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Opinions of Saturday, 2 March 2019

Columnist: Reena E Ametorwo

Things we’ve failed to consider about teaching and teachers

Teaching is the backbone of education and in Ghana. Education is a key sector and it attracts the highest budgetary allocation in the country’s economy.

Regardless of its importance to the state and the future of citizens, teaching is becoming a riled profession in Ghana to the extent that young ladies openly say that marrying a pupil teacher is like signing a contract of perpetual misery and poverty. Lame and uninformed as this statement may sound, it sort of speaks the thought of many young people; sadly.

It is not just sad but dangerous because teachers are the bedrock of the society, without a doubt; whether the government accords them that credit or their pocket shows it or citizens complain of falling standards in the profession or not. Every individual from any of the groups above has received at least some form of instruction from a teacher.

Admittedly, there have been a few teachers who bring the name of the profession into disrepute aside the general disregard or praise that accompanies teaching these days.

Putting those bad nuts aside for a minute, teaching (and nursing) were prestigious professions in days past and when given the needed attention, can be elevated to its previous status. It is not too late to change the narrative and some teachers and groups are doing this wonderfully.

By action, there are individuals and groups who are and have committed to changing perceptions held about the teaching profession. One of such that readily comes to mind is the Teachers’ Educators Network and the impact they have had on some struggling teachers.

By struggling, attention is on emotional, psychological, financial and occupational struggles. Even though teachers (amazingly) derive a lot of satisfaction from seeing their students prosper and will be quick to say, “That’s my student. I taught him in Primary 4” and want the world to know, it is about time more is done by teachers and for teachers.

By the teachers themselves, they should uphold the image of the career more and live up to the tenets of the profession and help fish out recalcitrant ones. Teachers must also take advantage of the many materials available online for their benefit.

An example is Government and relevant bodies are not forthcoming when it comes to amenities, training and all that is needed to work efficiently and effectively but harnessing some of the skills and methods used by other teachers in the world, which are available online, the problem will be ‘patched’ someway.

For teachers, everyone; all of us who have been touched by teachers should live up to what our teachers imbibed in us. Remember how teachers ensured that we appeared neat, spoke with our indoor voice, punished us for being bullies, rude or disrespectful, trained us to work hard, to be courteous, and not to litter etc?. Yes, those ones!

They were to carry us through life and not only through school. Those in positions to make the conditions of teachers and the educational sector generally must do their best to make it better than they met it. Also, extend a helping hand to those who need it.

Don’t pass by them and say “so this man still teachers here” or “this man still walks…. eeeiiii” or what people say now, “None of my children will be a teacher”.

Shame if you ever said that. Rethink your position. It is actually very sad that some young people do not consider teaching (especially at the basic schools) attractive. Government? Let’s leave them out today because too much has been said and suggested but little has been done.

Let’s end this irksome article with a thought-provoking piece by Lee Lacocca, who revived the Chrysler Corporation and became its CEO in the 1980s. Hopefully, it may change your attitude towards teachers and the act of teaching. Lacocca said; “In a completely rational company, the best of us would be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something less, because passing civilization along from one generation to the next ought to be the highest honour and the highest responsibility anyone could have”.

REFERENCE “Lee Iacocca.” Wind and Fly LTD, 2019. 27 February 2019.

Reena E Ametorwo