Joyce Meyer said “A teacher can change live with just the right mix of chalk and challenges”. Teachers play a vital role in the lives of those they teach, no matter the level at which they are. School children, especially those in pre-school consider their teachers as “gods” who know all and are always correct, as you commonly hear them “my teacher said that…, my teacher does it this way…, my teacher said this is wrong…, only my teacher knows how to do it…” The job of a teacher in Africa is not an easy one. While some teachers find it easy imparting knowledge to the young, some other have so many challenges due to the lack of infrastructure and the hostility of the environment they teach in.
Teaching in some parts of Africa, especially in the rural areas is quite challenging. Most villages in Africa lack school buildings, and the necessary equipment needed to dispense knowledge. It is common place to see students and teachers under trees or in bamboo huts, turned classrooms. Other teachers have to travel long distances and very rough terrains, to reach their schools. These difficulties and lack of infrastructure does not deter them or affect the determination of some teachers, who are ready to do just anything to impart knowledge to the young generation; the future of Africa.
Teaching is the noblest of all professions, because all professionals passed through a teacher to be what they are today. Unfortunately, many teachers are not given the rewards due them in many African countries. Teachers are among the lowest paid civil servants in a good number of countries in Africa, and other even teach for free. Despite the small salaries, the “real” teachers use their personal money to buy didactic material for their courses. This is the case in village schools, where there is no infrastructure. It should be noted that not all teachers today can make such sacrifices for their students, because not all teachers are teachers. Some of them are just adventurers, taking the “easier” option on the job market and are in for the money.
Teachers are like moulds or stencils for the children they teach. Some African teachers are the most patient people in the society. They are challenged with kids from different backgrounds, different habits, temperaments and cultures and religion. Still, these teachers find ways to bring them together, cutting across cultural and religious differences, not only to teach the subjects in the school curriculum, but also values like love, unity, respect, hardwork, and tolerance.
It is said that “a teacher plants the seeds of knowledge, sprinkles them with love and patiently nurtures their growth to produce tomorrow’s dreams” (Unknown). This is how important teachers are to every society. They should be given the respect and praise they deserve. African governments should put in more efforts and resources to make the situation of teachers, especially those in the most remote areas, better. By so doing, they will enable the growth of education in Africa, stimulating young minds to do great things for the continent.
Article de la rédaction AFRIC