A TEACHER TELLS HER STORY
My name is Kathrine Ampiah and I'm a child educationist. My friends call me Kat and to my neighbor, I'm Miss Ampiah the teacher. I wake up every day with the prime motive of positively affecting the life of the children I teach. To many this may not seem as much or even an exciting enough life but to me it means the world.
Over the years, I have come to know how a teacher can make a huge difference in the world through the eyes of a child and so I don't mind the dismissal of primary teachers by most people. A good teacher can make or break her students and appreciation of this fact makes me realise how much difference a good teacher can make in the life of each individual hence the world at large.
Before I was enlightened, I used to be an active participator of looking down my nose at primary teachers. And even after I became one, I still didn’t think much about the profession. However, I wasn't tolerant of the same attitude in others. Now, I’m a very passionate grade teacher and on those rare occasions when I get frustrated about the dismissal of primary teachers by other ‘high-class’ professionals, it helps to remind myself that contrary to most adults, children don’t think their teachers are insignificant or unimportant.
I started out like many other graduates looking for a job after my one year mandatory national service. The economy was no better than it is now and unemployment wasn't something strange anymore. One needed to explore his/ her options: You could either hold on to a job for the income till a better offer came along or take the risk of devoting your full time seeking your dream job.
It is with the former mindset that I sent in an application letter to a Junior High School. A few days later I was called for an interview, then a trial demonstration. Honestly, the demonstration discouraged me from even taking the job. I had to teach Class two children about three short paragraphs on the environment for an hour under observation.
Before the lesson, I could feel the charge of excitement emanating from the children, meanwhile I was squirming looking for the right “small words” whiles reading through the materials I was to teach them. About ten minutes into the lesson, I could tell the excitement of having a new teacher had worn off.
They weren’t falling over themselves to make a good impression by making contributions to the lesson. I couldn't think of any simpler way to explain what was already written in the handbook. I managed for 45mins, giving as many examples as I could and allowing the children to do same as often as possible. By the end of the lesson I had decided this was not the job for me.
Of course I had named so many virtues I didn't possess to enable me along the way, chief of those was patience.
rade two was just not my thing; the children asked questions that sounded silly to me; I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep repeating the same things or answering the same questions over and over again and quite frankly I didn’t see myself becoming a mere grade two teacher!
I was sure my observers had noticed my difficulty and there was no way they were calling me back but I couldn't have been more wrong. Exactly 28 days later, I was called to come pick up an appointment letter. Contrary to my earlier decision, I accepted the offer.
In over a month since the demonstration date, I had not been called up for any interview and well, I needed the money. Besides, considering the fact that I could always resign to take a 'better offer' I thought accepting was the best move. So I started the job with average enthusiasm, prepping myself with a talk in the mirror.
I taught the children the best way I could; did all that was required of me per my job description, discounting my constant frustrations and exasperation. All along I was waiting for that one call that will change my life forever.
That call came, just not in the way I had expected