Tween Talk with Eugenia Tachie-Menson: Teachers’ Lives Matter……

Eugenia Tachie-Menson--a passionate educator

When the pandemic forced us (as a country) to go in to mandatory Lockdown, many children I know were excited that there won’t be school; no need to wake up at 4a.m. to make it in time for school by 7a.m., no Teachers or school heads shouting “stop running! keep quiet! where is your homework? tuck in your shirt! sit up right! why are you late for morning assembly?!” FREEDOM from all this…or so they thought, because in less than 3 weeks these same children started clamouring for going back to school.

Mrs. Eileen Abbam – my Class 6 English Teacher who is 92

What happened to the newly found FREEDOM, they were all jubilating over?  Then my nieces and nephews explained it to me; we miss our friends and our Teachers too, they had said.  I can see how they will miss their friends but their Teachers?  I couldn’t believe my ears; they miss their Teachers?!  Teachers are like your defacto parents and seeing as these tweenagers had said to me they had had enough of their parents, I didn’t think they’d miss their Teachers.

Don’t get me wrong; I love Teachers.  I work with teachers from all over the country and I see how tirelessly and selflessly they give off their best.  Matter of fact, I do teach too; spelling and spelling techniques.  So, I think I was in disbelief that you tweenagers actually cared this much about Teachers.

You see, generally Teachers don’t get the respect they deserve in many societies.  In our country, there are too many of us adults who disrespect Teachers, but I will admit that most times, that is not the intention.

Some parents talk to Teachers as though they (Teachers) are their paid workers (this is not to suggest in anyway that paid workers- house-helps/keepers, drivers, gardeners- should be disrespected and if that happens in your household, know that it is very wrong).  The tone and choice of words some parents choose to use for Teachers, whether when speaking directly or indirectly to them, leaves so much to be desired.

We all agree that we wouldn’t take kindly to anyone speaking to us in harsh tones or using abusive language on us, so why would you want to use such on Teachers?  I just don’t get it…

Think about it; your parents, your adult relations, even the President of Ghana will not have reached the heights they have in their life but for the highly valuable role of Teachers.  Teachers give students a purpose whilst inspiring us all to be the best we can be in life.  Teachers are truly the ones who prepare us for the future. Doubt it?  Consider these ways…

  1. Guidance – Teachers don’t just teach you Maths, English other subjects. They can guide you (in most cases) to choose the right career path.  They help you acquire social skills like public speaking, team work, following directions and managing your time, for instance.
  1. Patience – Teachers require tons and tons of this virtue to do their work diligently. They handle about 25-35 students in a class (though I know of about 90 students in a class with only 1 Teacher…wow!)  That many students in one class being managed by one…single…Teacher!  Add to that, {some of} their parents breathing fire at them at the slightest seeming error.
  1. Dedication – A Teacher’s day doesn’t end when yours does; they spend nights and weekends marking homework and preparing lessons. They will arrive at school earlier than you would because they must help some students who are struggling with their classwork.   Despite the challenges of teaching, sometimes without being paid for several months, they still turn up to work, and would stay teaching for the rest of their lives.

I am one of those who loves to celebrate life, especially birthdays, special days and milestones.  Monday October 5 is World Teachers’ Day and celebrated the world over.  As the pandemic has disrupted life as we know it and particularly schooling, why don’t you send your favourite Teacher an what’s App or email sharing an appreciative message for all their hard work? I can vouch that you will put a smile on their face; they’ll be as happy as when they see you next.

We truly are all great BECAUSE of a Teacher…say a word of prayer for your Teacher and Teachers all over the world every day.  Join me in wishing all Teachers; Happy Teachers Day!!

>>>The writer is a passionate educator who makes learning fun for children under 18 through co-curricular programmes. Through her charity organisation, Young Educators Foundation (YEF) in Ghana, the programmes portfolios have expanded to include literacy programmes in local languages as well as public speaking programmes for the youth.

Based on her work in education and with children, Eugenia is the recipient of many nomination and awards such as a presidential award for the contribution to education over the past decade in 2018. In 2019, she was named as one of the 74 individuals in Those who Inspire Ghana, a global programme that identifies nationals whose experiences are worth sharing.

Eugenia believes that children are not the ‘future’, but rather the ‘present’ and so the need to invest in their total development. She is a regular contributor on radio and television shows as well as various public fora on this and related topics.

Leave a Reply