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14.10.2019 Feature Article

An Intern Kind Of Story: The Good Teacher Bad Teacher Saga; Discipline In Our Schools

An Intern Kind Of Story: The Good Teacher Bad Teacher Saga; Discipline In Our Schools

In all the experiences I have gathered about blacks, excuse me to say, the most intriguing one is about ‘our’ discipline. We see it almost as a ripper that appears in the night to snatch our breaths as we sleep. Our lack in the practice of training people to observe rules is like a two edge sword cutting us in many ways. The want of proper discipline and the issue of tagging out the ‘bad guys’ when an individual decides to enforce obedience are the two sides of the sword cutting us in different directions.

Growing up, I always think myself as a victim to the very system implemented to regulate my behavior. Either at school or in the house, I was with the view that ‘they didn’t like me much’. Because I was not allowed to live the way I want. Through this, I docketed a lot of people as being the bad guys; my father and grandfather tops the list, followed by my strict teachers who are ready to crack open your back as a means to correcting disobedience. I will never forget Mr. Onnipa and Mr. Quarshie.

Today, my narrative about discipline is different, the actions and inactions taken against me as a means to get me to obey rules of the systems I went through were meant to get me to get the best out of myself. A preparation towards the life I’m proudly living now, for that I will always be grateful.

Few weeks as an intern teacher, I have seen myself in a number of students doing their best to break rules and then avoid the punishments that comes with them. And issues surrounding discipline now is worse than when I was in the Senior High School. The today’s child is more exposed to the rotten ways of the world and the vilest part is they think they know it all making them difficult to discipline.

Majority of students tend to step on rules that holds the educational system together; of course they see no use in having them, at least not until they are hit with the hard reality of life. And when a teacher steps up to remind them of the rules or punish them for breaking them, the teacher then becomes the ‘bad teacher’.

One set back of this saga is the division among teachers when it comes to discipline. If a teacher becomes too handy to a student and sweep under carpet disciplinary actions and inactions, and another teacher tries to enforce the same rules in the system, it naturally becomes difficult. Teachers should therefore maintain a standard of discipline in our educational systems and be together when it comes to taking the actions and inactions against indiscipline. If this fails, our attempt to train students will always fall on hard rocks and that becomes a red alert to their future, ours and the nation.

As mentioned, there should be a standard of discipline that teachers should enforce. This will promote and show that teachers are together and also set boundaries to teachers when they are taking disciplinary actions against students. It is only when we do this that our goals with discipline will be achieved and also rubs out the good teacher bad teacher dogma so students will stop seeing some teachers as their nemeses.

We cannot mark out discipline when it comes to education, it will be like destroying the foundation of education. We cannot train whiz kids that have no respect for time, standards for dressing, social conduct and work ethics. Educational training is meant to be holistic and discipline cannot be left out or ignored. So even if we have to be the bad teachers, let be and give them the future filed with elysian rays.

Joseph Yaw Mawunyo
Joseph Yaw Mawunyo, © 2019

This author has authored 22 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: JosephYawMawunyo

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