I have for a long time thought teaching is one of the best professions among others, for it shapes the mind of an individual. Teaching is a gift that enlights and passes knowledge to generations. Basically, teaching is the sacrifice of the braves. It gives light to an individual and guides him through the dark path of ignorance. That was what it meant long ago when it was not yet just a business, but the sole responsibility of a country to train and elevate his people to win the battle of independence. Yes, a teacher used to be a somebody, but now he is a nobody left at the mercy of greedy businessmen, irresponsible parents and ill-mannered students who suffocate their life with ill-treatments on the daily basis, turning them into slaves; beggars and punching bags.
We see that tragedy unfolding everyday right before our eyes, but we say nothing and pretend not to see it. When we see teachers treated as maids or home boys in our schools by school owners and parents sometimes in front of their very students, we pretend not to see it. They are insulted, threatened, slapped upon, and humiliated by school owners, parents and sometimes students. When everything goes wrong, fingers are pointed at them disregarding their opinions. They rely on a meager salary and the caprices of the owners who can decide when and what to pay according to the circumstances or the angry parents who threaten to remove their wards to a school if the teacher is not punished or sacked. They are mostly left at the mercy of whoever wishes to exploit and sacrifice them. They are either fed on a small food ratio or deprived of it in schools. They clean, arrange tables, serve food. They are the first to come and the last to leave. They are overworked with no incentives if not a take-away food during special circumstances and deprived of their holidays or weekends to catch up with some works at school sometimes involving carrying blocks to help build the school. We all see those things and keep quiet, but we expect them to outperform in their daily activities. It is very sad to know that we are all aware of what is going on and it’s still going on anyway. They are also human beings. They are parents, sisters, brothers, children, uncles or aunties of ours. They also feel hungry and tired as we all do. Why do we keep silent on these in our schools? Why is our government not monitoring what is going on? Why are they remaining silent on the treatment of private teachers in our schools? How can you cater for your family with 300Gh Cedis or 500Gh Cedis while students are paying thousands of Cedis as school fees? What is the rationale behind it all? Greed has taken over all the aspect of our life to the extent that we cannot differentiate the good and the bad anymore. What are the values that are taught in those schools at all? What are the results do they expect from hungry and bullied teachers? Where are those who promised to make this country better? Where are those who swore to defend the vulnerable and the innocent? Where are those who pledged to defend the constitution? Why will the vulnerable die in the open at the sight of everyone while the oppressor is prospering by feeding on him? Why do we all keep quiet when our siblings, mothers of fathers are being enslaved?
It is time now to speak up and stop pretending not to see in order to avoid criticism. Let’s be the voice of voiceless and save life. They also deserve better. Let’s encourage them and support them performing the difficult task they choose not always by their own will but also due to circumstances independent to them. They contribute immensely in the building of this nation even though their inputs seem undervalued. Let’s be human and fair in our way of dealing with others. Let’s stop ignoring the penance of private teachers by speaking out the truth in our schools.
By Denis Bricen