Thousands of prospective teachers queuing for interviews at Seke Teachers College in 2014. A majority of those in the queue could have been forced by unforgiving economic hardships to try their luck in the teaching profession. One wonders how many such chancers end up in classes.
A landmark survey conducted by one local human resources consultancy firm a few years ago revealed that far too many people are in jobs that they would rather not be… especially those that started on their career paths when things started getting haywire, economically, in this country.
The research revealed that if they had a choice, many would not have taken the career path they took, and given another chance, they would not hesitate to abandon the jobs that they currently are in.
This should certainly explain the attitude of many people towards their work… whether one walks into a police station, into a supermarket, into a bank, into a restaurant; onto a construction site or into a clinic or hospital… many people just look too tired for the work at hand. Passion is just not there!
This therefore gives the country’s education sector – by far the biggest employer in Zimbabwe – a rich potential to be home to people that are there not by calling or deliberate choice, but were rather forced by circumstances into the field.
There are some folks that resent their jobs so much that it makes them angry, even before issues of conditions of service come into play. These you find them everywhere… at farms, in private homes, in the courts, in universities, on the buses and kombis, in churches, at all government offices (including the Office of the President and Cabinet!)… they are all over!
These people think they should not be there, but should be somewhere else, so no matter how anyone may try to motivate them, they will never belong, because this is not their natural territory. Circumstances beyond their control are responsible for their situation, hence the resentment.
It is like most marriages, given a second chance, many would not marry their current spouses, but the reality of life is that they are in it so it is important to make it work.
We at The Teacher Magazine have no reason to suspect, let alone suggest, that the noble teaching profession could be having more than its fair share of people who will never belong. We know that a majority of our teachers in Zimbabwe are teachers by calling, not by default.
Without denying that conditions of service for teachers in this country are unacceptably bad in a majority of cases, we maintain that the teaching profession – just like all other social services sectors – was never a place where those seeking to make a fortune would ever find a home. It, however, has always been a sure home for those that regard theirs as part of their service to God.
These should be saluted.