Teachers ought not to forget that informally, people learn by apprenticeship
Teaching is a profession where all other professions emanate from. It is quite absurd that as teachers, we have failed to know our role to the world around us.
A teacher must know that teaching is not only standing before a classroom with a piece of chalk and a duster in the hands; it is more than that.
There are several traits that we pass on to our students and all the people that watch us. The way we walk, the way we talk, our dress code, hair styles, mood, to mention but a few.
It becomes worse, if for nursery teachers, since nursery children take wholesomely what they are told as gospel truth and what they see their teacher doing.
This is often seen when you try to correct a nursery child in during a writing exercise say for the letter “b”, even when they are wrong, they will insist that “my teacher does it this way”. This is an implication that their teacher is their sole role model while at school.
Then there are teachers who smoke in public and do not care that one of their pupils might be within the vicinity. This innocent child will think that smoking is a good thing and this will remain in that child’s mind and soon than later that child becomes a habitual smoker.
Teachers ought not to forget that informally, people learn by apprenticeship (This is learning by memorizing what you see other people do). Therefore, whatever teachers do automatically become a lesson to others.
When talking about a teacher and education, a parent’s role cannot be ignored. Like teachers, parents sometimes set bad examples to their children.
One day I saw a man walking on the streets of Kigali with his chest open, in one hand he held a bottle of beer while in the other hand he held his small daughter’s hand. Now, what will become of that girl when she matures? How can one convince this girl that beer is bad, or has dangerous repercussions for the youth?
Take yet another example of a teacher who goes clubbing with students; a club and school are completely opposite.
When you are dancing ‘mpaka chini’ (down to the floor) those students will be cheering you up! But what does this yield in them, will this student respect you at all?
Teachers lose dignity among children and become a laughing stoke simply because of an incident that equaled them to being the student’s colleague. When this happens, teachers can no longer rightly impart discipline into their students.
Its important to understand that discipline is synonymous to academics, world over children with good conduct have displayed the best performance.
More so, a teacher’s general socio-economic status reflects greatly on the amount of money they earn—usually a meager sum that compels them to part-time at more than one school in order to make ends meet.
This has created inefficiency in the services they render to all the schools where they part-time. When does a teacher get the time to prepare lessons for the three schools in one night and at the same time spare time for their family or partake in other roles?
Governments and private sectors should seriously look into this low teacher pay syndrome.
Beside, teachers need to organize themselves and embrace cooperatives like ‘Umwalimu SACCO’, to develop their own cash rounds that will help supplement on the small pay they get. Otherwise inefficiency shall keep encircling teachers and hence retard the education sector.
What actually fascinates me is that, teachers are the ones who make doctors, lawyers, engineers, et cetera; yet teacher are the ones who are paid less.
On the other hand, a teacher’s personality is another issue that must be addressed. Many a time we hear of teachers who fail to tame their sexual appetite.
It is an abomination to sexually harass a child you teach, we’ve all heard of a numbers of teachers who have violated the rights of their students, most especially school girls.
This has left many girls dropping out of school at an early age, to become mothers when they are not prepared.
This said, teachers must embrace the profession by respecting the values of good teaching and educating the nation.
The writer is an illustrator, teacher and author of educational books.