional source of income.
    All this caused underestimation of teacher profession. Nowadays the government of Kazakhstan tries to improve and raise the status of teachers in schools. I hope that most of us will exert a force on improving the situation with teacher status. Thus, in the nearest future we will see the result of this actions.

    Reference
    Silova, I. (2009). The crisis of the post-Soviet teaching profession in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Research in Comparative and International Education, 4(4), 366-83.

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