#BTColumn – In honor of all teachers

The views and opinions expressed by the authors do not represent the official position of Barbados TODAY.

through Wayne Campbell

“A good teacher can inspire hope; ignite the imagination and instill a love of learning. – Brad Henry

We all have a favorite teacher. It is often said that teachers are the road map for the future; they are the bridge between the past and the present and therefore teachers wield enormous power and influence. However, despite this, the status of teachers around the world remains precarious. Most societies place little importance on the well-being of teachers.

The paltry amounts that teachers receive for their salaries are shameful given the importance of teachers in nation building and character development. Unfortunately, the teaching profession continues to be seen as a stepping stone to higher paying jobs.

Ultimately, every teacher must look after their best interests; no one else will. Most societies place less importance on the profession compared to other more desirable professions such as medicine and law.

Additionally, the feminization of the profession over the years has not only resulted in lower pay, but has contributed to the loss of respect for teachers in general. On average, women earn 80 cents for every dollar men earn for equal work. This figure is even less for women of color and those with children.

This gendered reality of the teaching profession has had a negative impact on student outcomes, as the best and brightest minds in most societies continue to shun this noble profession; unfortunately that is not expected to change in the foreseeable future. Then there are those who will say that teaching is not a profession since the education law still provides for pre-trained teachers for up to six years. Part V of Jamaica’s Education Act states; a person must not teach or be employed as a teacher in a public educational institution unless registered as a

(a) as a qualified teacher;

(b) as a pre-trained teacher; Where

(c) as a licensed teacher.

In other well-established professions, there is no such category as a pre-trained lawyer or pre-trained doctor; hence the negative perception of teachers and the teaching profession. Despite the societal perception of the teaching profession, teachers have, during the last nineteen months of the
The COVID-19 pandemic has responded to demands from their students; many of which have had to adapt to a blended approach to teaching and learning since the physical closure of schools.

This new standard means teachers have also had to be very flexible when navigating and guiding their students through this paradigm shift.

In this pandemic, teachers have shown, as they have so often done, great leadership and innovation to ensure that education never stops and that every child can learn, every child must learn.

World Bank says children’s learning has
suffered tremendously. The World Bank added that because the education sector also provides health, nutrition and psychosocial services, the general well-being of children
has decreased considerably.

Teachers have worked tirelessly and carefully to find solutions and create new learning pathways for their students to facilitate education in this new dispensation.

Teachers have had to embrace the different forms of digital literacy that require the technical skills and social practices necessary to interact effectively with digital technologies.

The role of the teacher continues to expand; the teacher is not just that person who teaches, the role of the teacher has entered new areas such as that of mentor and substitute parent. The teacher continues to go beyond the call of duty.

Historical overview of teaching

From time immemorial we have grappled with a number of questions; can teaching be taught? Do individuals learn to teach or do they have an inherent gift for pedagogy? Joseph Axelrod describes two types of teaching as the didactic and evocative modes.

The didactic model is about transferring or imparting knowledge or teaching how to do something. Teachers often use lectures to impart knowledge, after which students demonstrate that they have learned what has been taught by reciting or writing the material.

Unfortunately, this method of teaching does not lend itself to critical thinking. On the other hand, the evocative method or Socrates emphasizes the development of the student’s knowledge.

In this method, the role of the teacher is to draw from the pupils what they already know; given that the student has to assimilate and draw conclusions.

The oldest form of teaching that is still used today is internship or observation. The Greek philosopher Plato learned to teach by sitting at the feet of Socrates. Socrates is arguably the most influential philosopher of all time, who is also considered the father of Western philosophy. Aristotle learned the art of teaching from Plato.

Under the theme “Teachers at the heart of the recovery in education”, World Teachers ‘Day or International Teachers’ Day is celebrated.

World Teachers’ Day commemorates the anniversary of the adoption of the 1966 ILO / UNESCO Recommendation Concerning the Status of Teachers, which sets benchmarks for the rights and responsibilities of teachers,
and standards for their initial preparation and continuing education, recruitment, employment and education and
learning conditions.

The Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel was adopted in 1997 to supplement the 1966 Recommendation by covering higher education teaching personnel.

World Teachers’ Day has been celebrated since 1994. This important day commemorates the adoption of the 1966 recommendations of the International Labor Organization and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) concerning the status of teachers.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers had to firmly embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution. According to Professor Klaus Schwab, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is characterized by a range of new technologies that merge the physical, digital and biological worlds, impacting all disciplines, economies and industries, and even challenging ideas about what means human being.

Teachers as a foundation

Our teachers are true heroes and their commitment to the profession remains unmistakable, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Teachers are the foundation and the foundation of society.

Teachers have made and continue to make great sacrifices in this era of uncertainty that has caused the greatest disruption to education due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Teachers have had to employ creative strategies to ensure that no student is left behind in these unprecedented times.

Many teachers have used and continue to use their own resources to ensure that students have teaching materials available to them at all times.

We have seen documented evidence all over the world of teachers who have walked and / or driven miles and miles to ensure that they are able to connect to Wi-Fi hotspots in order to stay connected. connect with their students to ensure that learning never stops.

We urge governments to work diligently to transform the teaching profession into one of the first choices for young people, especially against the report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) which states that the world will need 69 million more teachers to meet the goal of providing universal primary and secondary education by 2030.

We encourage teachers to re-engage and retool to tackle the ever increasing and demanding tasks of the profession as we work together to address learning loss and inequalities within the global education system.

We pay tribute to teachers from all parts of the world as they continue to give their best as the education system recovers.

The international community celebrates the work of dedicated teachers around the world who continue to strive every day, in the face of personal and collective adversities, to ensure that inclusive and equitable quality education is achieved in accordance with Sustainable Development Goals No. 4 of the United Nations that deal with quality. education and the promotion of lifelong learning opportunities.

Can you imagine a world without teachers; a rather dark and frightening image emerges? On this World Teachers’ Day, October 5, express your gratitude to a teacher who has made a difference in your life or in the lives of your children. Let’s continue to support our teachers and the work they do. Happy World Teachers’ Day!

In the words of Khalil Gibran, the teacher who is indeed wise does not invite you into the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.

Wayne Campbell is an educator and social commentator interested in development policies as they affect culture and / or gender issues. [email protected]

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