AS teachers, the quality of our teaching is the quality of our future. Our economies, our legal frameworks, our institutions, our nation all hinder on the quality of instruction delivered in the classroom.
In this regard, it is the quality of our policies that determines the quality of our teaching, but also the quality of our teaching will form the policy makers of the future.
However, the first thing that strikes me as a teacher is the magnitude of the challenges facing the teaching profession.
There is need to build teachers quarters around the schools, more so now that the need for effectiveness is quite alarming.
This does not mean teachers have not been delivering, but it will ensure quality service delivery.
Having teachers residing around the school is very beneficial. This will not only enable teachers save on small but important benefits like transport and utilities, but most importantly, keep the teachers next to students for closer supervision.
Back in my school days in Uganda, there were teachers’ quarters at the schools. The teachers always stayed around their pupils and the relation didn’t end at the bell when his class was over.
You were sure there were teachers in the staff room until lights out because his home was a stone throw away.
This did not mean that all students would go there; quite often the staff room was devoid of students who treated this as a torture zone.
However, just like building a road does not stop one from using the bushy shortcut that has many an unseen danger, we still need to build that road, some sensible people will use it.
This said, I think government needs to seriously consider housing teachers on premises. Teachers should not pay for electricity, water, security and their children should be given free or subsidized education until university.
This will not only motivate the teachers but also ensure the teachers get quality replacements once they retire.
What bothers me most is what lies ahead for a teacher once they retire?
Like the trend in Africa where leaders keep extending terms and term limits so that they can keep ‘eating’, won’t teachers with these benefits keep teaching even when their glory days are past just to keep earning and enjoying benefits because the future is miserable without the salary?
Is the teachers’ pension good enough to sustain a teacher in his retirement? Will Umwalimu Sacco top up his pension? Old people are akin to sickness, do the retirees get medical insurance?
If teaching staff are not motivated, how do we expect them to churn out motivated workers? That it is why there is alarm every time calling teachers to keep their feet firm on the ground.
At the end of the day, the teachers’ attitude will determine the whole outcome and the quality of students churned out by the system. God willing, we will witness positive outcomes in a few years to come.
All said and done, change is a fact of life. With a little motivation, things will keep moving smoothly.
The author is a teacher at Kagarama secondary school