Are teachers the cause of poor academic performance of pupils
A WOMAN came to school one morning to have a chat with the school management only to rain fire and brimstone on them on the premise that her child is intelligent and in that case have no reason to fail a subject.
She also picked on her child’s teacher blaming and accusing him of obtaining half baked teaching qualification.
The most interesting thing about the scenario is that parents in private schools display such arrogance on teachers. I want to ask my fellow intellectuals, is it possible that a trained, qualified and certified teacher will teach his/her pupils nonsense? It may not be all but some. Where are the education inspectors and all other agencies in the Ministry of Education? What are they doing?
I am worried about these as it unfolds. My fellow colleagues in the private schools are always at the loose ends. I stumbled upon a teacher’s credential during an interview only to see ten appointment letters from schools where he has worked. I kept pondering how his resume will look like. The British education department provides an inspection board in each province and of course they do not have a minister of education, what they have is directorate of education. At different levels the way and manner the business education is handled in the UK is thorough and professional.
Each inspector supervises the schools under his/her jurisdiction. After which series of reports are gathered and channeled properly to the directorate who is more like the minister of education in Nigerian setting. The report is so encompassing, to have all sides of academic, non-academic, curriculum, extra-curricular, state policies on teachers’ salary and welfare, terms of contract between the employer and employee. This and more are functions of inspectors. This must at any time strictly adhered to even to the letter. Tell me why schools in such environment will not do well? However, inspection exercise is conducted on regular routine basis not like our Nigerian style of once in a blue moon.
I am ashamed of some proprietors and proprietress of schools in Nigeria. The National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) has always held meetings which benefit member schools. We teachers are left on our fate. The latest development is the system of hiring expatriates as head of schools and you need to see the mouth watering employment packages given them. These expatriates are more or less figure heads to boost image of a school without any economic input all in the name of running a standard or international educational system on Nigerian soil. Some go to work two or three times in a week and the Nigerian teacher will report to school from Monday through Friday even on some Saturdays.
Why would teachers not roam or switch schools? I am a teacher and I am proud to be one. In the olden days we hear people say the teachers’ reward is in Heaven. What about now? Is our reward still in Heaven up till now? Should we continue to work like Jacky, while the so-called expatriates cross their legs and drink coffee in their hallowed offices? Government should look into this fraud, apathy and inhumane activities of our private school owners.
Nigerian teachers’ are greatly endowed. Our problems are so many, ranging from poor salaries, discrimination among teachers, competition to meeting deadlines set by school owners, poor teachers’ appraisal pattern, and the worst of it all is the incessant hiring and firing of teachers.
If your child or ward is intelligent and all of a sudden dropped academically it shows that something has gone wrong somewhere. Parents should investigate issues the way they are so that they should be able to find out remote cause of academic backdrop on their child/ward. Teachers are not always to be blamed. A broken home can make a child not to perform well academically. A hyper active child also tends to lose concentration if not guided properly by teachers and parents.
When teachers are hired and fired incessantly we can attribute it to this fact. Discrimination among teachers is another one. If a teacher showers more praise, love on a particular child it tends to dampen the spirit of other children in the classroom, because blood runs in their veins and so they have ambitions, aspirations and should be treated equally.
Teachers also tend to be very political, tribalistic, and unfriendly when it comes to inter-personal relationship among fellow teachers. That is why backbiting, gossip and other vices are not left out of them and in the system. Because you are in good terms with the head teacher or proprietor of a school should not be an avenue for you to go about telling them the necessary and unnecessary just to get more attention and favour from your employer. Such is inhumane and of course attracts karma.
Remember that there are three environments responsible for the learning of a child: The school, family and society. These three elements are nonnegotiable. The reason is that when the family fails to train a child, the child moves about without bearing. The family is the centre point and basis for child learning. The norms are far-fetched in Nigerian homes today. Parents select friends that moves with their child. It goes on and on. Parents select teachers, classrooms for their child and wards.
The rich dad’s child in school always shows off, talk of bullying other children is part of their stock and trades; talk of rudeness, unfriendly attitudes have become a norm. The strong will to discipline such child becomes a daisy venture because the school management has already put a policy in place which frowns at disciplining a child.
A society like in America today is on the verge of societal suicide. Why would kids take guns to school? Why would gay marriage and lesbianism be a socially acceptable way of life a particular people? It is because the family system, school system and government have failed.
In another vein, if for instance a chemistry teacher is replaced three times in a row, how do you think you can get the best from the students? Same is applicable to other subjects. This is a result of poor school management. The fact remains that teachers are always blamed when things go wrong in area of academics. This is the cause that I am protecting and in my little way of judging and analysing the way and manner teachers are presented negatively.
The previous WAEC exams recorded massive failure in many states in the south-west and they put it on the teachers. My people say that you do not give a small dog a big name because such name may cause the dog its life.
Now here are my proffered solutions which I believe will curb this backdrop. We need to go back to the basis where each subject should have three or more teachers. My late dad use to tell me that back in the days, subjects like English, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, in fact, virtually all subjects have three or more teachers. This trend tends to bring out the best on the performance of the students.
In Chemistry or say Physics you have a teacher whose onions is thermodynamics, waves, motion and electricity and another on formulas, gravity and theorems, another on laboratory sample collections, interpretations and so have you. This makes learning fun and interesting. I bet you massive failure in certificate exams will be a thing of the past.
Government should enforce a task force or a committee to checkmate education inspectors when they tour schools. Evidence of reports should be given and they should send a fewer number of delegates from the committee to go back to schools inspectors have visited to cross check information. Their reports should be in agreement in order to avoid any form of compromise. When inspectors play along with school owners, I mean to collect bribes and kick backs such person will be penalised.
Government should create a teachers’ council which will be charged to promote excellence and exhibitions of teachers. Awards should be given out every term to outstanding teachers; this will form a precedent which will ginger teachers to perform better. National Association of Private School Teachers (NAPST) should be established to tackle teachers’ welfare, workshops and exhibitions, having the notion that National Union of Teachers’ (N.U.T) does not represent private school teachers’ interest.
Government should also abolish expatriates as head of schools. They should be in the board of directors or governing council. Teachers should be appraised two or three times in a term before steps should be taken to retain teacher in employment, retrain and mentor through follow-up. All education regulatory agencies must stand on their ground and work professionally without being biased.
• Nnodim, an educationist, publisher and school consultant, lives in Flat 6b, Road 12, Salem Staff Quarters, Lugbe Airport Road, Abuja. firstname.lastname@example.org 08035079550.