Rabu, 19 November 2008

The Low Salary of Teachers Decreases Their Creativity

I was browsing around and this phrase caught my attention. It goes like this - There's no denying...that Beethoven came with music in his soul, Picasso was drawing like an angel in the crib. And you are born with it. I asked myself, “am I creative?”. I had doubts, but then again the answer came as yes. This statement is true. Everybody is born with creativity, all we have to do is be given the time and opportunity to explore it.

Now let me talk about the teaching profession. I’ll give you the facts simple and flat, according to what I have gathered. Teachers are highly respected. They have a profession that is given a high regard in the community. Along with it is dealing with different personalities and tempers of the students, thus, they have to be continuously inventive to accommodate the diversity. Unfortunately, the ugly part of it is in reality, teaching is one of the low paying professions. Based on the Human Development Index done by United Nations, Indonesia ranked 107 from 170 countries based on the quality of university students produced by our country. Why is this happening? It’s because those who graduated as teachers opt for a high paying job. And the hope for quality education dies.

My first reaction to this topic was – absolutely not! It doesn’t affect their creativity. They should be creative, they have passion and so on and so forth. A good lecture about it was given to me and blessed the people who opened my eyes and enabled me to look at the real problem. Now I can say that I do believe that, this statement is right.

You might wonder how I can say this? Of course, teachers are passionate and creative, however we must also remember that they are also human beings. They have basic needs that they have to fulfill.

This is actualy tricky. It is like a domino where all things are linked together. Teacher, creativity, time, passion, motivation and salary. When one is not fully supported then everything will come crashing down. I am not saying that teachers are only interested with the money, but let me share to you what I was made to realize.

Let’s start with passion. Passion goes hand and hand with creativity. Passion needs motivation and if the needed motivation is not supplied then passion will be affected. With this passion comes creativity. Of course, it will decrease the creativity because they don’t have the motivation to encourage them when they are teaching in class. A good salary is a good motivation.

And as I have mentioned earlier, teachers are also human who have their basic needs. Everybody works to fulfill this basic needs for them and their family. It is the same thing with teachers. Teachers try to get enough money to be able to sustain their needs. If they receive only a small amount of wage, how can they survive? The low salary won’t help much, thus it will decrease the teacher’s time and concentration, because they will now think of other means to be able to provide and fulfill their basic needs. They cannot concentrate well; they won’t become focused in their lesson. Some if not most of them would even consider getting a second source of income. It wouldn’t really matter what kind, but the point is it is able to support their needs. So, the time that is supposed to be used for being creative is lost.

A very obvious example are our state school teachers who look for a second job or even third job after school so as to be able to sustain their family ‘s basic needs. So where is the time for them to relax and enhance their teaching methodology. They get lower salary, I’d say they won’t be able to focus in class and it will definitely decrease their creativity. When this thing happens, it will now come to the point that it is like eating. We merely eat to survive and not to relish the food.

Sad to say that this problem is observed globally and not limited to Indonesia. In indonesia, we already know that the constitution demands, the government to spend 25% from APBN for education. Up until now, the government continuously fails to fulfill that and still can’t give the money from APBN to the teachers. Where does the money go? Is that about corruption again? How can Indonesian students improve?

Other countries like Malaysia are already trying to address the problem, they got 20% from the government and awarded it to education which resulted in having a better education. Indonesia is also trying, but the problem is the implementation. Teachers are the moulders of people in the society, thus the salary that greatly affects their creativity should be addressed. I am not saying that money is everything, but money can help, and it is very important.

Lastly, as I have mentioned earlier, everybody is born with creativity. All that is needed is time and the opportunity to explore and be resourceful. And not having a second job or the burden of thinking about how they could fulfill their basic needs is a key. The government must start giving more attention to this problem and not wait until the intellectuals who are supposed to be teachers would not choose to be a teacher, but opt for a better high paying job. Teachers are not asking for a skyrocketing salary. What they are asking is what they deserve and what is just.

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