Mrs. Sharmella Pisep, the teacher who was paid K7 last fortnight | By Lucy Kopana

I am the daughter of a retired teacher.

My mother spent 30 years teaching until she retired in 2007. Day in and day out, my siblings and I watched her being both a mother and a teacher to us, and her students.

She would sit up late working on her lesson plans and would still be the first to wake up the next day to go to school.

I’m sure the children of committed teachers can say the same. We’ve always had to share our parent(s) with a hundred other kids through the years, and we got used to it.

This week, my team and I covered the stories of teachers who’ve been having their pays cut. Some for three consecutive fortnights, and others getting as low as K7.00.

Listening to their stories about how this affected their families, was frustrating for me, because I know for a fact how much effort teachers put into delivering lessons to their classes.

Today, I spoke to Mrs. Sharmilla Pisep. A teacher who has been serving for 31 years. She is a mother of five and now a single parent. Any student who has been taught by her, or has come across her would know how much of an active and committed teacher she is.

Sadly, she’s one of those many teachers who’ve been affected by the teachers pay cut problem. In the last fornight, she was paid only K7.00.

She told me how much of a burden it’s been for her, being a single parent, and how this has greatly affected her family.

I thought of my mom. Teachers are not paid overtime for the late night planning, and test marking, but they still show for work the next day. They go home with aching feet, and back aches from a day spent standing all day teaching in class. They spend weekends putting up educational material in their classrooms just so their students learning environment can be more conducive. This was what I saw my mom do.

When I spoke to Mrs. Pisep’s youngest daughter, she said it was unfair that her mom should get such an amount especially when she (Mrs. Pisep) chooses to go to school, even when her children are sick. I could relate.

I asked Mrs. Pisep what she would do if she got another pay cut, this was her response.

“If there is another pay cut, I don’t know what to do….whether to go to the classroom or stay in the house…but then on the other hand innocent children will be suffering because its not their doing.”

If our committed teachers are passionate about teaching other people’s children, they shouldn’t be treated the way they are being treated now.

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