OP=ED: NIGERIAN TEACHERS AND THE BLAME GAME-FREEDOM CHIMEREZE





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“I’ve come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or de-humanized’’ - DR. Haim Ginott.

A lot of factors hammer on the standard of education which is now in an almost fallen state. The students and teachers but mainly the teachers, have great roles to play for a revamp in the falling educational standard.

The term falling standard prompts me to pose a question which is: since the standard is falling, that shows it must have been up standing, now what are those standards which are now said to be falling?

Etymologically, the word education is derived from the Latin word ēducātiō (‘a breeding, a bringing up, a rearing’) from ēdūcō (‘I educate, I train’). Hence teachers should not just view themselves as civil servants but as trainers, educators and as persons with the responsibility of bringing up those we most treasure – our children.

To raise the educational standard implies raising the standard of the teachers. Therefore teachers should not recline to a judgmental seat where they shift the blame to the inability of students to read their books. They should rather arise to this challenge and make visible the efficacy of their ability to educate.

Punctuality, self-esteem, self-discipline, early preparation of lesson notes, cleanliness and learner activity based method of teaching among others, remain the very efficient ways of boosting the falling educational standard.   

Ungrammatical English and slangs are sometimes useful to make a point, but when they typify a teacher’s speech, the teacher does not lift, and the student does not rise. The content of a teacher’s speech is just as important as its meaning. 'Standing at the head of the class is more than just positional propriety; it is a symbolic demarcation between adulthood and childhood'.

The American Clergyman, Henry Ward Beecher was right when he said that “clothes and manners do not make the man; but, when he is made, they greatly improve his appearance”. Thus, teachers need a dress code because it is no secret that dress influences and facilitates conduct (think of Doctors and Clergymen), the teacher who is professionally dressed is more likely to act like one.

May I end this piece with a quote by Penn McPherson, a retired U.S. Magistrate Judge; he says “a teacher is more than a repository of knowledge or an escort through the halls of learning. A teacher is also a model, second only to family as a sculptor of propriety and character”. Let every teacher, therefore arise!

Thank you.
   
Freedom Chimereze writes from Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka-Nigeria.




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