NAPTOSA Executive Director, Mr. Henry Hendricks, addressed the DBE Teacher’s Indaba and recent launch of the Teacher Appreciation and Support Programme.
Below are extracts of the address:
"Programme Director, Madame Minister, Deputy Minister, DG, officials of the Department of Basic Education (DBE), the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT), and the South African Council for Teachers (SACE), Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC), Unions,and the esteemed guests, 'Our Teachers' that are present . It is an honour and a great pleasure for me to present this message on behalf of NAPTOSA at this Teacher’s Indaba and Launch of the Teacher Appreciation and Support Programme by DBE.
Let me briefly reflect on the well-being and in particular the mental health of teachers. NAPTOSA is concerned that the burdens our teachers are bearing is having a negative impact on their mental health. According to recent research, nine out of ten teachers over 35 are on hypertension medication. Why? We as teachers deal with all the problems in the world but have very little support structures ourselves. The EAP programmes have not made the difference they were intended to have . Some of our teachers are teaching in harrowing conditions subjected to poor infrastructure, lack of parental and even management support. Then we are targeted by miscreants in the profession. We are sitting on a time bomb. History tells us that many of our teachers will quit before retirement. The lack of curricular support aids and abets this numbing situation.
NAPTOSA is therefore pleased that the Minister has proposed a departure from celebrating the World Teachers’ Day (WTD) as an event on the day, 05 October, instead regarding it as a programme for teachers which will concern itself with the welfare of teachers throughout the year. 'The 2014 WTD seminar by DBE and stakeholders raised an awareness of the value of teachers and teaching in our society under the banner of the South African version of the UNESCO theme, “Our Teachers, Our Future'. (Extract from the WTD strategy- 2015)
NAPTOSA endorses the 2015 theme, Teachers, the Heartbeat of the Nation and is proud to be associated with the interpretation of the concept 'recognition of teachers' that is wider and not limited to the 'feel good activities' like the observance of one day on 05 October but holistic, and ongoing to include areas that affect teachers as people and professionals. I have been in this profession for nearly four decades and began teaching when this profession in all communities was deemed a 'NOBLE Profession'. , Today there are still such noble beings amongst the 425 000 educator workforce. As NAPTOSA, we call on you all to help change the image of the profession by doing what is right, being in class on time and teaching to the best of your ability as we owe our children of South Africa that much. Today at this gathering I want to remind you what an awesome bunch you teachers are. I want to use some of my time to celebrate you. As I look at my own life, the things I value the most, the things I’ve grown to love, like writing, my ability to speak with relative ease to any audience, my curiosity, my love for learning. This is because of how I was parented and how I was taught.
Someone like you, A TEACHER took a little trouble with me, someone tugged my ear and refocused me. Someone like you cared enough. Those teachers were not weighed down by a regime that never consolidates. Their time was not taken up by prescribed lessons that did not educate. They innovated and taught me to innovate. Unlocking potential didn’t need a workshop, it happened because that is what teachers did. Teachers, you are the national treasure of this noble profession. The next time you feel drained, unappreciated and plop down onto that threadbare couch and turn on the TV, only to hear that you are not working, you are lazy, a burden to the fiscus, completely responsible for the upward inflationary pressures and possibly the real cause behind global warming. Please know there are millions out there, an army of regular people, of successful human beings who are behind you, who appreciate your sacrifice, who are grateful to you for touching their lives. They know they are something because you, A Teacher, made them so."
In conclusion , Mr. Hendricks encouraged teachers to never give up, to keep strong and believe in themselves. "NAPTOSA salutes all Teachers!!!.....…you are indeed ……… the Heartbeat of the Nation".