News like this crosp up fairly frequently here. This time, it's a village in far eastern Turkey that for more than a year has waited for a permanent teacher for its 65 children. On a few occasions interim teachers have come but then quickly left again.
I remember cases like this when we were in rural Guatemala, another place where small remote villages had trouble holding onto teachers. Nobody there needed to be convinced of the value of education; the problem is that to be a teacher in such places means miserable pay, difficult living conditions, and little life outside school. To be such a teacher requires a clear calling and exceptional character.
I started wondering more about how many more places in the world are waiting for a teacher, and a quick search turned up this report from UNESCO (and another older report) with the fact that worldwide more than 18 million new teachers must be recruited to keep current student-teacher ratios. Keep in mind that those ratios in the least developed countries are three times the ratios in developed countries, with some countries in Africa counting 50 or even 70 students for each teacher. To exacerbate the situation, large numbers of these teachers --as many as 50% in Uganda-- have no professional training at all. Still, there's something to be said for having a little but using it a lot, versus having a lot and using it too little.
When I was in university I volunteered to teach literacy to adults. I remember how nervous and inadequate I felt the first time, totally unaware of how rich I was from lifelong reading, rich far beyond the small cost of teaching another. Later in Guatemala I taught adults who were literate in Spanish how to write and read in their mother tongue (and yes, in that order because if they didn't write, there was nothing to read); I imagined we were like explorers as we sat around a table looking at words that had been written for the first time.
I have felt wonder and humility at the tremendous power that we pass on when we unlock the written word. I then go for long stretches without giving it a thought, until someplace like the village of İpekkuşak draws some notice and makes me once again examine my own calling.
Haberin Türkçesi için buraya tıklayın:
Radikal-çevrimiçi / Türkiye / Kalıcı bir öğretmen bekliyorlar