Salomo Ndeyamunye yaNdeshimona
This article aims to shed my opinionated thoughts on the staffing of education institutions. Its anatomy will however be more on schools, and little on institutions of higher learning. The opinions shared here are sparked by a trend in education, wherein elderly staff members prefer to work at schools near their homes. As much as many would motivate this move as prudent, informed, and well calculated, it presents a predicament for the staff member and the destined school in most cases.
Transferring to a nearby school or your community of origin or residence is good, as it brings one near home and family. It presents an opportunity for the staff member to develop and serve their community surely. However, it should also be looked upon with pitying eyes. In most cases, the staff member tends to do this in their late 40s, 50s, and towards pension. They are often weary and have little energy to perform in most cases. They have reached a level where they feel they have accomplished a task. In most cases, they have little to offer if at all.
Worst, coming to a community school of origin is a tragedy when it comes to handling discipline, motivation amongst learners. The native learner knows the staff member thoroughly, their parents are friends in some cases, they know the weaknesses of the staff member. Thus they often have that in mind when receiving advice and motivation from them. This is the reason why schools prefer getting motivation from people from other communities. The learners tend to judge you by your upbringing and background, which in turn demotivates them. Dealing with the discipline of someone you know well often sparks leniency thus one may not apply all disciplinary measures to the fullest in most cases. These staff members would need to be recused from a hearing as it may present a conflict of interest, thereby denying the school their most needed expertise.
They furthermore risk being rebuked by the community if they treat the learner harshly, or partake in their disciplinary hearing for instance. This is also applicable to staff members serving at schools from where they hailed, or at their communities of origin. They may say they have home ground advantage but which they often do not use to the advantage of the masses, but to further their agenda and self-gratification.
An occurrence I observed was that of a staff member who owns a bar in the community he works in and originated from. The staff member was given a task to address the issue of the youngsters (school-going) at bars and cuca shops in a parent meeting. It was tough, as one parent backlashed them citing that these kids used to be together with the staff member at bars, which he owns for that matter. As much as one sees this as a motivation factor to the learner that one of them has ascended to a serving position, in most cases it does not work out that way. It is therefore wise to say, the school manager needs to be careful when dealing with these cases.
It is also a thought provocation to those planning to make these switches to consider the move and change it to be more in the interest of the school of destiny rather than just themselves. We should aspire to be agents of change in every institution we serve. The school manager or any manager can take advice from anyone, no matter how diminutive one thinks of themself. Thus, being an asset in every school is better than being a liability.