Sometime last week, my daughter kept saying that last Friday was going to be Christmas day and I kept arguing with her that No, Christmas is still a few weeks away.

However, she kept ‘insisting’ based on the fact that her teacher had told her so.

I then asked her who she was going to believe – Mommy or Teacher?

Her reply? My teacher.

Now, her confusion, I believe, was based on the fact that last Friday was the day her class got decorated with Christmas decorations. Hence, her confusion that Friday was going to be Christmas.

I also remember the story of another child I know. Her teacher’s pronunciation of some English words were not quite right because she had a strong indigenous accent. However, whenever mommy tried correcting her child’s English, the reply was always – ‘…But that was not what my teacher said’.

Where am I going with this? Like it or not, teachers have a huge influence on our children. In fact, some teachers are known to spend more hours with some children than their working parents do. Hence, their influence cannot and should not be underestimated. It is therefore important that our children are left in the custody of the right kind of teachers. Yes, there are teachers and there are teachers.

Growing up, I remember the caliber of teachers we had. They were teachers who had volumes to offer, both academically and value-wise. They taught us, they trained us, they disciplined us…and we respected and grew to love them for all that they did for us.

Now, I am not saying we don’t have such awesome teachers again. We definitely do. However, like most things in life, we have a mix of the good and the bad and it should be our priority to ensure that our children get only the best. That is, ensure that the school hires the right teachers with the right qualifications and the right passion.

Besides hiring right, the school should also keep training and keep motivating the teachers. Yes, just as are our employers motivate us with raises, bonuses, annual leave, etc., the teachers deserve the same. Just as we demand respect and fairness in our work places, the teachers should receive no less at their own work place. Just as our offices consistently train us to improve the quality of our work output, the teachers too should undergo such trainings.

So, yes, what I am trying to say is that in as much as the teachers have their roles to play, we, the schools and the parents, also have roles to play. As a parent, are you treating your child’s teacher with respect? Are you taking your decision making role seriously by exercising your rights through the PTA and other platforms?

For example, have you noticed that the school is hiring underqualified teachers or doing very little to train their qualified teachers on a regular basis or perhaps being financially unfair to them? When such notices came to your attention, did you and the other parents come together to make sure that the school addressed such issues? Or were you too busy or simply unbothered by the situation?

The truth is that I believe that a lot more can be done for today’s teachers. This is not only because they deserve the ‘more’, but also because very few people have the capacity to keep performing when demotivated. So, considering the very delicate role of teachers, demotivation should not be an option at all, if not, many children will suffer under the guidance of ill performing teachers.