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Opinions of Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Columnist: Simon Aikins

Never despise the noble teaching profession

A teacher in the classroom | File photo A teacher in the classroom | File photo

Growing up like every other child, I wanted to be a doctor, lawyer, pilot, engineer and any other profession that was held in high esteem. As regards being a Medical Doctor, I wanted to be a gynecologist, and I know some people will be entertaining some funny thoughts in their heads.

Unfortunately, I did not benefit from any mentoring or coaching as to how to achieve my dream. I only had to rely on my own understanding and this has had a dire consequence on my career path, but by the grace of God, I have been able to find my purpose in life.

The harsh reality set in after completing secondary school and realizing that my results could not aid me in achieving all the professions I had dreamt of.

I had to resit some of my papers and go back to school.

My hopes were dashed when it finally dawned on me that I had to shelve my dream and pursue it later on in life. I had to make do with what was on the table in order for society not to tag me a failure by going to the tertiary institution to offer a course I had never heard of. I believe if I had sound grooming or mentoring, I would have chosen a different route.

After National Service postings were released, I was erroneously under the impression that, with the course that I offered, I would be posted to one of the top government offices.

I even pictured myself in my four-piece suit behind my desk, but I was given a rude awakening when it turned out that I had been posted to Abohema Methodist Primary School in the Birim-North District in the Eastern Region.

I decided to go to my station to carry out my duties with panache. I was once again disappointed when I got to my station and realized that, I had to contend with lack of potable water, lack of electricity and no telecommunication network had announced its presence at the time in the village.

To compound my already exacerbated situation, the school lacked adequate staff, teaching and learning materials and other stuff that make school comfortable for learners.

I am grateful to my Headmaster and his able assistant who took me through the rudiments of teaching and also encouraged me virtually every day to assist the learners in the school to be better.

By the time I was leaving the school, I had grown fond of the learners and wished the Education Ministry could formalise my stay in the school. I had come to the conclusion that I had in me a lot that the learners needed.

Academically, I wanted them to excel, so I was willing to stay in the deplorable conditions in order to contribute my quota in making them great and responsible citizens.

Per my association with the learners, it thought me to be humble, grateful, generous, selfless and a host of other values. These virtues have been my guiding principles since I left the village.

With the skills acquired, I decided to pursue teaching right after National Service because the learners had imbibed in me something unquenchable that needed to be shared. Sometimes, I even wonder if I can ever leave the classroom because I so much love to teach due to what I experienced in the village.

Through the teaching and by the grace of God, I have been able to acquire two more degrees just to add value to myself in order to deliver well in class. I am now confident when I stand before my learners to facilitate a lesson because of the experiences I have garnered over the years.

Sometimes, the learners get under my skin and I am tempted to call it quit, then I ask myself, "Who should do it when you leave?". I no more see it as a job but service to humanity; hence, the need to understand and help the future generation.

Teaching has increased my tolerance level. This has improved my interactions with people because I have developed a strong resistance to bad vibes due to a decade stay with learners.

As regards remuneration, teaching is one of lowly paid jobs in Ghana, so if one is joining because of monetary gains, then it is not your calling. As they always say, " Teachers reward is in heaven". That notwithstanding, the Government and school owners should revise their notes and start paying the right wages in order to get the best from teachers.

As we celebrate Teachers' Day, my plea is that, teachers should not despise their noble profession and continue to give out their best, for that is what they have chosen to help humanity with. They should also add value to themselves by taking refresher courses that will boost their confidence.

The Government as a matter of urgency should tackle the issues bedeviling the profession, especially what is being taught (Curriculum) and provide the right teaching and learning materials for a better performance.

Respect the teacher for he can make or unmake your child!