GEORGE NEWS - This year's December holiday will be shorter for teachers at public schools, and teachers are not happy about it, says Thirona Moodley, executive officer of Naptosa (National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa).
According to the Department of Basic Education's term calendar, schools will close on 12 December 2018 and reopen on 9 January 2019 for pupils, whereas teachers will work till 14 December and return on 7 January. This arrangement is only for the 2018 calendar.
The reason for the shorter holiday is apparently to give teachers who mark the National Senior Certificate (NSC) exam papers more days to complete their in-school administration and assessments before they leave for the NSC marking.
Moodley told the George Herald this is not enough reason. "Teachers have all their work and assessments done already before the markers leave for the NSC marking. They then have minimum work. With such a short holiday, the teachers will not be rested for the new year. December is the only real vacation time they have. The other holidays are not really breaks. There are always school activities that the teachers are called up for."
Outeniqua High headmaster, Christo Vorster, said teaching is tough and demands a lot of energy. "You want your staff to rest well and be ready for the new year. It is a challenging career. On the other hand, every additional (school) day is welcomed as getting through the curriculum, especially in the case of Grades 10 to 12, is a huge challenge. I believe we have too little time for the curriculum."
He said about 30 teachers from Outeniqua mark NSC exam papers and for them the holiday is very short.
Morton van Rooyen, headmaster of George High, said he and his senior staff members will in effect not really have a holiday. "I have to be at the school a week after closure, and when the matric results come, we are back.
"We have to be here two weeks before the school term starts to plan the new timetable. It can only be done then because we need to know the number of pupils that have passed or failed."
He said during the other holidays, teachers are busy with events such as Spring School and sport tournaments. Teacher workshops are also held during holidays.
More information could not be obtained from the department before the newspaper went to press.
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