Among all professions in Ghana, teaching is the most reputable. As a developing country, the teaching profession should be seen as a gateway to quality education.
There cannot be quality education, if we do not place premium on the vehicle of education which is the teacher. I’m always of the view that the teaching profession is the mother of all professions.
Government must do all it can to invest in the teaching profession. This can be done by producing quality teachers, and giving them attractive incentives to impart knowledge to students. Since the teacher is absolutely indispensable in the delivery of education, society must recognize the teacher . As a young professional teacher aiming at becoming a model teacher, these are my views.
Observations in the Teaching profession
First and foremost, I have found out that we those in the teaching fraternity do not manage our time efficiently. Teachers particularly in the basic and second cycle institutions spend less than eight hours in school daily. The rest of the time is not effectively and efficiently utilized. It’s either we sit idle, roam about aimless or drink at drinking spots. That is affecting teachers’ ability to engage in research, or save money to supplement their meagre salaries.
We must a matter of fact, examine our time again and look at how we can efficiently channel the extra time in the service, into productive areas in our lives. For instance, I know a teacher who is a fashion designer and can boast of about ten employees. He goes to his shop right after school and he is making a lot of gains. I think we should consider such teachers as role models who are able to combine professional work and personal life lucratively.
More importantly is our ability to demonstrate competence in our various schools. The saying that hard work pays is real. Competence is the only way of marketing our profession and the only standpoint to demand for better conditions of service. Indeed, the remuneration of teachers over the years has been very poor. It does appear that our negotiations always end in our disadvantage. This keeps reoccurring for decades now. It is only fair we use higher productivity as a bargaining tool to negotiate better conditions.
Under the cover of poor working conditions, some teachers resort to unprofessional acts downgrades teaching. In addition, discussing the personal life of teachers would be incomplete without touching on the way some teachers dress. Physical appearance by way of dressing tells a lot about your social status in the Ghanaian socio-cultural settings.
This notwithstanding, the dressing of some teachers is quite embarrassing and does not speak well for the teaching profession. It is very common to see some lady teachers with miniskirts, transparent trousers, “skinny” and others. Some teachers wear anything to the class room because the profession has no standardized dress code. It is in lieu of this, that I am particularly an ardent proponent for a professional uniform for teachers. While the debate on inform for teachers lingers on, I urge teachers to take decent dressing very serious. This is the most fundamental ways of enhancing our reputation.
Agents of Change
In addition, teachers are leaders of society and must act as such. The knowledge of teachers must not be limited to the classroom. There are several social impediments that teachers must join hands to ameliorate. Social challenges like armed robbery, prostitution, STDs, and others can be fought when professionals partner. The role of the teacher in approaching such issues is quite paramount considering the repertoire of knowledge of the teacher. Equally, teachers should speak on national issues. Contributing to national discourse is an essential component of professionalism.
Over the years, many teachers do not update themselves on critical national issues that require the contributions of professionals. The continuous silence of professionals in this country is what has led to negative propaganda on our airways. This is very excruciating and spells doom of a country with abundant professionals.
Often, we sit aloof when such policies are subjected to public debate. The painful part is that most teachers grumble when policies put them at a disadvantage. We need to gather the courage to national issues since policies affect us all.
Moreover, most teachers have their rights infringed upon by superiors. This is because, in most cases, those teachers appear to demonstrate ignorance about their professional rights. We need to learn more about labour laws, code of ethics for teachers, conditions of service, etc. The knowledge in these will go a long way to enable teachers act with confidence, enthusiasm and professionalism. It would also curtail the situation of intimidation, disrespect and maltreatment either by parents or superiors.
Lastly, we must all embrace and integrate technology into our teaching. A teaching without any knowledge of technology in modern times is like a body without head. Interestingly, many of us are hesitant in updating ourselves in this emerging technological world with sophisticated equipment and programs. Of course, we may not be professionals in technology but it is something we cannot do without. We still have a multitude of teachers who cannot primarily use a computer or a smart phone. How then can they integrate technology into our work?
Beyond the capacity building workshops, we must be taking personal initiatives so far as professional growth is concerned. One can use the mobile phone for a lot of research instead of depending on limited white papers. Unfortunately, the youth largely use smart phones in school to chat on social media, play music, etc. This attitude of some teachers is causing lower productivity in schools.
We know that a lack of political commitment to transforming the teaching profession is a major blow. However, we must in our individual capacities make the profession attractive and respectable. Without doing these fundamental things, others will continue to denigrate the teaching profession. I urge the youth in the teaching profession to see the profession as a noble profession.
With our individual contributions, the teaching profession will one day be the best professions in Ghana. Yes we can!