Teaching is one of the challenging jobs in Ghana. The 21st century has not seen the end of old-fashioned challenges of teachers in Ghana face in the classrooms and in schools.
Anyone who finds himself or herself in the classroom will tell you, it is not a job for the faint-hearted. It is a job for those who have the calling to impart knowledge and affect the next generation of educated minds and manpower for national development and growth.
Whether you are a subject teacher or a class teacher, you face nearly the same problems in school and the classroom. Teachers in Preschools up to KG2, Lower primary, Upper primary, Junior High School, and Senior High Schools are saddled with the same set of problems with different magnitudes and complexities.
Old Fashioned Challenges of Teachers: None submission of Home Works
One of the difficult moments a teacher faces nearly every day is the inability of learners to submit homes works when they are due. Call for the homework to be submitted, or set the ground rules for submission of homework, but when you are ready to receive them, you are likely to have some students failing to submit.
The reasons students often given can be sometimes discouraging and frustrating. Sir, please, I left it in the house. Please madam, I was not given the homework book by the student in charge.
There are those who do not have any genuine reasons for not submitting the work and at best may just look on unconcerned. Again, there are those who will hide their homework books because they failed to complete the assignment or cannot answer the questions. The next time you see their books, be sure, to find four or five homes work unmarked.
Old Fashioned Challenges of Teachers: Lack of student/pupil attention
Another disturbing issue faced by teachers is the lack of attention by some students or pupils whiles lessons are ongoing. In the middle of a lesson, it is not uncommon to see a student playing, sketching something less important, talking with another student and passing comments, or cracking jokes for others to laugh.
The teacher’s classroom management skills and ground rules set for learners can help deal with this challenge. Unfortunately, sometimes some of these learners who fail to pay attention may end up telling the teacher they do not understand “the whole show” meaning they do not understand what has been taught. When you hear such comments from your learners, you need to sit them down and advise or counsel them. They may have issues that go beyond the immediate interpretation of “this student/ learner is not serious.”
Stress from learners and heads
Heads of schools can be a teacher’s biggest source of stress in the school environment. Teamwork, understanding the demands of the teaching job, the role of the headteacher of the school, and how your work contributes to his or her success in leading the school would help deal with some of these issues.
Constant absenteeism by learners
Challenges of teachers in Ghana in their classroom also include constant absenteeism by learners. Teachers in some instances will prefer that students are late to school rather than absenting themselves. When a teacher has one or more learners who constantly absent themselves, it creates a lot of problems for the learner and the teacher.
Whiles the learner may miss important lessons, the teacher will have difficulties assessing the student and monitoring the progress of the said learner. There are several reasons that account for students absenting themselves.
For some, they just do not want to be in school, others may be ill, some may be absent themselves because they have been given house chores to do before coming to school.
Children living with persons who are not their biological parents normally absent from school compared with those living with their parents. Often these children are girls and due to the overworking deep into the night and early dawn, they do not report to school or come to school and sleep all day whiles lessons are being held.
Teachers need to approach such students and find out their problems, conduct their investigations with the knowledge of the head, and report their findings to headteachers. Headmasters and Mistresses may invite the guardians over to discuss the way forward in the best interest of the learner.
Issues regarding adolescents
Learners are often well behaved until they reach the adolescent age. At this phase in their lives, some become difficult to lead, coach, and direct. They feel they are now of age and the confused state in which they find themselves makes it difficult for them to take their lessons seriously or appreciate the advice of teachers and parents. Alas, those who find themselves in boy-girl relationships become less interested in their education.
Teachers and school authorities vest in counseling, education on adolescent behaviours, and attitudes are needed in schools to constantly educate these students on the need to take their lessons and schooling more seriously. For some of these learners, some level of pride sets in and disrespect for teachers, parents, and guardians becomes the order of the day.
Children in school without books and writing materials
Old Fashioned Challenges of Teachers in Ghanaian Classrooms and Schools can not be fully discussed without mentioning children who come to school without books and writing materials such as pens and pencils.
Can you imagine a teacher preparing for lessons, coming to school excited with all the needed ideas and teaching methodology to be used to deliver a perfect lesson only to find out that some learners do not have the needed exercise books to work in? Well, this is slowly fading out but is still a common scene in deprived schools and communities in Ghana. In some instances, teachers have to provide the students with exercise books if the learners are to take part in the exercise. The government continues to support learners with these and many more, but this old-fashioned challenge still persists.
These issues may sound old-fashioned but they exist in many schools across the country. Teachers experience them on a daily basis. But they always find better ways to deal with them. Have you faced any problems as a teacher in the line of duty that you believe can be added to this list? Do not hesitate to share what constitutes challenges of Ghanaian teachers in the classroom with our cherished readers? Send your story for publication through admin@Ghanaeducation.org