Trouble in Hong Kong…

an outsider's perspective of hong kong

we need teachers

with 2 comments

unstoppable had me at the edge of my cinema seat all throughout the movie. directed by tony scott – it is quite the usual common guy became hero of the hour kinda of story about a runaway train. i love denzel washington especially in american gangster and am quickly developing a thing for the young chris pine – whose eyes are so so blue!!!

in the movie denzel washington plays the role of a train operator who has been working for the same train company in the last 28 years. three weeks before he had to chased down the runaway train, he was given a 90 day termination notice.

a few weeks ago, my husband was telling me about the death of his ex boss, someone he had revered a lot because the guy was a fantastic mentor who was always willing to teach and to learn from everyone around him.

i don’t know about you but have you ever had someone changed your life just because the person was such an inspiring teacher? i can name a few in my life.

my mother used to tell me stories about the teachers at her convent. i think about the teachers now and the teachers then – i see a big difference. women in the 1950s and 1960s had very few job selections – the cream of the crop would have either become teachers, nurses or secretaries in big firms. look at the selection now – shit people are educating our children. in a way i don’t blame them because when salary is shit, what sort of teaching levels should you expect? in the uk, a grammar school teacher gets paid less than a taxi driver, why?

we need teachers. not just in school but in companies and at every level possible.

i feel that the most powerful force governing the world today are not governments; it is the world of finance. the trend is very evident – when you work for a company for a long time, your pay rises- till the point they say, “let’s find a replacement, younger, more energetic and most importantly cheaper”. the old guys get replaced. looks good on the bottom line and we are that bit closer to our quarterly forecast.

there is something we cannot replaced. the young ones have no one to learn from. we can learn a lot from books but nothing beats the real experience of  having done something.



Written by smalltroubleinhk

December 9, 2010 at 3:17 am

2 Responses

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  1. You’re right about the “septic tank effect” in education: the big pieces tend to float to the top.

    I’ve had the misfortune to have gone back to university four times because of some stupid regulatory recognition PR exercise dreamt up by the government for political correctness for my industry. What I’ve witnessed within the walls of at least those four unis doesn’t inspire much confidence in the quality of the uni students themselves we have today, or about the students these people are destined to teach. For instance, many university students majoring in linguistics can’t differentiate the phraseology of a native English speaker from that of a non-native speaker. Another glaring example: a final-year uni student majoring in English don’t know what “chicks” are.

    As to teachers being paid shite, the facts don’t bear this out. An “Unqualified Teacher” in government or aided primary and secondary school is paid on Master Pay Scale Point 4 (or HK$9,845 a month) – but that doesn’t happen since 2004 when schools in HK no longer are allowed to hire such teachers. Most teachers today are GMs (Graduate Masters/Mistresses) paid between Points 17 and 33, depending on their formal qualifications – that’s between HK$21,000 to HK$44,000 a month. The median income for GMs is predominantly HK$32,000 a month.

    To put things in perspective, the median income for a commercial general manager or operations manager is HK$574,000 a year – or roughly HK$47,800 a month. An architect (not landscape or naval) is at HK$419,000 a year – or roughly HK$34,000 a month.

    Even if we discount the mechanistic headcounting technique I’m using here, we can still safely generalise (even in a watered-down objective way) that your average schoolmaster/schoolmistress is earning a ‘professional’ salary comparable to that of (certainly) a deputy general manager of a commercial enterprise or an architect with 10+ years of professional and professionalised training. What is perhaps arguable but nonetheless noticeable is that teachers’ earning power is unmatched by quality of performance if and when we reference that performance to the quality of output of their students in terms of overall formal testing results such as from public examinations.

    Mercantilism has always been the driving force in society since around the Renaissance (which was why it was called the Renaissance…). People become replaced as they reach to their own level of incompetence, as Bob Garratt has said in his 1984 book “The Learning Organization,” because mercantilism banks on the fact that every one of us eventually stops learning at some point in our lives, and that provides the unassailable excuse for finding a cheaper replacement.

    Good post, by the way. Way to go.


    December 9, 2010 at 3:55 pm

  2. Going back to uni four times? Wow, that is some major screw up.


    December 10, 2010 at 3:16 am

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