I want to dedicate these few words to appreciate school teachers for the overwhelming contribution that they make in growing an effective labour force. More often than not, the teaching profession is misconstrued for being a job taken-up as a second or third choice. Substantiating this rather untruth myth, is the perpetual unproductivity of a few teachers whose passion for the job is questionable. But generally, the majority of our teachers are outsmarting their capable selves. As teachers, they are tirelessly preparing lessons plans, grading and assessing assignments, researching resources, not to mention keeping their classrooms organised and shaping the behaviour of students. Even with all of the different learning styles, varying attention spans and distractions, teachers manage to help students reach beyond what they think they are capable of achieving (Prek-12 Education, May 2016). It is on such basis that teachers deserve consistent recognition.
Consistent recognition for doing good work has a direct influence on the key performance measures that we use to evaluate our schools. By failing to recognise our best teachers, we would be resigning the performance of a school to fate. A teacher who is recognised and appreciated is bound to even do more. They are more likely to be more productive, engage more at work and more likely to stay in that particular school where they feel appreciated. It is therefore imperative that educational administrators create a ‘Recognition-rich environment’ with praises coming from all directions not just during special awarding events ‘Tim Hodges, 2017’. We will then see glimpses into the impact teachers make not only academically, but also personally.
Recognition and gratitude should be freely given without a quid pro quo expectation around it. It is what teachers have been taught during their training. Somehow, the expectation in return is intrinsic motivation on the part of a student. The same goes when administrators appreciate and recognise teachers. Recognition does not have to always be in form of professional progression. Yes of course it goes without saying that money is one great motivator. But research has shown that money has never been enough on all fronts. In as much as we all desire monitory rewards in one way or the other, it is also imperative that administrators use other forms for showing gratitude towards good work. Chatting with a teacher on his/her marvellous work, listening to their individual strategies that they execute, writing appreciating letters, exercising delegation, announcing publicly their good work and giving day-offs in recognition of their tireless application of themselves are some of the gratitude that administrators can offer. Constant solicitation of these small appreciations can have impacts big enough to transform the culture of an institution and perhaps the school’s performance.
In conclusion, I would like to encourage educational administrators to always find ways to motivate the hardworking teachers. No matter how minute the appreciative gesture might be, let us ensure that we show it to the teachers. ‘It is not the movement of the clock that produces the newness of life, but the movement in your mind’ T.D Jakes. To my fellow teachers, find it in your hearts to always face challenges associated with the classroom work with lots of vigor. ‘The grape has to give up its smooth outer texture so that it can be crushed to become good wine’ T.D Jakes. As we are heading for the implementation of a multiple pathways system, we ought to harmonise the working environment. A teacher shall always remain at the centre of any form of transformation.