The Conflicting Roles of Teachers

Essay by DaintybodypebblesCollege, UndergraduateA-, June 2004

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The teachers' role is very dynamic and versatile, however, there are quite a number of conflicting expectations they face about the roles they should play. This makes the vocation of teaching one of the most challenging and demanding ones. Along with teaching in their curriculum area, the role of a teacher is to foster children's interest and facilitate learning in a positive manner. As a result, the teacher has the ascribed roles of mentor or role model, parent, caregiver, counsellor and a motivator, to highlight a few. In the society, the teacher very often, is given roles, which he does not necessarily believe is his. This often proves to be difficult for teachers, as the teacher has to perform his prescribed roles as well as those that have been ascribed.

In a survey I conducted among teachers at the primary and secondary level schools, the most recurring conflicting expectation teachers encountered, involved the disciplining of students.

As teachers, their job is to properly educate their students, which means imposing punishments if necessary. They explain that both their superiors and the parents expect them to assist in maintaining discipline among the students. They note, however, that when they carry out this duty, parents visit them unexpectedly and give vent to their frustrations at them for doing so. Some parents are unhappy when teachers engage in disciplinary actions towards their child and as a result, formulate complaints against the teachers or the school board. They may even engage in lawsuits against the teacher. One teacher at the Yallahs Primary School in St. Thomas was very adamant when she commented, "I don't care what the students want to do here, all I want to know is that I teach them what I have to!" This she said, after recounting an experience she...