WHILE the shortage of teachers continues to affect schools throughout the province, some temporary teachers like Kirby Fray decided to report to school despite payment for his services being uncertain.
Fray accepted a school governing body (SGB) post at John Bisseker Senior Secondary School to assist the school and most importantly the pupils.
He said he took the position despite there being no budget for his post. “My main concern in this whole predicament that no one wants to account for, is the pupils are the ones who are currently suffering having to come to school and not being taught.”
Fray, a maths whiz, is one of the 4000 temporary teachers whose contracts were terminated by the Eastern Cape education department at the end of last month.
The department has only retained 1772 temporary teachers for a three months contract. But Fray is not one of them.
SGB chairman at John Bisseker Devlon Strydom said although the department indicated Fray was not needed at the school, the SGB felt otherwise. “We felt our school is in dire need of Fray who is one of our best maths teachers,” said Strydom.
The 45-year-old Fray started his teaching career in 1989 at Alphendale High School where he taught as a permanent teacher but in 2001 he took a break from teaching due to health problems.
“I never wanted to leave teaching but my illness was interfering with my career so I decided to sort that out because as a teacher you cannot portray any weakness in front of the pupils.”
In 2004 Fray regained his health and decided to return to teaching but he was employed as a temporary teacher and had since taught at seven different schools.
He taught at Breidbach Primary and high schools, Komga Primary, Alphendale High, Nontuthuzelo Primary and Willow Park Primary school.
“Whenever and wherever I was called for duty I always reported,” he said. But he said working as a temporary teacher was not easy.
“Your whole life becomes temporary. You have to live in a temporary house and I cannot buy a car or even open an account because the bank will not lend money to someone whose future is uncertain,” he said.
At the moment Fray accepts whatever the SGB can afford to pay him. “The payment might soon run dry as the SBG is beleaguered by debts and bills of utilities that are needed to keep the school operating.”
But this has not hindered Fray.
Instead he is taking up extra responsibilities and teaching pupils on weekends at no extra charge.
One of his pupils Chanteline Morrison who had been attending Fray’s Saturday classes said she would not have passed maths last year if it was not for Fray.
“I am glad he came back because I was sad when I heard last year that he was leaving .”
Fray said he hopes the department finds a solution to the problem before the province becomes disastrous.
“I’m not a temporary teacher. I am qualified and a passionate coach and I ought to be recognised.” — firstname.lastname@example.org