At a gathering of professionals, members were asked to introduce themselves. To display the nobility of their profession, every member attached an abbreviation to their name- Engr. Wale, Bar. Awopeju, Dr. Daud- the teachers in the audience possess no nobility abbreviation, except Mr. The profession appears already abased within the Nigerian society. Teachers shy away from introduction. A major challenge.
Everyschool resumed with a realistic and achievable goal. Activities in the schools revolve around this goal. My school and yours have goals.
The achievement of the goal set by the school is the responsibility of the teachers. Teachers are held responsible for any failure to achieve the goal. They have no plausible excuse for their failure to meet up with the school’s expectations. They must get it done. A big problem.
Teaching profession is a complex one.
Teachers are often saddled with cumbersome tasks; they teach to facilitate understanding. The learners are evaluated to assess the teacher’s pedagogic competence. Learner’s failure is the teacher’s. Another serious challenge.
Teaching profession is littered with challenges. And these challenges place some encumbrances on the achievement the goal set by the school. The challenges in teaching profession mushroom every day.
Notable among the challenges is workload. The concept of workload is a broad one that requires thorough understanding. There is a limited generic meaning- the number of periods a teacher has-attached to it, but it goes beyond that. Apart from the general meaning of workload in teaching parlance, the ratio of learners to teachers is an embedded meaning.Teaching is not the only activity in a class. There are other essential activities such as supervision and inspection of individual learner’s work, wrap up assessment after each lesson, marking of assessment and supply of correction. In a crowded classroom where it is notoriously difficult for the teacher to move round the class for inspection, where learners can’t talk at a decent decibel level, all the essential teaching and learning activities in the class never take place. A serious challenge.
Another one that is well pronounced is poor remuneration. There is a popular saying guiding the actions of many Nigerian school owners- teachers’ rewards are in heaven. Their attitudes to teachers are strictly in conformity with the saying. When a goal is set without substantial packages that take care of the staff’s welfarism, the achievement of such a goal is a mirage. Teachers work like an elephant and get paid like a mouse. The pay does not commensurate with the workload. Apart from being poorly paid they are faced with a delay in remuneration. What a serious challenge!
Besides, nonavailability of teaching aids is another challenge confronting the teachers. Employers in the education sectors are sugar-mouthed. Teachers are advised to improvise. They must never teach in abstract. Where the learners are expected to be shown a live bird, a picture is displayed in the name of improvisation. Will the learners be able to recognize the bookish bird in real life? Where the teaching of an action word like “skidded” in “The car skidded” requires the use of a visual material, the teacher is expected to skid the school bus in the name of improvisation. A serious challenge.
Another challenge that often inflames emotional poignancy is dearth of incentives. In many schools, especially those whose emergence could be attributed to the nonchallant attitude of the government, teachers are never sponsored on self-sufficiency trainings and/ or courses that improve their pedagogic dispensation in the classroom. Even when the teachers are ready to sponsor themselves, they are denied permission to run the programme. Some are frustrated out of the system. Because many of these schools are run only for pecuniary purpose, their owners see no sanity in investing in the efficiency of their teachers. This is the reason teachers ever remain a transient population. It is always new term, new teachers.
Should we allow these challenges to fester? No, solutions must be provided.
Before we look into the solutions, teachers’ weaknesses need to be discussed. I promise to write on those weaknesses in the next article.