Education

Dear President, I’m a teacher who is angry, anxious and confused

Dear President Cyril Ramaphosa,

I am angry, anxious, confused, my emotions ride see-saw and morally I am conflicted. And God and everyone who knows me, know that I’m the eternal optimist. 

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I’m always the one on the team trying to find the positives, the stuff that can work, the stuff that has the potential for magic to be created, but sadly, this time around, they are just not there. And if they are there, I’m just not able to see them. 

I’m just a teacher, a passionate one, for the longest time. 

Teaching runs in my veins. It sits in my DNA. I’ve inherited teaching from a long line of family and loved ones. 

When I was woven in my mother’s womb, God intended for me to be a teacher. 

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I’m trying to understand, to make sense of the decisions you and your National Covid-19 Command Council make. 

Right now, the committee of doctors, epidemiologists, virologists and scientists are differing on matters, not just differing, but doing so in public. Do you have any idea what that does to my confidence and trust I am supposed to have in them? I trusted that we are led by the best people at this time. Unfortunately, that trust is slowly eroding. 

It does not matter to me what the differences are about. There should not be such a thing, not at this level, not at this time, where decisions are taken about life and death. These are the people we look up to, for guidance and direction on the factual information on how this virus operates and frankly, none of their ego’s matter to me. 

Against this backdrop, it is expected of me to report at a school. A school that is not even ready to receive me, in respect of agreed upon and promised sanitized conditions. I must now go and perform functions that fall way outside the stipulations of my job description, in direct violation of my labour rights as a teacher worker. 

I’m confused, because schools can open, but churches and parliament will not. I try to spin my head around it, and whatever I do with the puzzle pieces, it just does not fit.

Alcohol and cigarette purchases are outlawed because it creates conditions for the virus to spread. But schools must be opened and I’m told that the virus will spread, after all, we know as fact, that children are carriers of the virus. I’m also told that there will be outbreaks and spikes, yet I must just go. 

The people of Auschwitz comes to mind. 

This is a startling example of how deeply the systems of this country is steeped in the rot and slime of capitalism. Teachers (childminders) must go to school so they can take care of the children of the apparatus of the capitalists, so the fucked up economy can open up for profits to start rolling in. 

Matrics must write an exam and get a certificate so that the system of education provision that upholds inferiority, poverty and hunger can continue. There must be school so that systems that have not improved the lives of millions for many, many years, can continue.   

During the Bosnian War, (that ethnically rooted Yugoslavian war, that lasted for 4 years from 1992– 1995) there was no school for 4 years. They had school again after the war and everyone picked up where they left off. 

We are at war with a virus. We are not at war with another nation or with one another. 

I completely understand that this is not just about a headstrong, arrogant education minister. It’s about a set of systems directed by humans, coming together, to conspire against those who oppose capitalism and the rot it represents. It’s about a set of systems that feels nothing for the fears, anxieties and terrors that parents of school-going children are currently under. 

Some will live and some will surely die, we are told. We look at each other with questions in our minds, am I next? 

What a space of terror to be in!!!! 

And the band plays on and on and on and on….

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