By the meaning of its definition, vocation, from the Latin vocare (to call), is a divine calling to duty. One is called to be of service in health delivery, another as a spouse, another as a parent, another is called into the priesthood, and another as a teacher.
Some people exhibit wondrous talents in a particular field that it could be concluded that it is their calling. The ease at which they go about things can make people be held in awe and be amazed at how they fare.
Having said this, some people may not have the calling, but would find themselves in certain trades by way of academic prowess.
Vocations like priesthood, health delivery, marriage, parenthood and teaching, which directly involve caring for people, are highly valued by God. And He is very critical about those called into that service and how they perform their duties. They are always held accountable for each and every person under their charge.
So, when a shepherd of God’s flock thinks more about his or her welfare and does things contrarily to what Christ will do, there is concern that the faithful are being led astray. So is it that an irresponsible medical practitioner will not find favour in the sight of God.
Since the formation of the child begins at home, it will be essential that the husband and wife lead good lives and become good parents of their wards.
For lack of knowledge, people perish, so God says, and it is vital to a child or anybody to have a good and devoted teacher around to help in instructing them.
As it is with all vocations, the virtue of humility and sacrifice are very important and paramount.
It is, therefore, worrisome when we hear some teachers displaying insensitivity towards that vocation. During an impasse between teachers and the government over remunerations and others benefits during the Kufuor administration, we heard in this country, teachers belonging to the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) saying that they would teach the children to fail them. Even though I can say they were justified in making demands on the government, it was inappropriate to use such means of blackmail to ill-prepare the students for life.
Somewhere early this year, the Ghana Education Service (GES) planned to extend teaching hours to go beyond 2:30 p.m., and NAGRAT raised issues with that. It wanted to resist any such instruction, according to its General Secretary, Frank Dadzie, and this was supported by one Samuel Zigah of the University of Education, who implied that extra hours do not guarantee quality, but he contradicted himself by advocating for extra classes as a means to enable the teachers to supplement their salaries.
Recently, matters of education have hit the town with the novelty “double track” system. The idea of this new method of shift system has turned minds into confused states, as to how it will benefit the students who will go through this. Pens were put on paper and fingers on calculators to come out that 162 days in a year will be spent on formal teaching, which works out to be five months and four days. Meaning, there will be over six months of holidays in an academic year. And a full three year course of study will entail only sixteen months and two days of academic work, with over nineteen months of holiday.
Even as we will like to understand how this will benefit the students, we wish to refer to the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), which, while in government, decided to cut short the Senior High School (SHS) from four to three years, stating, among other things, that the former was too long.
NAGRAT came into the news again, warning that its members will not work on weekends for the double track system. Mr. Frank Dadzie, the General Secretary, represented the association’s strong view on the matter, stressing that it was illegal and contravenes the country’s labour laws, quoting Section 42 of the Labour Act 657 (2003). And, again, the association contradicted its stance by stating that it would allow its members to work extra hours if only an allowance would be paid.
What at all do teachers want? Gone were those days when there was nothing like extra classes, and teachers taught within the scheduled period, completed the syllabuses in good time for at least a week or two before examinations, during which revision classes are held.
These days, most teachers slowly glide along teaching during the scheduled school period, but are able to handle classes of students who can afford to pay, teaching them full session, sometimes late into the night.
We accept that times are hard and rough, but to use one’s vocation to reap from the poor and vulnerable is not something ideal in the sight of God. Deciding to be professionally lazy during scheduled teaching periods, where monthly salaries are paid, but to be in top element during after-classes hours, teaching where more than thrice the official monthly salaries can unofficially be earned, will be sheer wickedness against the poor students whose parents cannot afford anything extra.
Teachers should know that their profession is a calling from God, and they are mandated to take good care of the flock of God under their charge.