By Christine Apiot
Recently, we celebrated the UNESCO World teachers’ Day, I’m very happy with this year’s theme “Young Teachers: The future of Professions”. This is because in Uganda, we don’t have many young people in the profession as we would want and they aren’t always supported in a way that would make them the best teachers they could be.
This theme thus calls on the fact that we need to secure tomorrow’s teachers by having more young people join the teaching profession and harnessing the enthusiasm that new teachers have to improve learning outcomes. As we work on motivating young teachers to join the profession, supporting them properly will be critical. This is why a new campaign was launched and is ongoing called #TeachersTransformLives to celebrate teachers on World Teachers’ Day and advocate for bettersupport and training that will help them succeed in the classroom.
It is so well known that teaching is a noble profession and has been highly respected across generations. It is and always was a very prestigious and respectful profession, that in Uganda if you are known as “Musomesa” you are held in high esteem. In our communities, most teachers were sort after to help in decision making and to hold positions of leadership.
Yet, despite the importance of the roles of teachers they don’t always get the support that their role demands. World over we have continuously had reports of teachers advocating for improved teacher’s welfare. There has also been a gap in terms of ongoing training and professional development. All these challenges are a deterrent to the young generation in joining this noble profession and to those thousands of teachers already in Ugandan classrooms.
Like all professions, teachers need ongoing mentorship, motivation, training and development. They need to feel that what they do matters and see the evidence of learning after all their hard work. They need materials and resources that will enable them to teach to the best of their ability; plus encouragement and feedback that will help them to grow. Helping teachers deliver child centric lessons in an interactive way; narrating the positive and providing ongoing training and development all helps teachers teach and ultimately children learn.
As we mark this important Day of teachers, showing more support and mentorship to the teachers is what can motivate and encourage more millennials to join the profession and make those within, be successful in the classroom, improve outcomes and as a result to feel satisfied and love the work they are doing.
That is why the new campaign – #TeachersTransformLives – is shining a light on inspirational teachers whose teaching has been transformed through a tripartite programme of materials, support and development. An approach to teaching that is helping teachers transform young lives; by improving learning outcomes; excelling in challenging environments and developing the leaders of tomorrow.
The teachers highlighted in #TeachersTransformLives share their stories of how their teaching has changed and enabled them to turn their classrooms into springboards for success. Ibrahim Bashir from Bridge Academy in Yesu Amala is just one of the teachers highlighted in the campaign who has transformed the way he teaches and delights in sharing his success.
Every teacher can succeed with the right support. That’s the main message of the new campaign designed to highlight the importance of training and empowering teachers across the world. If we want learning outcomes to improve we must focus on teachers.
The writer is Ugandan educationalist and Brookings Institute Fellow.