THE AGONY OF THE GHANAIAN TEACHER

In fact, it should no more come as a surprise to anybody upon hearing students advise their colleagues never to consider teaching as a future profession.

Of late, during essay writings on ‘My Future Career,’ students do not pretend anymore to write about the teaching profession as their cherished career; they all reject completely the profession and say it as it is without giving regard to the fact that the same essay is going to be marked by a teacher and so at least, one or two should write about it to give the marker some encouragement of a future for his profession.

I am not suggesting that teaching is the only profession to be considered by children though, at first, some students would choose to write on it anyway, probably as a way of appeasing the marker who is the same person as a teacher. But today, they face the fact; they have heard it said that teaching is not a profession to yearn for and so all of them completely refuse to choose same as future career.

But why blame such students while their parents have warned them beforehand to study very hard at school in order to go to the medical school or the law school? The teaching profession is downtrodden even in the presence of students.

Apart from creating the impression that bad WASSCE results only land students at the College of Education, it is also forced into students’ minds that teaching is one of the lowest paid professions in Ghana; thus, a stern warning issued to students by their parents and guardians not to ever consider the profession. But it is very important to recognize that much as all professionals can boast, the teacher taught them all.

In the light of the seeming loss of recognition for the teaching profession on the part of parents and students alike, one would have thought that the only group of people left to provide members of the talk and chalk profession some kind of safe haven and a feeling of hope, would be government officials, especially, the Minister of Education.

But it may interest one to learn that such officials are rather pouring more acid unto injury. They jump from one radio station to the other and hop from one seminar to the other making statements and comments that are very damning to the integrity of the sole implementors of the government’s educational policies – the latest being recent statements made by the Minister of Education, Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh to the effect that teachers’ continuous stay at work is going to be determined by the educational outcomes of their students.

After instructing the teacher to spare the rod and spoil the child – contrary to the dictates of the Bible and the Qu’ran, what else do we expect from the student?

Today, everybody knows including even the student that teachers have no right to discipline the student when the student in question comes to school late, engages in immoral acts, fail to to do exercises, home assignments and so on and so forth. As for the inadequate supply of teaching learning materials TLM’s), the least said about it the better. How do you expect so great a number of students to perform so meaningfully academically in such vacuum?

In fact, the Ghanaian teacher is highly challenged with all these impediments impeding his progress of ensuring that the Ghanaian population is better educated. The most annoying aspect of it is that a decision to either promote a student to a senior class or repeat him or her has to be subject to their parents’ whims and caprices, and not that of the teacher – and anybody has the guts to tie students’ performance to teachers’ continuous stay at work? This is very unfair and the earlier the Manhyia South legislator was called to order, the better.

Felix Nyarko Acheampong writes for ghanaeducate.com

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