You are here
Teachers at Shiva Boys fear ‘dictator’ principal
Teachers at the Shiva Boys’ Hindu College in Penal are being forced to comply with new rules which they said were outlined by the principal. Failure to comply with the new rules would result in victimisation or, teachers could transfer to another school. At the start of the new school term on January 7, teachers were told they had to supervise their form class during the 20-minute recess because there was a high level of vandalism of school property by students.
Sunday Guardian understands that the rules were outlined to teachers at an impromptu staff meeting on the first day of school. Fearful teachers claimed the school was governed by a “dictatorial principal.” According to a teacher, the principal stated that the new directive was received from the district office and was sanctioned by the School Supervisor III.
However, no teacher was given or shown documentation to support the new rule. The denominational school falls under the educational district of St Patrick. One teacher said, “In addition to regular teaching duties we are forced to abide by his rules, or face victimisation.
“We were informed that we would have to supervise our form classes during the recess period which is from 10 am to 10.20 am every day in an effort to minimise students vandalising school property.” Another teacher claimed that the principal said checks would be made to ensure that this rule was adhered to and teachers who failed to comply would be logged.
“After the meeting, he made actual checks in the classrooms during the recess to ensure that form teachers were in their classes and teachers who were not there were subsequently logged,” the teacher said.
The few teachers who spoke to the Sunday Guardian said their concern was that principals needed to bear in mind that teachers were human beings. They said no special provisions were made for teachers who were scheduled to teach from 8.30 am to noon and that it suggested that such teachers would be required to work for three and a half hours without being able to use the bathroom or access drinking water.
One angry teacher said, “What happens to diabetic teachers who need a small mid-morning snack? “Were they even thought about in all of this?” The teachers said no teacher verbally opposed the rules especially since opposition was silenced by disrespectful responses from the principal. One teacher said the principal insisted that the Ministry of Education does not entitle teachers to a recess and therefore all teachers must conform with the rule.
“He said anyone who was dissatisfied was free to seek a transfer to another institution.” Several calls to Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh’s mobile went unanswered.
TTUTA: Come to us, let’s deal with it
First vice-president of the T&T Unified Teachers’ Association Davanand Sinanan yesterday said teachers who were affected should contact the union who will intervene and try “to get to the bottom of it.” He said he needed to get more facts on the situation and advised teachers to seek representation from TTUTA.
Asked whether teachers were entitled to the 20-minute recess, he said it was not a yes or no answer. “It depends on the timetable but I need to know more of what the circumstances are before I make further comments.”
Principal: It wasn’t an illegal instruction
Contacted yesterday, principal Dexter Sakal said out of the 42 teachers only one had complained. He admitted he informed teachers about the supervision during the recess but said he did so because students were keeping the classrooms untidy and disorganised. He also said vandalism of school property was an issue.
However, Sakal said according to his interpretation of guidelines from the Ministry of Education, recess was an entitlement for students, not for teachers. Sakal said, “I don’t think it was an illegal instruction. I did it because I wanted to uplift the school. If there is a problem I have to do things to address them.”
Sakal said teachers’ work hours were from 8.10 am to noon, then from 1 pm to 2.30 pm. He said only form teachers were required to supervise his/her class and not subject teachers. “The entire staff is complying except for one teacher. “The others are seeing the merit of the instruction,” Sakal said.
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.