I think the main reason I don’t fancy becoming a teacher when I was a teenager is that I feel I won’t earn enough as a teacher. And that is quite true, given the fact that some veteran teachers told me that they only earned a meager salary of RM300 a month (approximately USD100) in the 60’s. When I first started teaching as a non-graduate, my basic pay is RM919 (1999). After 13 years of teaching, my basic pay now is RM2878.60. If you are an investor, you probably will tell me that the almost 3 times increment over a period of 13 years is quite encouraging. I think, I agree to a certain point, where our government did make an effort to revise the pay of teachers in the nation. In my years of teaching, I have underwent at least 3 revision, be it the pay scale or the service scheme. Yet, I still hear a lot of complaints and comments. Well you see, the global economy crisis, the inflation, the slow pace of the market, do not make us the high-income group. And as far as I know, a lot of teachers are moonlighting. Well, I do. I try to earn my extra Ringgit from this blog. 😀
The most common part time for a teacher here is giving tuition. I did that, long long time ago. I mean giving tuition to earn some extra wages, and the pay is promising. But that was because I really needed some extra cash to cover my car loan and my housing loan. I am not saying that I have earned enough, or that I belong to the high-income group now for me to give classes for free. My point being, I just don’t know how to place a price on that. Previously when I did private tutoring for the kids, their parents offer the pay based on my experience and my qualification. I took the job if it met the amount I need, if not, I would just decline their offer.
I went to help out a friend in a tuition centre once, because she found a better part time – owning a cafe. After I finished her term, the tuition center kept on calling back with attractive offer which I politely turned down. I have always find it hard to put a price to the teaching career.
I have now two Literature inEnglish classes, which I conducted in Cafes. When a parent from another school called up and asked me to ‘tuition’ her daughter, I told her I don’t do tuition. I conduct the class, because students from my school are interested in that paper and I wish to help them. Of course in the end, I agree to help her daughter because she has very clear objective in mind and not just the parent that doesn’t want to be left behind. When she asked me about the fee, I said the lessons are free of charge. Her jaw almost dropped when she found out that I am not going to conduct the lessons like a class. It is more like a gathering at the cafes over a cup of coffee, some snacks or maybe sometimes dinner. I told her I don’t know how to charge for the lessons.
One of my mentors told me, maybe I should put a price to it, as education is not charity. And probably students will be more appreciative of the lessons. I still can’t see from his perspective. To me, whatever price that I name, I would deem it too low. I am greedy, who doesn’t. If I could be a millionaire by just helping out these students, I will. But what I see is more of the thirst for knowledge and their enthusiasm. I have a 7 year old and 12 year old came and told me, “I remember what you taught me, and I did it in the exam. Look at my papers.” Or, that my teenagers commenting that I “taught them lessons of life”. That kind of satisfaction and contentment is something you can’t find in any forms of monetary earnings.
I always like to think I am doing a very noble job, my earnings are all saved in His kingdom. Or maybe I was inspired by the movie “Pay It Forward“. Or maybe I am a born philantropist. 😉 Personally I think, if we are grateful, we will always feel we have surplus, and we are able to give. Otherwise, we will be forever chasing behind the dollar sign trying to make ends meet.