Does the saying; “No one can stand in the shadow of a teacher” hold the same meaning it used to years ago? Today, things have changed and one is left wondering where this glory vanished.
Under normal circumstances, a teacher should be a source of inspiration, motivation and change to his/her students regardless of their age, income status and family backgrounds.
But how is this possible when the society sees little value in this once noble profession?
When you ask children who they would like to be in future, none will tell you “a teacher”.
One day as I was giving career guidance to my students, I told them that they could choose to be teachers, but all I got was a sarcastic laughter. When I asked them why they laughed, one of them was bold enough to tell me that teachers are poor.
It takes a strong personality to go ahead and inspire students who would not like to emulate you. Although teachers have been degraded by society, they still have a big role to play in affairs of the nation.
If teachers are bad, the future generation will be a wasted one, for it is the teacher who shapes the moral, social and character of the students.
Every successful person will attest their success to a former teacher either in primary or secondary school. But who is to blame for the teacher plight today?
Some teachers have, on one hand, caused the society to question their integrity by doing things like sleeping with their students, lying on the roadside drunk or being caught cheating examinations on behalf of students.
With such evils committed by some teachers, who are often unqualified, the society has every reason to doubt whether the future of their children should be entrusted with such people.
However, the system of recruitment, payment and motivation of teachers has resulted into this situation.
In my conversation with some American teachers who visited Rwanda under an organization known as “People to People”, also complained of little pay, which I assumed was a problem only in Africa.
They told me that it is hard for a teacher in the US to buy a car using their own salary unless they got credit from a bank.
The recruitment of unqualified teachers by some institutions, without even giving them refresher courses, has affected the teaching profession and the lack of motivation given to teachers in form of fringe benefits like allowances, accommodation and medical insurances has affected the teacher commitment; this causes many looking to look for greener pastures
Despite the obstacles that teachers face in their profession, it is high time they also thought about their lives and how they can improve their own lives through joining co-operatives that will help them generate side income.
They should also think of the impression they create in society right from the way they dress, how they conduct themselves and the words they speak to their students.The idea is not to show that they are doomed to poverty.
Keep in mind that you’re the source of change both positive and negative in the minds of the children you handle which is motivation enough for you to work diligently.