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According to Kaite Roberts career Consulting, professional behaviour is a form of etiquette in the workplace that is linked primarily to respectful and courteous conduct. Being conscious of how you treat co-workers and clients, and ensuring a positive workplace attitude can help you to improve your productivity and effectiveness in the workplace. With much dissatisfaction and frustration, I am compelled to pen this letter so that the public can become aware of what teachers have been enduring whenever they visit the Ministry of Education at 21 Brickdam. It is about time teachers be treated with respect when they visit their respective Department of Education or even the Central Ministry.
I would like to relate two separate incidents that I experienced with a clerk attached to the above named ministry who deals with signing of teachers’ contract. On Tuesday August 3, 2021, I travelled from New Amsterdam to Georgetown to sign a contract since I am attending the University of Guyana. Upon my arrival, I was told by the clerk, who was not wearing a mask and had an infant next to her, that the ministry does not have any blank contract form available and if I need one I should borrow from someone then go to Metro and photocopy. I responded in the negative and said, “I will not be doing that.” I further said that ministry should have had these forms available online so that teachers can easily access and complete same before going there. That day did not end well for me since I was treated in the correct manner. I feel that the Ministry of Education need professional and competent clerks to manage and assist teachers whenever they visit and need guidance in those technical areas. Nevertheless, I am happy that I managed to get a form and my contract was successfully signed. On August 4,2021, my cousin contacted a representative from the said Ministry about the signing of her contract because her passport was expired and was in the process of getting renewed. She was told to visit the office to sign her contract and they will use the receipt she received from the passport office. The following day, I accompanied her to the Georgetown office to get her contract signed. When we arrived, the same clerk in charge of verifying documents, not wearing a mask again, greeted us like this, “Wah yall doing here? Yall from Region 6? Me in get no appointment with nobody to look after any contract.” My cousin responded that she was advised to come in since she will be allowed to get it done. She then replied “Me ain’t know who could tell you doh but is nah me u talk to.” As the argument continues, my cousin suggested that communication be improved at the Ministry so as to avoid these ‘mix up’ and confusion. The clerk responded in a rude tone, “Well me tell you is nah me call you and yuh should tell personnel that not me.”
It is clear that the attitude portrayed by this clerk was uncouth and unprofessional. In my view, she doesn’t deserve to be a public servant since she cannot serve with politeness and respect. Mr. Editor, much work needs to be done by Senior Education Officials to ensure that their workers treat citizens in a courteous and respectful manner. As teachers, when we are having visits from officials at the Ministry, we often try to ensure that they are treated with respect. It is time these workers from the Ministry stop treating teachers like trash. We demand respect and if we cannot receive it naturally we will be forced to demand it by will power. Too often, teachers are afraid to visit offices because they feel they will be talked down upon and some are even afraid to visit because of the way they will be treated. Why does it have to be like this? Why are educators being treated this way? I am appealing to the Minister of Education to ensure that professional development sessions being done with these clerks attached to the Ministry. This will be beneficial not only to them but to the entire system, which I think needs overhauling, washing and cleansing. Again, I emphasized, “Teachers needs to be respected.” Enough is enough! Oh and someone needs to have a word with the mighty madam, who believes that the office belongs to her, to convince her otherwise cause the reality is the office is not hers.