By: Cynthia Boateng
Teaching is one of the world’s most demanding careers. This is mainly because it involves shaping, enlightening and grooming individuals to excel not only in their education, but life in general. Study after study have shown that the single most important factor determining the quality of the education a child receives is the quality of the teacher.
The American writer, William Arthur Ward explains the levels of the teaching career when he says “the ordinary teacher tells, the good teacher explains, the superior teacher demonstrates and the great teacher inspires.” His view literally applies to today’s teachers. They come in different forms and capacities. Some have natural attributes, while others have perfected the profession to make a difference in society. But we also have bad teachers out there. Experts say being an outstanding teacher obliges one to have an enthusiastic character, a caring attitude, and passion for learning, discipline, classroom management techniques, and, most importantly, a desire to make a difference in the lives of learners. These are key attributes of a good teacher. Therefore, to master the teaching skill, it requires one to have comprehensive knowledge of the subject matter, curriculum, professional standards and broad knowledge about the world to fully deliver to the beneficiaries’ expectations. This means the teaching profession is not child’s play. It is a daunting task.
To appreciate the efforts and sacrifices of teachers from around the world, World Teachers Day is celebrated every year on 5th October. It is to recognize the rights and responsibilities of teachers. The day was proclaimed by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, in 1994 to commemorate the adoption of the 1966 ILO/ UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers. So, what is the status of teachers in Ghana? Recently the National Teachers Council, NTC, released the Teacher Licensure Examination Results. According to the NTC majority failed in at least 2 Courses. There were debates as to the relevance of the examination in the media and even Parliament. The Minority called for the suspension of the Teacher Licensure Examination and argued that the Examination is “retrogressive and cannot bring out the best in the newly trained teachers. Adding that the mass failure is a “demotivating and demoralizing attempt to frustrate teachers. On the other hand, the Majority insisted there is nothing wrong with the process. From reports, it is clear the teachers themselves are not enthused about writing the Examination. Many excuses were given for not wanting to write the Licensure Examination. The irony is that those who kicked against the Examination will as part of their job prepare students to write Examinations at various levels. How do they impart confidence if they themselves are not confident? It is said that one cannot give what they do not have.
Many teachers in Ghana are doing tremendously well but some bad nuts are attracting a bad name for the noble profession. They, the bad nuts, must be flushed out. Whether through Licensure Examination or whatever means it must be done and done well. The future of the country’s leaders largely depends on those who impart the knowledge and how they impart it. When authorities put the right measures in place and the right people find themselves in the classrooms, Examination malpractices would be curtailed. Parents will have value for their investments and the country will have a bright future. To the good teacher who explains. The superior teacher who demonstrates and the great teacher who inspires, Ghana is proud of you. Congratulations and may your reward be not only in heaven but may leaders meet your expectations to reduce strikes even as you continue to sacrifice to build the capacity of the country’s human resource. Without teachers there will be no other profession. Happy International Educators Day to all teachers from Early Childhood Development Centers to the Tertiary level who work with their conscience, integrity, morality and passion.