The school system in Nigeria is often influenced by the constant changes that are occurring within the political institutions. The ability of the stakeholders and actors within the educational system to adapt to the organizational changes has attracted attention in the last decade. Currently, there is controversy as to the nature, pattern and methods of training teachers in the country. At the centre of the controversy is the confusion over the role of the educational administrators in secondary schools.
The teacher stands out as one the most important factors determining the quality of education and its contributions to national development. At every level people who go to school look on the teacher for the acquisition of the necessary skills to enable them become what they want to be. Thus, students often look on the personal qualities, their educational qualities and professional competence which are rewarding to the learners. It is on this note that the role of educational administrators in assisting teachers to help students achieve the objective of instructions in their various fields of endeavor stands paramount and a challenge in the 21st century. How should the teacher present himself in order to get his message across? How can he communicate effectively in the class? Under what kind of environment can the message get across? What pedagogical approaches are effective? These among other question are of interest not only to students and teachers but also to school administrators (Onuoha, 1975).
TEACHER EDUCATION AND NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
According to (Ukeje, 1988 in Wanekezi, Okoli and Mezieobi, 2011), pointed out that education unlocks the door to modernization and sustainable development but that, it is the teacher that holds the key to the door. Thus, the teacher has the responsibility of translating educational policies into practice and programmes into action. It is clear from the foregoing that the role of the teacher in sustainable development cannot be quantified, especially in training personnel in various areas of the workforce. For national development and peaceful co-existence to be attained, there is need to give priority to investment in human capital through teacher education and training. The Nigerian educational system needs to be responsive to the technological social and economic needs of the society and provide the type of human resources needed in the industrial and economic sector. Herein comes the role of effective teacher education programme to translate the needed skills, knowledge and attitudes to meet their needs and the societal ones.
NUT AND CONTRIBUTIONS TO EDUCATION IN NIGERIA
Nigeria Union of Teachers (1994) depicts a teacher as one who has the register-able professional qualification which enables him to be appointed to teach at any nation’s institution of learning and who has a sound mind and is mentally fit.
Trained, skilful, effective and efficient teachers of the past were accorded, revered, and held at high esteem because of their selfless role in the society. But the reverse is the case today, he is seen as one who resorted to the profession as a result of unemployment, he is owed months of salary and is paid below standard but is expected to build the future leaders.
The role of a teacher cannot be over emphasized as no facet of life will be without him. Teachers are ideal agents of Socialization, Change and Development, thus the operator of the country’s educational system to ensure that teachers are politically, economically, culturally, socially, agriculturally and technologically skilful, aware and adequately productive and meaningful to the society he or she functions. He is the bridge and springboard for economic and other areas of growth, development and stability.
To buttress on the topic of discuss let us consider a letter sent by a past president of America, Abraham Lincoln to the head teacher of his son’s school, it reads: “He will have to learn, I know that all men are not just. But teach him that for every scoundrel there’s a hero; that for every selfish politician there is a dedicated leader. Teach him that for every enemy there’s a friend. Teach him that a dollar earned is far more of value than five found. Teach him to learn to lose and enjoy winning. In school teach him that it is far more honorable to fail than to cheat. Teach him to have faith in his own ideas, even if everyone tells him they are wrong. Teach him to be gentle with gentle people and tough with the tough. Teach him to listen to all, but teach him to filter all he hears on the screen of truth and take only the truth that comes through. Teach him how to laugh when he’s sad. Teach him there is no shame in tears. Teach him to close his ears to the hauling mob and to stand and fight if he thinks he’s right. Teach him gently but don’t cuddle him, because only the heat of fire makes steel. Teach him to always have sublime faith in his creator and faith in himself too, because then he will always have faith in mankind. These are a big order, but please see what you can do. He is such a fine little lad, my son”.
If the role of a teacher is not imperative and pivotal, why will he write such letter and plead in it? He pleads with the teacher to bring his expertise to bear through his son in all ramifications.
The nation depends on the crop of teachers it has to train and supply necessary man power in all areas of the nations existence. Also the teacher is an icon of morality that is why he and his profession is regarded as the mother of all other professions and deserve a conducive working environment and condition.
A teachers’ task involve first fathoming, absorbing and imbibing the ideals and knowledge of the society, familiarize himself with them by understanding its entirety before the challenging process of transferring these acquired principles and ideas to the learners.
With this enormous task, the teachers’ role in nation building is one that if not vehemently used can snowball into something venomous.
Teachers are needed in all areas of life endeavor; in Medicals, Law, Agriculture, Technology, Astronomy, Philosophy and a host of others require the skills of teaching in the hands of a professional before the knowledge can be transferred from one person to another. These without doubt is no small role to play as the entire nations’ fate depends on the cadre of leaders they will produce to lead the old.
Teaching is a profession that everyone is involved in; a man that sees three children playing in a pool of dirty water from the gutter and sends them away is a teacher because out of the three children one is likely to learn and refrain from such water another day.
By that he has taught because it is relatively permanent. A farmer who teaches his son how to till the soil to an extent that in his absence the child tills the ground productively has taught. A father who disciplines his children when they err without a bias mind and reward when they do good has taught because one is likely to learn that it’s not good to do wrong.
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