October 5 is the World Teachers’ Day, a day to celebrate the significant roles teachers play in a society. Teachers are artisans who craft young minds into professionals pivotal in different aspects of human development.
A teacher’s success can be measured in many ways, including gauging examination results.
However, examinations assess a number of factors that affect the teaching and learning process. This includes the availability of teaching and learning materials, infrastructures, learners’ commitment towards their studies and prevailing education policies.
Still, assessment results speak volumes of teachers’ ability to bring out the best in learners.
Shockingly, this year’s Malawi Schools Certificate of Education (MSCE) examination results have been the worst in recent history.
Many factors have contributed to these abysmal results, but the teacher’s role cannot be overlooked.
According to educationists Felix Mtunda and Samuel D D Safuli, knowledge in the subject matter one teaches is one of the attributes of a good teacher. This implies that a teacher must know the topics and subjects well to teach confidently and effectively.
Among other things, the teacher can achieve this by reading widely and consistently. This involves studying the same topic from different sources—be it books, the Internet and experts’ viewpoints. A teacher has to be resourceful and go beyond the school library in the quest to source information and to master the content.
Some quarters have suggested that with this new curriculum, teachers ought to be thoroughly oriented towards it so that they should be well acquainted with the subject matter. This is true. Hhowever in addition to the orientation, it is the responsibility of every teacher to gather extra information that can be significant in understanding the new curriculum as well as improving one’s content delivery in the classroom.
In recent times, there have been campaigns advocating for a rebirth of reading culture among the students.
This is a welcome development since reading is far more beneficial than watching movies and farming out short messages on phone.
Reading stimulates one’s mental faculties, thereby improving cognitive and analytical skills. It also improves emotional intelligence and increases empathy. Furthermore, reading expands vocabulary and knowledge. It enhances one’s communication skills.
In short, reading can seriously damage one’s ignorance.
When a teacher gets into the habit of reading books, there are these valuable benefits that are vital in the teaching and learning process. The benefits of reading widely play a pivotal role in the classroom and this can help to produce better results.
Much as many organisations are running vibrant campaigns to galvanise students to read widely, teachers should not be left behind. They also have to be encouraged to embrace the reading culture to become relevant in contemporary education.
On the World Teachers’ Day, teachers ought to be celebrated for the crucial roles they play in creation of a learned and skilled society. Let’s take some time to appreciate teachers. We are because of them.
To the teachers, this day is ideal for some serious soul-searching. This year’s MSCE results should act as a wake-up call to a new way of delivering lessons.
As relevant authorities are working on other factors that may help improve the results this time around, teachers should also work on improving themselves. They should start reading widely. Sometimes teachers hardly read because they have taught the same subject for some years, but this should not be the case. This should not be an excuse either. Knowledge is dynamic, not static. The ever-changing nature of knowledge requires that everyone constantly update themselves.