By the Editor, MALCOLM VENTER

    I don’t believe that it is just bias on my part which makes me believe that the most hard-driven teachers in our schools are our language teachers.  From one point of view, they are better off because they have always had a huge marking load and were therefore not fazed, as other teachers were, by having to do Continuous Assessment (CASS); but the demands of the new curriculum have taken this to new heights.

    To illustrate this, let’s look at the requirements for the Home Language in the Further Education and Training band:

    • In Grades 10 and 11, a Home Language teacher has to mark, as a minimum, 16 pieces of work for each pupil per year, whereas the teachers of other subjects are required to mark between 5 and 8 pieces only, depending on the subject.
    • In Grade 12, the respective figures are 14 and between 5 and 7.
    • This means that, if a language teacher has five FET classes (averaging, let’s say, 35 – but could be much higher in poorer schools) – he/she has to mark about 2600 – 2800 pieces in a year, whereas another subject teacher with five FET classes would have to mark about 1010 – 1225 pieces – less than half.  Add to this the fact that language pieces are more demanding in terms of assessment, as marking them involves more than merely ticking right and wrong but rather weighing up opinions and speculations with fine nuances.

    Language teachers should take stand on this:  Either persuade the authorities to reduce the number of pieces, or impress upon school management to give language teachers fewer / smaller classes and/or take into account this heavy load when allocating extra-curricular activities, examination invigilation, etc.

    Stertke! to all you language teachers out there!

    [Originally published in Naptosa INsight, April 2009]

    Categories: Issue I