I was reading an interesting article entitled “please be aware that our kids/students are struggling” by The Wandering Empath. The author begins with “she had seen a lot recently about teachers not being okay.” and she agreed on this! Then, she mentioned how this is “overshadowing the struggles of the students during this time”. I found my self connected to this article. It describes a real and alarming situation! I wanted to read to the end. However, reading this: “teachers here work hard and are compensated. The average salary tops to $100,000 a year!” Urged me to stop reading and to start blogging directly about the Lebanese situation! In my country, both students and teachers are struggling and no one can estimate who is struggling more!
In my Lebanon, teachers work hard, but they are not compensated! The average annual salary in Lebanon has dropped from around $25000 before the depreciation of the Lebanese currency to less than $1200 today. The value of the Lebanese currency has lost 90% of its value since 2019; it plummeted from LL1500 to the dollar to about LL21000 to the dollar. This had a disparate impact on the life of the Lebanese people and specifically on teachers who rely on the end of month salary to make their living.
Let us count the stressful things the majority of the Lebanese teachers are suffering from:
1-Low money income that can’t cover basic costs of electricity, water and food.
2- The change in their life style to cope with the economic crises. Lebanese people have cut out many of the social connections and the outings that were the major stress release activities. They are urged to stay home due to high fuel costs and other outings demands.
3- Limited hours of electricity supply has affected the working hours at their houses. This affected the family daily routines and structure!
4- Complication in work due to the reduction of teaching resources. Schools are not able anymore to afford the same quality resources due to high expenses! Teachers have to find substitutions to keep on quality education!
5- The negative effect of the pandemic and the economical crises on the behavioral and the academic level of students.
6- Family members loss or sickness or even their sickness due to Covid widespread.
7- Teachers shift gears immediately to respond to new educational system needs and requirements with synchronous and asynchronous virtual instruction.
8- The migration of family members, friends and colleagues to find a better income has affected teachers’ and students’ emotional wellbeing.
9- The need to have Zoom live session during the Sahra Lebanese family time as majority of students have electricity supply after 6:00 pm.
10- Many of the teachers live in the mountains where all family members gather in one warm room. Teachers may need to have the Zoom live session while all family members are in same room. And in some cases, mother- teachers will have additional hours guiding their kids with their own live zoom sessions.
All these 10 reasons and I may have missed others, make the Lebanese teachers true Heroes. Teaching among miserable life conditions at the stage of just staying alive to keep schools opening!
Greetings my Colleagues! You are always doing great jobs! Believe that one day, all your hard work will pay off!