There are a few things that frustrate me to no end - one of these is getting sick. Please don't misunderstand me, I have nothing against illness - it is generally a sign that you're exhausted and your body needs timeout to replenish or repair itself. My dilemma is I don't know what to do when I'm forced to sit still or as is the case today, stay in bed. I've got an upper respiratory tract infection, scratchy throat and runny nose. Its most irritating.
But having "nothing-to-do" allows you to reflect on your journey as a person. My ex-boss constantly reminded us that we " are spiritual beings having a human experience" and that we must make it our life's purpose to influence society - we have so little time to be human - in South Africa. As a male, about 60 - 70 years.
As an educator, we have on average 200 school days per year over 13 years of formal schooling (including GR R) to influence our future generation of adults. That approximates to 2600 days. Times it by an average of 7-hours per day and it amounts to under 20000 hours! It is NOT a lot of time to prepare young minds to engage and re-shape our world. We cannot afford to waste our time with them.
And it is not lost on me that the intensity of our engagement with young minds over such a short period of time, makes us run ourselves down, skip meals because of preps and marking, sleep for shorter periods, cut down on social activity, attend fundraising events and plays and valedictories and so on. And so many of us breakdown; we become sick - we pushing too hard and forgetting to be smart around our work.
In February this year, our National Minister of Basic Education told reporters at parliament that " teachers were absent for close to 7.5 million days last year, translating into the highest rate of absenteeism in SADC [Southern African Development Community]. We're at 19 days [average per teacher] a year. It's huge. An average of 10% nationally,"
Now if, on average, we are absent 19 days a year, it implies that many children are potentially without teachers for the period per year. I'm not suggesting we cannot get sick or things do not happen to us, but you will agree the national average is high.
So my appeal to you is to slow down the rush - I know its not easy, but we have to work smarter. We cannot reach the end of our teaching lives so sick and exhausted that the only thing that seems viable is to "wait-to-exhale".
What do you think? Do leave a comment.