Asserting that too many teachers are living hand-to-mouth, the President of the Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUT) told a Saint Lucia event that ‘teachers need to feel appreciated in their pockets.’
“Teachers need to feel appreciated when they go to the supermarket. Teachers need to feel appreciated so that they can pay their bills and send their children to school without thinking about it,” Dr. Garth Anderson declared.
The CUT President addressed Saint Lucia educators at a teachers’ rally in Soufriere on Sunday.
He said teachers need concessions because they deserve them.
“You are more frontline than any other worker, before the pandemic, during the pandemic, and after the pandemic. We are frontline workers,” Anderson told his audience.
And he observed that the teaching profession has been under threat worldwide.
According to the CUT President, this was primarily due to a teacher shortage, poor remuneration, and a lack of respect for teachers’ professional judgment.
He also highlighted what he described as unjust government policies that undermine the teaching profession and lack of resources for teachers to carry out their duties effectively.
In addition, Anderson pointed to high-stress levels, burnout, budget cuts, and students’ anti-social behaviour.
“COVID-19 has only served to exacerbate these issues,” he noted.
Nevertheless, he observed that during these unprecedented times, teachers reinvented themselves and gave their best despite the circumstances.
In this regard, he stated that teachers need more than lip service.