Hi! I am a teacher in a private school in Jhansi. Now, you must be wondering why am I telling you that? How is it related to my story?
During this pandemic of Covid-19 people are suffering a lot. Every where there is a financial crisis, people have lost their jobs, there is no source of income for some. In the midst of this, there is a group of teachers of private school, whose sufferings are not visible to anyone. Instead, every where on social media, parents are using a slogan of #NOSCHOOLNOFEES!
Before moving forward, let me tell you something about me and what I do these days. I am a teacher of English, in a private school in Jhansi. Due to the pandemic, I am taking online classes since April 2020. Our school is taking continuous pains in teaching students online. There are some teachers in my school who have no idea of how to use the app, but still they are trying a lot for the sake of their students, whom they treat as their own children. To make online classes like normal classes we have purchased what not; boards, tripods, some even have purchased smartphones just for taking online classes, on their own expense.
However, parents these days are refusing to pay the fees. Parents of an affluent background, or parents who are working in government services aren't paying the fees of their ward since April. Earlier we teachers also used to say that private schools demand high fees. But, to be fair, a school is not a non profit organisation. It may be able to pay the salary of its employee from what it has for 2-3 months, but what after that? Nothing. Then how will we teachers get our earning? We, who are working harder than ever.
I am an unmarried woman, so people may think what is the need of money for me. If I don't get salary for a month, what about my parents who are dependent on me? My father is not there and my mother is a housewife. We used to have tenants, but due to lockdown, they went to their village. So the income coming in from their rent has also stopped. I have not received any salary from my school in June, and in July when I received some, it was half the amount. In fact government teachers don't even earn that well, specially if they have just started working.
I cannot blame my school for the same because they have so many employees to pay and in current times when parents are not paying the fee, how are they supposed to do it? Anyhow, I am paying my EMI, electricity bill, internet bill and many other expenses with great difficulty. Sometimes, I call parents of my class children for fees. One time, a parent said, "fee for what? The school should be paying us fees. We are using internet for the classes(which for the record they already are using)".
They expect to be paid by the schools for teaching their child at their home!
Some parents tell us "ma'am humari to sunta hi ni hai aap daat dijiye thoda", and we understand that. So, we teachers also expect parents to understand our situation and pay their ward's fee. Do they not have any responsibility? But, every time that we raise our voice against the injustice, it is said that teachers are teaching for money. Why? Don't we have our own bills to pay?
Government has given many orders regarding the fees of the children, but what about the salaries of the teachers? Why have we been missed? There are parents who have not yet paid the fee for the month of April, yet their ward is attending all the classes, taking all the online tests but if called for fee they will say, "we did not ask the school to start online classes", or "we cant pay", or "the school offers no concession". Finally, if asked to meet the principal they will simply deny.
We don't want any child to miss any class, even if their fee is not paid. But we urge parents to pay the fees. Though you say, no school no fees, but still we teachers are virtually taking classes and trying to create school like environment at home through online classes.
We are making sure that their learning doesn't stop, can you not help us make sure that we are able to get our due with dignity?
I just want to share the reality with everyone and urge the government to help us private school teachers also during this difficult time. We deserve it.