The primary role of a teacher is the ability to impact knowledge. It is often said that everybody is a teacher, in one capacity or the other. Perhaps there are two qualities that distinguish a teacher from the crowd; love of impacting knowledge and a love of contributing to the development of others. However, the work of a teacher does not end there, they instruct, coach, tutor, train and counsel. As they go about their daily routine of instructing students, they are tagged with the sole responsibility of taking attendance, marking scripts, evaluating performance, as well as preparing lesson notes using current curriculum.
Despite the popular belief that teachers are parents, and students spend productive hours of the day with their teachers, it is not a cue to assume the job of parenting at the expense of their job. In other words, the duty of a parent exceeds that of the teacher; it is a life time job. According to Wikipedia, “parenting is the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social, financial and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood”. Apart from nurturing and raising a child, a parent is responsible for the general wellbeing of the child. Ideally, they are present at every significant stage in the child’s life. This contradicts the notion that a teacher is equally the parent of a child.
In recent times, education policies have created avenues to engage students to stay longer in school than they should. One of the contributing factors is the voluminous curriculum schools need to cover within a short period of time. Another is the introduction of after school lessons, to make up for short lesson period. The third, which is private lesson, is a deliberate tactic to keep children busy till some of their parents or guardians are ready to pick them after school hours. If you follow my line of thought, you would ask: “what time does the child spend at home with the parents?” Naturally, children are influenced by whomever they spend time with, so how does one vouch for a teacher who spends the entire day with a child?
As a teacher, I discovered that most parents have become passive in the academic progress of their respective wards, and this is a major contributor to the decline in the standard of education; using Nigeria as a case study. A number of parents have placed priority on paying fees, and every other duty is vested in the hands of the teacher. For these students, there is little or no supervision on their daily routine, no track record whatsoever. It is no longer strange to see that children lack parental guidance. They need affection and warmth; this makes them vulnerable to any available person. So I asked: how can parents bridge this gap?
Moral Education: Devote time to give your wards moral values; teachers are not in the position to do that. If you don’t, they may probably get it from wrong sources. It could be from their peers or teachers.
Religion: Recently, my teenage brother told me he has friends who have not been to church or mosque in years. Like the Biblical saying: “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it”, you need to show your children godly precepts.
Supervision: Perhaps, this is the most important aspect of parenting; please make it a priority to know your children’s friends. They can either make or mar them, and good or bad habits are picked from such friends. There are key steps to fulfilling your responsibility as a parent:
- Monitor their progress in school, and supervise their homework.
- Attend special events or meetings organized by the school.
- Ask them questions; be involved in their social life.
- Create a friendly disposition around your children; they will be free to share their fears and passion with you.
- Involve your children in your family plans; it gives them a sense of belonging.
- Listen attentively to their conversation; you will gain a lot from them.
- Be the best role model to your children; assure them with your words.
Children are gifts from God; they need proper nurturing and supervision. Do not expose them to outsiders.