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Ghanaians are slowly forgetting the worth of teachers

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Did you know October 5 was World Teachers Day? May be you did or may be you didn’t. But the fact that such a significant day in the lives of every teacher globally went unnoticed by the citizenry is an indication that people are slowly forgetting about the significance of teachers.

“A nation that does not celebrate its teachers has no value for education.”

Blakk Rasta

The theme for this year’s celebration was, “Teachers at the Heart of Education Recovery.” This theme gives a hint of the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on humanity and for that matter education globally. It also seeks to inform us of the need for the teacher to be at the center of propelling us back on track. 

Government must play a role in teacher recognition

Teachers are very important when it comes to sharing vital information. Which teacher in Ghana did not brief pupils about safety COVID-19 protocols? When it comes to dispersing life saving information on global health issues such as malaria, HIV/AIDS etc , teachers are always depended on to spread such information to the children. How fast can health practitioners disseminate important life saving health issues to every school child nationwide? As such the classroom teacher is depended upon for such issues. Yet teachers are not given the necessary recognition they deserve to enable them feel motivated to do more.

The efforts of governments in equipping teachers all over the world cannot be overemphasized. The government of Ghana is equally making significant changes in terms of curriculum and also in teacher training and professionalisation. The National Council for Curriculum Development and Assessment (NACCA) and the National Teaching Council (NTC) respectively are leading the charge in the new changes and reforms at the educational front. These are good efforts in streamlining the once tagged “chalk fraternity.” It is imperative to state that global trends have shown that the tenets of pedagogy have grown beyond the chalk. The incorporation of ICT tools into teaching has been cemented by the new normal.

These notwithstanding, it is worth mentioning that government inputs into education should not only end at policy formulation and direction. The adequate resourcing of all schools must be at the core of all government initiatives. Our government must eschew the incessant politicisation of the educational system. The tendency of overpoliticisation of educational reforms and their implementation will only lead to the gagging and demotivation of well meaning teachers, whom otherwise, would have been in position to give off their uttermost best. 

The recently launched One Teacher, One Laptop initiative by the government under the Teacher’s Mate (TM1) project, devoid of the politics, is a laudable one. To make it more relevant to the learners, I strongly suggest that, authorities should consider providing projectors for all schools. With this, teachers can put their computers to maximum use by projecting lessons in the classroom.

Teachers must play a role as well

Also, we as teachers must endeavour to be much more committed in our duties to serve God and country. A good teacher is one who is always willing to quickly adapt to positive changes in the profession. Let us be open minded at all times, as we keep looking at the bigger picture, that future of the lilltle ones lie solely in our hands even as we serve them with the much needed care and compassion. Trends are constantly changing and so are the ways and learning needs of our learners becoming dynamic. We must also quickly learn to adapt and evolve. For instance, the issue of the withdrawal of  canes and corporal punishment in schools is a thorny one. We all have our personal views on this matter and as debatable as it may be, we are the drivers of change. In that regard, a strategy of positive reinforcement would be ideal.

The role of teachers is not only indespensable in classroom but in all spheres of our lives. The President of America could not have put it any better when he reiterated this crucial role of teachers. According to Mr. Joe Biden, the pandemic has given parents the ultimate education on the challenges of the teaching profession. He added that teachers deserve a raise but not only praise. This is the way all governments must go. Ultimate priority must be given to the welfare of the teacher at all levels. This is the only way we can be motivated enough. Parents must also accept the fact that, the huge responsibility of raising their wards cannot be left solely on the shoulders of the teachers of their wards. The home is the foremost school. A parent who realises this early enough, is bound extracts to the core the treasures a teacher has to offer to the benefit of his or her wards

Lastly, as imparters of knowledge and promoters of positive societal values and norms, no one can tell our narrative better. We must always endeavour to hold a united front. In marking this all important day, there must be a concerted effort to ensure it is celebrated collaboratively and whollistically. All the major teacher unions must consider coming together in organising the celebration of this day. 

We call on all stakeholders and the media to support us here in Ghana to start giving teachers the recognition during such important days as “World Teachers Day” as they do for all other occasions.

As at the time of putting this article together, I took a keen interest to monitor media reportage on the celebration of the day. I noted that most of the newspapers, radio and television stations were mute on it. The executive and the legislative arms of government must be engaged to make this day a national holiday. Teachers deserve all the hypes too.

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