Awards must spur teachers on
The popular teachers’ slogan – “If you can read this, thank a teacher”, buttresses the very important role teachers play in every individual’s life.
It is to recognise the very influential character-shaping role of the teacher in our society, that an awards scheme was instituted by the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) government.
With the introduction of the awards, the notion many held that the teacher’s reward was in heaven was changed permanently.
The National Best Teacher and School Awards Scheme (NBTSAS), which started as the National Best Teachers Awards in 1995, entered its 21st year this year.
Tamale in the Northern Region hosted this year’s awards, which took place yesterday on the theme, “Empowering teachers, building sustainable societies”.
The awards scheme is a very good initiative, although there are several thousands of teachers out of which only few are rewarded each year. Nonetheless, the scheme is a constant reminder that if teachers perform very well they may be rewarded.
In the days of yore teachers were the greatest models in the community, acting as the secretary to the chief, the town development committee, as well as the catechist of the local church, among many roles that required a literate person to perform.
Indeed the teacher was the eye of the community and was held in very high esteem.
Also, as a disciplinarian, the teacher did not limit his or her role to the school but parents invited them home to discipline their wayward children. Parents used the common refrain “I will tell your teacher”, if their children even misbehaved at home.
Difficult economic conditions, rising cost of living and poor remuneration in our part of the world have, however, affected the morale of teachers, resulting in absenteeism, laziness, drunkenness and generally, poor teaching.
The incidence of male teachers having affairs with female students has also become the hallmark of some members of the chalk fraternity, giving credence to the perception that teachers ask for sex in return for grades.
In spite of the goodwill shown by parents, the government and the country to teachers in the past, and even at present, the teaching profession is no longer held in high esteem. No doubt the standard of education has fallen so low.
Many people now enter training colleges not because they aspire to be the best teachers and impart knowledge, but because they see it as a stepping stone to preferred professions or that they are faced with limited choices.
We, therefore, urge the teachers to go the extra mile to redeem their gradually falling image in society. They should expose those among them who have loose morals, are drunkards, lazy and do not have the profession at heart and so do not mean well for the children entrusted in their care.
Every parent is happy with the teacher who has the interest of the child at heart so far as the child’s education is concerned and would instil discipline on any day.