Image Credit: http://kathleendenly.com/2015/11/13/5-lessons-i-learned-at-my-first-writers-conference/
I remember a song we used to sing at the end of morning assembly when I was in elementary school. I am sure most readers who had their elementary education in Nigeria in the late 90s can identify with the song and it goes thus:
“Parents listen to your Children
We are the leaders of tomorrow
Try to pay our school fees
And give us ‘sign’ education.”
It took most of us a while to realize that ‘sign’ as pronounced in the last line of the song was actually meant to be sound, yet we ignorantly sang along. The main theme of the song was that children are the leaders of tomorrow, and when I was to write a piece on “The role of Teachers in moulding tomorrow’s leaders”, the first thought that came to mind was who are tomorrow’s leaders?
Tomorrow’s leaders are indeed the children of today. Also, the quality of a youth is pretty much based on the nature and quality of childhood. Belief systems, thinking patterns, character traits and a number of other important factors important are mostly developed during this phase and a solid foundation is a sure pathway to a great future.
If children are the leaders of tomorrow, who then grooms them?
Who instils in them the values pertinent to leadership?
Who makes them realize the(ir) future is in their hands?
A synergy of so many factors, opportunities and experiences shape a child, however, the role of teachers cannot also be overemphasized within the society. Teachers can be said to hold the future of children in their hands, almost literally as they play a vital role in moulding tomorrow’s leaders.
Asides building children up mentally and emotionally, the importance of this role is further emphasized when a teacher standing before a class sees beyond just the present state of his/her students but rather great destinies, future presidents, change agents and assets to the society. They therefore possess the power to make or mar the future of these pupils by every decision they make.
An average child spends the most part of his/her week at school, and cumulatively the most part of his/her formative years with the teacher. This means he/she has more interaction with the teachers on a daily basis. Children also tend to develop emotional attachment to their teachers which increases the ability to influence almost everything about such child children. In fact, most children think their teachers know ‘everything’ and would barely oppose their ‘custodian of knowledge. While this in itself presents problems, parents also tend to be clueless at times about what goes on in their kids’ schools and entrust this moulding process to the teachers. In our present fast-food and microwave age, parents struggle to spend quality time with their children, indirectly shifting responsibility to teachers to shape these ‘leaders of tomorrow’.
Great teachers have gone ahead to make the best of this rare privilege to mould great lives, sometime spurring them to greatness identifiable on national and global levels. History also records teachers who have misunderstood their power to mould lives of their students. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many great teachers.
The Ahmed clock saga provides perspective on how a child’s dream was nearly sacrificed on the altar of a teacher’s wrong judgement. (Read more on the story here)
“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires” – William Arthur Ward
The time has come for teachers to understand their power to inspire and mould lives and nations as these individuals are vital to national development. Teachers remain the real unsung heroes of our time as they inspire and mould mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually and in all other aspects. Imagine what it would be like for every child in Africa to have access to quality teachers, don’t you think the quality of future leaders would improve? It certainly will. If that is true, then it is important to invest in adequate support and better welfare systems for these teachers and ensure the profession of teaching is treated in a more respectable manner as it rightly deserves.
Photo by Santi Vedrí on Unsplash