The Road to Success is Always Under Construction

May 27 , 2023
By Eden Sahle

A while back, I was asked to cover as a substitute teacher for a friend at her primary school teaching job while she travelled to the United States. The private school around the Bole area had tested my ability with an exam before agreeing to it.

The month-long endeavour had its own thrill. But the school had a teaching guide, which made up for my lack of teaching experience. I enjoyed it to the fullest but the best part was being welcomed by the warm-hearted children.

The primary school students were fun to be around, during class sessions, playgrounds and lunchtimes. I was impressed with how they were treated in a kind, nurturing manner with teachers and caretakers speaking encouraging words and comforting them when they cried.

They are taught to care for their classmates and consider them brothers and sisters by having someone listen to their ideas and complaints.

I have observed the students being counselled for family troubles they have at home. The school has taken time to speak to their parents and make the home hospitable to the children while regular training times are held to train teachers and caregivers on treating and supporting each child.

Teachers are taught how to enhance the children's academic performance and social interaction. Teachers are encouraged to take each student's academic and behavioural performance personally as their failure was taken as a problem of their teachers.

Indeed, the high school fees make it possible to facilitate such a nice ambience where values, ethics, and passion to give students a better future are taken seriously. But that is not always the case. I have come to witness children being verbally and physically abused by their teachers despite being enrolled in one of the highly paid-schools.

Private schools are contemplating raising their school fee for next year. They are having trouble reaching to agreement with parents on the rate of increase that led to many parents considering enrolling their children in an affordable institution rather than worrying about quality.

I believe all schools should work on upholding a facility that caters to the needs of students. Abusive and hostile behaviours reported at schools where the follow-up system is rather loose are frustrating.

I met a 10-year-old girl in a hospital with broken fingers. She learns in one of the public schools and the injury was caused by her mathematics teacher who claimed that she had been talking and laughing while class was in session.

She was excited to miss school as it saves her from the mental torment she went through with the teachers usually resorting to reminding students that they come from economically lower backgrounds or have no hope of excelling academically.

On the other hand, her parents did not challenge the teacher or the school about the incident, fearing her grades might be affected. They opt to keep the cause of the accident unspecified while she missed school for over a week.

Teachers referring to children with the low pay job their parents do is a clear indication that they are not well trained on how to handle children and help them navigate through the academic world.

Words that are said to children have an impact. This includes how they are treated at home and school. Negative words, lack of compassion, and physical and verbal harm can hurt children. The internalised words of frustration and anger will haunt them even as adults.

Teachers are expected to model positive and nurturing behaviours, not damage students. They hold the key to students for academic success and emotional stability by being supportive, as seen at the school I taught for a month. It is significant for students to attain academic success.

Instructors should be aware of their students' observing and listening to them, whether teaching, encouraging, disciplining, or responding negatively. Words can motivate, encourage, support, and boost others or can be used to humiliate, ridicule, discourage, and taunt them.

Teachers should not underestimate their power in shaping future generations. Their work impacts academic, emotional and mental development. They should be trained to have emotional intelligence when students challenge them.

PUBLISHED ON May 27,2023 [ VOL 24 , NO 1204]

Eden Sahle is founder and CEO of Yada Technology Plc. She has studied law with a focus on international economic law. She can be reached at

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