Millions of teachers are celebrating World Teachers’ Day today and leadership and education non-profit, Symphonia for South Africa (SSA), joins them in celebration of this. SSA takes this opportunity to draw attention to the integral role teachers play in providing a quality education to children, and reflects on what more needs to be done to adequately invest in and assist teachers in this monumental task.
“Teachers are our nation builders. They are uniquely positioned to contribute to stronger and better functioning societies that produce well-educated citizens and a well-trained workforce, and yet far too many teachers are still undervalued and disempowered,” says Dorcas Dube, Marketing and Communications Manager for SSA.
She adds that their role is significant, especially because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the challenges they had and still have to face regarding teaching learners at home and in unusual circumstances.
“We have seen teachers make personal sacrifices to ensure that teaching and learning continue, with many going above and beyond the call of duty to ensure learners and their families were fed while schools were shut. In light of this, we call on all active citizens, communities, business, government and civil society to ramp up their support for education, the teaching profession and organisations dedicated to uplifting teachers,’’ Dube adds.
SSA believes that empowering and upskilling principals is key to addressing the challenges faced by teachers. Many principals who have participated on the PfP programme report that their teachers feel a greater sense of ownership and empowerment over important school matters because teachers become proactively involved in decision making. ‘’School principals hold a powerful leadership role in helping to create conditions for effective teaching and learning,’’ says Dube.
‘’Most teachers have sought out the profession because they wanted to make a difference. A teacher’s job satisfaction comes from seeing a child learn and grow. Strong principals make such a big impact on schools because they support teachers and allow them to perform in the classroom,’’ Dube mentions.
For the last nine years, SSA has also hosted regular School Leadership Forums, which offer practical knowledge and skills with the aim of the improving leadership in education. The forum is unique in that it touches more than just the principal – teachers, the school management team and school governing body are all invited and engaged on various topics pertaining to school life.
With the spotlight firmly on the plight of teachers and the myriad of challenges they face, SSA hopes that many more South Africans will mobilise around the issues affecting teachers, and the overarching goal of inclusive, quality education for all.