Do poor quality teachers exist? Being a trained teacher and a professional one is not enough; quality and efficiency matters in the line of duty. This write up is to wake our gallant teachers up to reexamine their call to duty as we get ready for school in January 2021.
Educationists, Al Shanker is on record to have said …
“A lot of people who have been hired as teachers are basically not competent.”
Do you agree with his point of view? Well, the important issue is the fact and reality in his statement.
One of such bare facts is that the teacher is no doubt the single most important person in the life of the learner. Teachers are expected to have the most memorable positive impact on the academic development, success, and personality growth of the learner.
To play the crucial role of a teacher and mentor needed by the student or learner, the teacher needs to be an embodiment of quality, dedication, and efficiency.
Quality in this context encompasses all activities and behaviours of the teacher that aid the child or learner, whiles the teacher is transferring and sharing knowledge. Teacher efficiency, on the other hand means achieving the highest productivity in the class of learners in a competent way. These twin qualities of great teachers. Teachers who act as signposts, leaders, and innovators produce great students through their hard work.
Traits of poorly incompetent teachers who impart knowledge in schools can be seen through their negative effect on the student and the bad learning experiences. Teachers who do not deliver on the job become mediocrity, always coming out with excuses to explain why they failed to do one thing or the other.
Such teachers always blame learners low or none performance on laziness without reexamining the teaching method and pedagogies they used to teach.
Traits of Incompetent Professional Teachers
Lack of Content Knowledge
Poor quality teachers are always dependent on the textbooks provided. They do not go out of their way to explore more about the topics and bring dynamism and new knowledge about the topic to the learner. If they are subject teachers, they become default teachers who always teach the same thing the same way with the same examples. The methods that did not work the last time the same lesson was taught may never be changed for the new school year and term.
One would have thought that once teachers complete the College of Education or any other university degree that earns them the qualification to teach, they would become masters of the profession. Experience plays a role however there are some who may never improve.
Passing teachers’ professional examinations or licensure exams does not make a teacher a good one either. The expectation is that teachers would obtain the best proficiency good enough to teach in our schools when hired.
Research has shown that 25% of teachers are poor performers. Teachers in this category as educators sponsor poor academic outcomes of students and systems put in place in the public sector per the labour law makes it very difficult to uproot such educators since they are seemingly protected by ineffectual methods for removing them from the system.
If you are a poor quality teacher, chances are that you do not link learning to the needs of the student and his or her knowledge base.
Stakeholders of education in every school can point out an ineffective teacher. Colleague teachers, learners, guardians, and parents as well as school leaders (Headteachers) can point out with cheeky ease the poor teachers in schools, yet such teachers will remain at post.
Focuses Less on Learner Benefits:
Teaching and learning are supposed to be interactive. This permits inputs from learners and makes them part of the learning process. Sadly, poor quality teachers in schools become lecturers and throughout lessons, they dominate all verbal content.
When parents and learners have had enough of the poor-quality teacher who has excused his or her professionalism, even learners can shy away from respect and disrespect such teachers. Parents may change their ward’s school because of the incompetence of a teacher.
Lack of Classroom Management
Enter a chaotic classroom and blame the teacher in charge and you will not be far from right. Incompetent teachers have poor classroom management as their biggest handicap. Classroom management is not being tough and being feared by learners, it is their mutual respect for your authority, and ground rules for the class, and observing the rules without fear or favour.
Teachers who cannot manage and control their class will have difficulties effectively delivery lessons. This quality and skill must be felt, seen, and experienced by learners from the first day of the class with the teacher being the role model. Rules are best observed and obeyed by learners if they contribute to setting them.
Lack of Professionalism
Today in Ghana, being a professional teacher means haven passed the teacher licensure examination. It can also be stretched to mean understanding the ethics of the professions as captured in the teachers’ code of conduct. The professionalism of teachers is always questioned if they break the rules of the code of conduct or fail to perform on the job as expected.
Ineffective teachers are often tardy or absent but thanks to the policies put in place to check and monitor teacher absenteeism. Indecent behaviour, amoral lifestyle, child sexual molestation are among acts perpetrated by non-professional teachers.
Poor Judgment and People Skills
Have ever heard the say “Common sense is not common to common people”. The application of everyday common sense by teachers makes them better teachers and protects them from many bad situations. Whiles professional teachers will think twice and consult superiors before acting, others will rush and orchestrate their own downfall. We have seen good teachers fall out of the Ghana Education Service due to the ill-managed and uncontrolled sexual behaviours with learners. Great teachers can further manage moments of high emotions and stressors. Teachers need to be professionals, and communication plays a role in ensuring the teacher delivers on the job.
In the school environment, school leaders (headteachers/masters and mistresses) help teachers become better with time through effective and efficient supervision and monitoring of teachers aimed at improving teacher productivity and learning instead of mere fault-finding activities. The efforts of circuit supervisors can not be ignored.
Larger class sizes and lack of teaching and learning materials in school can make very good teachers become ineffective in the performance of their duties. How effective can a well-trained and competent professional teacher be if these factors are militating against their work?
Every teacher can be the best he or she wants to be if they want to be. Systems put in place to develop their competencies must be good enough to help realize the objectives of the education system. As teachers gear up for the January 2021 reopening, they need to look deep inside and start thinking of how they will lead their learners after nearly 10 months of inactivity. Be the competent teacher you were called to be. Poor quality teachers belong to the past.