Whenever teachers in Uganda meet, they always chant their slogan or catch phrase; “Because we are, the nation is. The Nation is, because we are.” It is also an underlying fact that no nation can be better than the quality of its education. Similarly, no education can be better than the quality of its teachers.
Teachers in pre and post independent Uganda were enviable. To hold the title of “Master” or “Mistress” in a village meant a great deal and often times, you have heard of stories about the first man to buy a bicycle in the village having been a certain somebody who was a teacher.
However, due to changes in the environment and probably a shift in government priorities, teachers are so despised to the extent of wanting to equate them to abuses. In high school, if you didnt perform well in mid-term, the only way to get you serious again would be reminding you that if you fail, you will become a teacher.
It is not suprising therefore that very few students actually fill in Education as their first priority on PUJAB forms.
The trend is that one should apply for the “better courses” and after all has failed, resort to education.
Save for the let downs in welfare by especially our government as compared to other professions, the teaching profession is one someone can take upon and with passion and determination achieve a great deal.
Students joining the university to offer education need not be demoralised that they are there because they couldn’t manage Medicine or Engineering. Society needs teachers much more than they’d need the rest infact. That great doctor wouldn’t be what he/she is if she had not been nurtured and brought up by a certain teacher in her primary school.
Achievement shouldn’t just be construed as monetary. There is no greater achievement than the feeling of looking at someone and knowing he/she owes the greater part of his position to you.
Let not that negative talk about poor pay and bad working conditions in future influence you to think that you made a wrong choice. They say the yardstick of a great man isn’t measured by how much he jubilates and celebrates achievements but by what he does when his back is against the wall.
Any one that goes through this demoralising environment in our education system is ready enough to face any hurdles head on.
By loving what you study and do, and ensuring that you give it your best, as a teacher or student teacher you would be laying that great foundation for a glorious career.
There are so many great teachers. And teacher shouldn’t be used to mean just the primary school teachers back in the village. I remember vividly in my primary five when our class teacher asked us to write down details of our parents and one student identified his father’s profession as “Professor”. Our teacher called him aside and told him to change it using these simple words,
“Julius, your father’s profession isnt ‘professor’. It is ‘teaching’. He is a teacher….so go ahead and correct it.”
Her attitude to the profession expressed a big deal and if all intending teachers could embrace it, our future would rightly be colourful and bright.
So, dear education students, as you go out there to start careers in educating the nation or head out there for intern in a certain school, remember that the only way you can actually succeed at any work you are doing, is if you are passionate about it and cannot let any negative talk slow you down. Unlike the present teachers, dont rant about poor pay infront of your students. Encourage them instead, to embrace the profession and take up from where you shall have stopped because I am certain that the conditions shall not remain the same.
The teacher will once again attain his/her rightful position in the social standings of society.