It is often said that if you can read and write, thank the teacher. Hence, for all readers of this article, we owe it to our teachers. For this, I say, thank you teacher, for making this possible. I can read, and now, I write! Many people are always thankful to their teachers for the roles they have played in their lives. Many people are thankful to their teachers for contributing to the progress they have chalked. Many people are thankful to their teachers for the successes in their lives. But what about those who have failed to make any meaningful lives for themselves? What about the failures? Just as some people are thankful to their teachers, others never seize to mention the name of a particular teacher or teachers for influencing the path they chose in their lives at a certain point. Some people are bitter because, to them, their teachers are to blame!

In the past, for most people and in most homes, schooling was out of the question and so going to school was seen as a luxury for the lucky few. Our standard of living was so low that the primary aim for having more children in most homes was in order to have more helping hands for farming, fishing or perhaps hunting. Children were the labour force for their parents. When eventually education was introduced, a few families reluctantly sent their children off to school. For the few who made it to the classroom however, several of these eventually became dropouts. For these dropouts, a lot of factors influenced their decision. Teachers were primarily the course!

Like all vocations, teaching is a calling. A lot of people can decide to become teachers but the truth however is, most of these people are not really called to become teachers. Some people especially in recent times have gone into the teaching profession as a last resort. They sought other careers but perhaps failed to meet the requirements and hence resorted to teaching as their last option. There have been several instances when we have encountered teachers and hence questioned their credibility and competences! Most students make fun of, and hence assigned various degrading names to teachers for various reasons. Indeed, the lifestyle of these people has earned them these names. A lot of people have had very bitter encounters with some teachers and these have had varied results in the end.

In our various schools are teachers, whose only goal seems to be punishment! Such teachers spend the entire day in the classroom, handing out various punishments to students, deserving or undeserving, notwithstanding! A lot of students have gone home with all kinds of injuries either from the lashes received from teachers or in the course of carrying out a particular punishment. Others have even found themselves in the hospital! For these teachers, it seems that their only joy rests in these punishments and never fails to hand it out under the least provocation or perhaps faltering. Consequently, a lot of students have had to cut short their visits to the classroom since they can no longer bear the punishments and perhaps, tyranny of these heartless teachers. In our various names, we can all recall our individual encounters with such teachers! Is it then surprising when some students drop out? Absolutely not! For these, this country has lost invaluable resources in the form of prospective men and women who have had to cut short their education from bad experiences with a wicked teacher!

Some teachers are also into exploitation! Their main interest seems to rather be on making undue demands. Students from the richer and more influential homes become the favourites. These demands may be monetary, material and in some cases, sexual harassment. Our girl-child is the usual victim! Failure of any student to honour this demand or request could mean a sack or failure in examination. Students who are able to meet their demands usually become their favourites and receive all sorts of rewards most especially, passing examinations and receiving promotions. People have in the past been subdued to repetitions in class and in the end, these students have been forced to make the hard decision of dropping out of school. We all have our stories to tell!

When it comes to the school, the primary aim is for the teacher to impart knowledge to the student. It is usually ironic when some teachers make the naturally gifted and more intelligent students their favourites and then make the slow-learners an enemy. These unfortunate students become the victims of unwarranted attacks and made mockery of. In the end, it kills their confidence and interest in the school altogether. A lot of people have in the past been forced to drop out of school as a result of this stigmatization.

Our teachers are expected to inculcate into our students, the spirit of optimism and a sense of confidence in their dealings. It is right to encourage a student to give a wrong answer to a question, in a confident manner rather than to fail to make any submission at all, mainly because he or she is afraid to be made fun of in the end. Most of us have been victims of this. Usually in our classrooms, such students are met with abusive words from teachers, to the pleasure of their colleagues. These students are in the end given nicknames for their mistakes by these teachers to the delight of their colleagues. This kills the spirit of confidence and ultimately, the joy of attending school. In the end, the student drops out!

In our homes are children, who feel reluctant to go to school each morning. Such students usually wake up with various stories and reasons not to go to school. Some even feign illness! Although parents often label such children as lazy, there is usually more to this behavior. The teacher is to blame!

Currently, in Ghana, and perhaps each year, we hear stories of the failure of some students in some selected schools and districts. Each year again, our opinion leaders seek answers to the increasing failure being obtained in the various examinations. Usually, the unavailability of teachers and the poor conditions and unavailable of educational infrastructure has been the conclusion. I also believe that some of our teachers are responsible for this! I blame our increasing number of school drop out on our teachers! I blame our illiteracy rate on our teachers! I blame the failure of our educational system on our teachers. They ought to take responsibility for their actions!

In as much as we empathize and sympathize with our teachers for their poor conditions of service, they are also accountable to us in ensuring that they reciprocate by giving in their best. The future of our country lies in education. We need a great deal of human resource for our development. We often listen to stories about the regrets of people either dropped out of school or perhaps failed to go further with their education. Most often, a lot of these drop outs were promising students! They could have soared very high! They people could have had a great deal of impact on our socioeconomic development. These have become lost resources as a result of a bad teacher. Sadly for these people, nothing much can be done for them. Each day of their lives, they live with this regret! A lot of people are living in poverty and deprivation as a result of the action or inaction of a teacher! They are to blame! Is this your story? Can it be your story? Is this the story of your child? It could be! Let us act now, while we can!

Just as we might blame our teachers, our government must do more for them. This is a profession that demands a lot of sacrifice. Our growing populace is shunning the teaching field simply because it is not lucrative. Considering the vital roles teachers play in our society in the areas of education, governance, economy, among others, more needs to be done. Their conditions of service need to be improved. Most of the time, dissatisfied teachers dump their frustrations and grievances on the students. As such, we cannot blame them entirely but that is no excuse or founded basis for their behavior.

Teaching is a calling that demands a great deal of patience, love and care. A teacher should impart knowledge! A teacher should be encouraging! Our various spiritual leaders are worthy testimonies to this fact. It is a noble profession and hence, our teachers should be noble in their dealings. In choosing a career in teaching, we ought to examine ourselves to know whether we are cut for it. Our teachers have a vital role to play in developing our country. When things go wrong with the social, moral and psychological development of a child, parents primarily blame the school, indirectly, it is the teacher! In talking about the growth of our nation, education is the key and so, once again, the teacher becomes the focal point.


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