A TEACHER, in a layman’s language, is professionally trained personnel laden with the responsibility of disseminating positive knowledge, attitudes and skills to learners in the school. They are people that inspire and encourage their learners to strive for greatness, live to their fullest potentials and see to the best of themselves.
Teachers as their learners’ models are admired to the extent that their learners aspire to be like them. In this connection, the learners imitate their teachers’ commitment to excellence. They also look up to their teachers for advice and guidance. This has made some students to say of their teachers: “my teacher, my hero”.
Some weeks ago, I ran into a friend, and in the course of our discussion, I asked her about her last child, whom for reasons the mother was not able to establish, detests going to school. Two years ago, Chimwendu, for that is the girl’s name, was practically dethatched from the rest of the family, always on her own. Her best moments were the weekends and holidays. She had no interest in any particular subject, and as such, at the end of every term, she always had the worst of results. The mother was always complaining and seeking advice on how to help the child. But this time, when I raised the issue of the girl, the mother excitedly told me that Chinwendu took the 2nd position in her class this term. (Meanwhile, she is now in primary four). In my bewilderment, I asked “what brought about the sudden change”?
My friend said “one day, I received a call from the headmistress of her school, summoning me to the school. So the next day I went, she started telling me that my child had defied all their efforts towards helping her, that they are tired of her, as she doesn’t learn anything, made the worst of result and always get promoted because they feel it will be useless to force her to repeat classes. Then, she ended up telling me that I should consider getting her enrolled in another school after that term as the new session begins, because that was a third term. As we were still talking, a teacher walked in and intervened in the matter. The teacher pleaded with the headmistress to put the child in her own class the next term as she is taking primary four. The headmistress agreed, and on September last year, my daughter started her primary four in ‘Aunty Nwamma’s’ class and since then, Chinwendu became a new person. She will be struggling to finish her assignments because she does not want her ‘Aunty Nwamma’ to be offended; she will always keep to her reading time table that ‘Aunty Nwamma’ helped her draw; she will always be the first to get ready for school, the list can go on and on. To my surprise, at the end of that term, she took the fifth position, and at the end of this term again, she had broken the record by taking the 2nd position. With the way things are going, one day, she will take the 1st position. I bless God for ‘Aunty Nwamma’”
In her own view, Mrs Onwueteka, a nurse with a private hospital said,“teachers have the best opportunity to be the role models of their learners because after the children’s parents, the teachers are greatly involved in the socialization process of the children. At the basic education level, teachers inculcate literacy, numeracy and the ability to communicate effectively into the children. As they mature into adolescents, they proceed to senior secondary schools and eventually, the tertiary level of education, still, the teachers are there to answer their questions, listen to their problems and teach them about the new phase of new life which they have entered. Teachers as role models therefore do not only watch their students grow but they also help them to grow in the right direction. In this respect, the teacher does not only teach the students the content of the syllabuses but also important life lessons. The school therefore is not only a place of academic learning, but also a place of social learning. It is worthy of note at this juncture that although teachers’ influence on the social sphere of children’s life weakens as the children mature, those early lessons always reflect on their lives as they climb the ladder of life.”
Also speaking, Nwadike Dennis, a public servant has this to say, “A role model is a person who you look up to and aspire to be like. They are people you learn from and look up to for guidance. Anybody can be a role model, but the most influential role models just happen to be teachers. There are many reasons why many think of those in the teaching profession as role models. One of the main reasons is the desire to be looked up to and be remembered. We’ve all encountered one or two great teachers in our lifetime who had in one way or the other left indelible marks on our lives, impacts that we will remember for the rest of our lives. Whether it was discovering a special subject or learning a life lesson, or how to tap the confidence to speak in public, teachers are the ones who light the way for us in this world. People in the teaching profession are the ones who help us learn and pave the way for a better future.
Much of what students learn from their greatest teachers is not detailed in the school syllabuses. Teachers are responsible for imparting most of life’s most important lessons on children. During their initial school years, children encounter, perhaps for the first time, other children of the same age and begin to form most of their first friendships. It is the teacher who will be there to show them how to become independent and form their own relationships; by carefully guiding them, also intervening when necessary. School is as much a place of social learning as academic learning, and this is true, not only in our early years of education, but all the way through secondary and tertiary education. “As role models, teachers are fount of experience, plus the fact that they have already been where their learners are going, undergone what they will still undergo, thus they are in a better position to pass along lessons, not only regarding academics, but lessons of life”.
“For Mr Onwuegbu, a businessman, “children might look up to their mothers, fathers, step-parents, other caregivers, siblings or an extended family members, however, no matter what the structure of their families look like, teachers are likely to be the first role models that young children encounter regularly outside of the home. In my own case, my literature teacher (Mr Stephen Igbokwe) is really my hero, I adore him till tomorrow.
He changed my perception about life, made me take to Art subjects and I did well in it. Teachers follow students through each pivotal stage of development. At six to eight hours a day, five days a week, teachers are poised to become one of the most influential people in our children’s lives.
As good models worthy of emulation, the students try to follow their teachers in their manners, dressings, etiquettes and style of conversations. They are their ideal role models that lead them to the right direction; therefore, good teachers play a prominent role in building the future of their students and the society at large. It is for this reason that most teachers make frantic efforts to abstain from what in their thinking will mislead the children. Corrupt and incompetent teachers on the other hand produce a corrupt and incompetent generation. A nation with corrupt teachers is a nation at a great risk because everyday announces the advent of its approaching doom”.
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