When the Teacher’s Reward Goes to Heaven

I resigned from the Ghana Education Service in 2008 at the rank of Principal Superintendent. I have been in the service for a cumulative period of 10 years; having spent the first four of those 10 years in a small village junior high school teaching Science and allied subjects, the next five on ‘study leave’ and the last one on National Service, teaching English Language in a high school in Kumasi (without doubt, my biggest headache yet). That was my last stint with the GES. I left not knowing where exactly I was heading, but I left anyway.

I entered teacher training college when I couldn’t enlist in the BNI then. But it was a decision I have never regretted since. I have thoroughly enjoyed every single year I have put into grooming and shaping the lives of the youngsters who came under my tutelage. They were at the center of my world. My life literally orbited around them. I saw many of them transform into very excellent achievers years down the line. They inspired me. I have no regrets whatsoever.

I left Ghana Education Service, but I have never stopped teaching. I derive my truest satisfaction from it. Teaching is my first love. I will do it again and again if I come back in the next world.

So, someone asked me, one day, years after I have left the Ghana Education Service, why I quitted. My answer was simple; “I love to teach, but I hate to remain poor”.

My answer perhaps, sums up the unspoken thoughts of many teachers today. For the many who may not be daring enough to damn the consequences and quit like I did, frustration has become their daily bread. They have to make do with the measly recompense being thrown at them, while hoping that someday, things will change. But truth be told, nothing is going to change. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever. Not for the teacher in Ghana Education Service. Why? Their reward took flight. It’s gone to heaven.

For as far back as I can recall, there has always been one silly reason why our governments have never been able to make the teacher’s life a little comfortable. The hackneyed line has been that there are too many teachers and so the nation’s budget cannot support any expenditure that makes their poor lives a little more meaningful. Yes, too many teachers. Yet, each time issues of bad performance in examinations come up, we are told there are too few teachers to go round all the learners in our classrooms. It’s a paradox which defies common sense. But here in Ghana, that is the case. I mean, that is the nonsense we hear all the time.

On this side of the globe, political office holders do not believe in the existence of heaven or any rewards therein. So they claim their rewards here. The teacher though, must make it to heaven in order to pick his End of Service Benefit. We have come a long way. But we sure do have a longer way to go.

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