Teach English in Nankuanping Zhen - Shangluo Shi

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Education in Jordan is supported heavily by international organizations, global powers, and local government. However, one area that remains underdeveloped and analyzed is teacher development. While most of these organizations send funds upon funds to strengthen the curriculum, provide new learning methods, analyze childhood development, they fail to analyze the catalyst of education: the teacher. As a researcher for a non-government organization in Jordan, my area of work focuses on student and teacher development. While the two are closely related, I find that there is a lack of data collection and analysis on teacher development, skills, experience, and perception on education and their teacher environment. Continuous surveys and data collection studies are conducted to understand student perception and learning in order to improve that area, but is not reciprocated for the teacher. In middle-resource countries like Jordan, teacher development is one of the few areas that ensures growth in education. A majority of fresh graduates go into teaching and education because of lack of careers on the market, and begin teaching with little-to-no experience. Others have a background in teaching and education, but lack the proper means and tools to continue to grow their skills and methods in the classroom. I believe that teacher career development stems into two parts: self-development and creativity. One major issue facing teachers in the MENA region is operating under a strict bureaucratic autonomy in education. By this, I mean that schools must align themselves with standards by the Ministry of Education, or standardized national exams, and have limited opportunity to incorporate new learning and teaching methods in their classroom. Teacher self-development falls into a similar category; the training program, activities and courses teachers take align similarly with those demanded within the Jordanian culture, rather than global standards. This can be viewed as the opportunity for teachers to enhance and grow themselves both for the classroom, and as professional individuals. This means allowing teachers time during the work day to take courses or attend training programs, that will equip them with proper tools to use in their jobs. Additionally, teachers often leave college or university and enter the teaching field, with no experience other than a two-week induction training. On the other hand, creativity is something that needs to be encouraged by the education system, and by schools themselves. Although the Ministry of Education is required to ensure that schools abide by the learning and curriculum standards, this should not automatically lead them to interfere with classroom creativity and instruction. Jordan, and the entire MEAN region, has focused severely on ensuring schooling for students, but have failed to provide learning. Government entities interfere in the autonomy that should be education, and force traditional ‘schooling’ practices that fail to include creative learning and engagement methods. Thus, not only does this limit a teacher’s ability to creatively develop themselves, but also their classroom. A main disadvantage to the education system, specifically in Jordan, is that while teachers receive induction training, they do not receive enough professional development to entice them to continue teaching. Even more, the only teachers who truly receive an official, certified induction program are public school teachers. Private school teachers receive some sort of on-board training, normally lasting two or three days to introduce them to the structure or system of the specific school they are working for. Even more, private school teachers are not officially protected under of the education standards by the Ministry of Education, and are often robbed of wages, low salaries, and lack (or nonexistent) benefits. A final important note to teacher development is reforming civil service to provide the best opportunities for teachers, and to develop the best teachers. While personal development and self-growth is important, teachers must be also compensated through proper incentives, appraisals and fair pay systems. In Jordan, and many MENA countries, performance is not considered as important as years of service, which attaches a seniority privilege to educators. By developing greater opportunities for teachers and principals to enhance skills and knowledge through government-led—or even expert-led—programs will allow career and self growth for teachers, but develop a sense of independence for the school to behave autonomously.