In some ways, I'd say that my teaching journey has been a lifelong commitment to learning. I have a real passion for new knowledge and it pushes me to learn more about the areas I teach in and the school policies that guide them. In other ways, i'd say that my teaching journey had to be discovered and molded over time. For several years, I have spent time working with young adults in various classes throughout Ghana. The journey has been fascinating, but also quite challenging. I believe some of the challenges stem from the fact that I never envisioned myself to be a teacher in the first place. Though many described me as a ‘natural’ teacher due to my passion for helping others and explaining problems in school, I wasn't sure that was the path I wanted to take. Today, I can proudly say that those doubts have faded away and I have the intention to truly help build a solid educational trajectory for our younger generation.
Even when I had to take a teaching job to help pay my fees as an undergraduate, it never occurred to me that I should peruse a profession in teaching. I didn't even get my first degree in education, but most Ghanaians understand why a degree in education isn't as tempting as others. Unfortunately, for many years, the Ghanaian system didn't place real value on teaching. As a result, a career in education in Ghana became increasingly less attractive to youth. New reforms have been made to increase access to education, but this is coupled with the challenging effects of its quality. Increased access demands quality teachers.
With some nine years of teaching, I’ve come to the realization that teaching is more than a profession and even though our continent place less value on teaching, I feel incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to be in the classroom interacting with my students. I was always hungry for ways to develop myself and the community and I believe I found myself through teaching.
The journey so far:
I started teaching fellow students back in senior high school and got my first job two months after school finished - while awaiting my senior high school results. Through the years, I have helped sharpened the education trajectory of many students (mostly in mathematics). I have enjoyed every opportunity put before me to connect with educators within my reach. I have actively participated in teaching groups with Teach for Ghana, a group seeking to provide quality education to each child across every corner in Ghana.
I believe the future is indeed a mystery, but since the primary solution to (if not all) the challenges faced our continent is mass education, I see teaching and learning as a solution to the mysteries to come.
Call to diaspora.
In Ghana, past and current Governments have put in place measure to try to uplift the educational status, but I think much needs to be done in terms of quality. For quality to increase, there will have to be heavy sacrifices and investments. It would be both humbling and profound to see the diaspora help build more partnerships across the country and help form a solid networks that can help reform the educational curriculum to ensure the quality of education gets to its highest level.
Paul Louis Bempong, ReTurn Ambassador