How becoming a teacher by default affects our learners?
The difference between the acquisition of knowledge and knowledge transfer
When I started out as an educator about a decade ago I only had a Chemical Engineering qualification as well as minimal and informal teaching skills at my disposal.
However I found myself faced with the intimidating task of delivering educational content to learners without any formal training on the dexterity of teaching and learning. Don’t get me wrong, I had a wealth of knowledge as an engineering technologist but the primary objective of my qualification was to equip me with technical skills that gravitated towards industrial practice and not academia. Because at that point in time I hadn’t undergone any formal training related to the art of imparting knowledge to the next person and the skill of crafting tangible assessments, I was bound to lack in this area.
Many if any of my fellow colleagues overlooked the importance of professional certification in education. For many years I rendered lectures at university in a haphazard fashion with the reliance of methods used by my previous educators at elementary and senior levels of education. Little did I know, I was making a lot of mistakes just like many professors, doctors, junior lecturers, and other educators in both basic and higher education ranks?
A few years ago I decided to enroll for a postgraduate diploma in higher education (PGDHE) and that’s when the sudden reality of my ignorance on teaching was brought to light. I was highly knowledgeable however I realized my pedagogy (Teaching Practice) was highly inclined on speculative and random approaches. The teaching qualification gave me the agility and direction to conduct my lectures objectively and in an organized manner.
Skills of subject delivery
On many occasions I have witnessed educators take up on a lectures with questionable delivery methods. They confidently apply these dubious teaching methods for the entire duration of the semester without being held to account. I mean how can you correct a problem if you cant identify and acknowl- edge its existence. Understanding a concept is one thing but imparting the knowledge to the next person is never a walk in the park. Its highly important that we recognize the role of Teacher training colleges because they provide educators with the much needed skills that define the trade teaching and learning.
Lack of employment prospects
Quite a number of qualified personnel from different disciplines find themselves settling for the teaching profession. This has been a growing trend for the past twenty years, due to the shortage of employment opportunities many find themselves trapped in forefront of the classroom playing ‘educator’. Most of these individuals who are inadvertently swallowed by the world of teaching and learning are not passionate with this professional field and the learners get to bear the brunt of being taught by people who became educators by default.
Dangers of employing individuals who don’t qualify as professional teachers or educators
It is not uncommon to hear a teacher or a lecturer mincing bitter statements to the learners like ‘I am doing you a favour I attained my certificate a long time ago, so please stop wasting my time’.
Such behavior is uncalled for since the learner in question cannot compete with the educator and such behav- ior can be viewed as an element of ageism. Employing this kind of individuals does not auger well for any educational institution since bitter employees bring with them negative energy which later reflects on the learners. Many educators have a hand in breaking learner’s dreams especially at elementary level where the mind of the learner is still fragile.
Complaining is the daily bread of those who became educators by default
Complaining doesn’t require one to be a hard worker or possess highly specialized knowledge to put it into effect however the main ingredients are: lack of responsibility and accountability, shifting the blame and the need for criticism is all that is needed to expedite endless complaints. At any given moment you will have complainants amongst you in social, political, religious and professional circles
There are quite a number of individuals who fear complaining in the open however they tend to do it behind closed doors and in the absence of those the complaint is aimed at.
In educational establishments complaining is the order of the day, ranging from students who complain about their educators to the educators complaining about management and those in the echelon of authority in educational settings.
In many occasions complaining is perpetrated by default educators. A few if any come up with tangible solutions to help counteract the problems at hand however everyone has someone to blame at any given point in time especially when problems surface. It seems like many have mastered the art of complaining and pointing fingers at the direction of those who are seen as unproductive. Our default educators always point fingers to the direction of students whenever the come short in academic activities, this is seen in cases of poor pass rate amongst learners.
Educators are the backbone of our economic setting therefore the profession itself should be taken seriously. In my own opinionated view I feel like those tasked with educating future engineers, accountants, doctors, pilots and other working professionals are normally undermined.
The condescending treatment stems out from the fact that most educators especially at elementary and secondary levels put up with meagre salaries and remuneration packages that are not payslip- worthy. Therefore the hostility and low energy levels displayed by some educators in lecture halls can be attributed to such unbecoming treatment.
The fact that everyone who has a first degree, regardless of whether they possess professional certification, can be employed as a teacher is cause for concern and has dire implications.