REPORT ON THE LAST DAY OF TEACHERS’ APPRECIATION WEEK ON 27TH MAY 2013 AT IRENE MENAKAYA SCHOOL ONITSHA
The day commenced with the arrival of the staff of Irene Menakaya School Onitsha at the School Director’s office for Monday briefings and prayers for the day’s activities by 7:30am.
At about 9:00am, invited guests were seen arriving in the School Compound. The program started by 11:00am with praises and worship which was summarized by a song from the school staff. There was a round of applause from the invited guests.
The chairman of the occasion, Mr. Emmanuel Kanu gave his opening remark in which he appreciated everyone that came. He appreciated the school staff for their behavior and conduct.
Rev. J.S.N. Chukwukelu gave his teaching on “God’s chosen Kingdom career”. His text was from Deut.6:1-12, Prov.22:6, Matt 28:18-20.
He said that God instructed us to teach, because the creator is a Teacher. He emphasized that teaching profession is a noble profession and Jesus taught all through his time on earth and that any wasted generation is a result of lack of good teachers. Every level of teaching is very important. If you failed yourself you have failed that generation. Teaching career is the God’s chosen kingdom career. Passing information from generation to generation, without that, there will be no learning, no development, no progress, and no civilization. He concluded by giving the participants assignment to find the teachers who taught them, and show appreciation to them. He said a prayer asking God to give the participants the grace to carry out their duties effectively.
Soon after this was the Keynote address delivered by Hon. Mrs. Bridget Obi. She began by commending the school for the progress made in education and development by Dr. (Mrs.) Adaeze Okika and the entire staff. She stressed the importance of character education in school. According to her teaching of virtues should be taught in schools, such virtues are respect, honour, truthfulness. She said that outstanding pupils should be given incentives in order to motivate them and to encourage others to follow their footsteps. She added that sanctions and reward should be put in place. Continuing, she reiterated that Character Education teaches the habits of thought and deed that help people live and work together as families, friends, neighbours, communities and nations.
Character Education is learning process that enables students and adults in a school community to understand, care about and act on core ethical values such as respect, justice, civic virtue and citizenship, and responsibility for self and others. Upon such core values, we form the attitudes and actions that are the hallmark of safe, healthy and informed communities that serve as the foundation of our society.
Character Education has been the shared responsibility of parents, teachers and members of the community, who come together to support positive character development.
The School has a great role to play in character education as students spend much of their young lives in classrooms. This time in school is an opportunity to explain and reinforce the core values upon which character is formed.
In school, character education must be approached comprehensively to include the emotional and moral qualities of a person or group. It must offer multiple opportunities for students to learn about, discuss and enact positive social behaviours. Student leadership and involvement are essential for character education to become apart of a student’s beliefs and actions.
To successfully implement character education, schools must;
• Take a leadership role to bring the staff, parents and students together to identify and define the elements of character they want to emphasize;
• Provide training for staff on how to integrate character education into the life and culture of the school;
• Form a vital partnership with parents and the community so that students hear a consistent message about character traits essential for success in school and life; and
• Provide opportunities for school leaders; teachers, parents and community partners to model exemplary character traits and social behaviours.
Imagine a school that expected its students to become literate without any formal instruction, such an approach would leave children confused and with gaps in their understanding. This however has been the philosophy on character development in many of our schools. Why is the development of character seen as somehow different from the other skills that we teach? Is it because the concept of being good has fallen out of fashion?
In his book, Religion for Atheists, the philosopher Alain De Botton writes: “Announce that you are working on your body, and you will attract envy and respect. Declare that you are working on your character, and you will be thought insane.”
It is important to note that a child’s moral literacy is enhanced when they acquire the building blocks of good character such as consideration, truthfulness, courage and honor; qualities which are commonly known as virtues.
A retired teacher Ms. Onwuzulike Nchekwube who shared her experiences said that teaching is training because as you are teaching, you are learning. Teaching is also giving instructions to educate. She explained ‘experience’ as what you meet or what you undergo either pleasurable or non pleasurable. She said that teachers are born and made. She narrated her experiences of over 30years starting from training in the school and her experiences in the classrooms. Such experiences also add to make a good teacher.
Immediately after this, was a group photograph within the break period. Snack was served. Following, was a workshop by Rev. George M. Ogurie. He was impressed by the confidence he found in the individuals he met in the workshop. His emphasis was on character education which according to him should begin from the home to the school and the community. He went on to compare our national values in the 1960s with what is happening now and everybody concluded that many young people have lost the values that once made us proud and that respect is now out of place. He stated that foundation in character education is the ‘family’ and that our infrastructure collapsed because of collapse in moral behavior, stating that moral behavior is as important as developing the power needed to drive the economy. Noting that all sectors both public and private must be encouraged to invest in character building as much as we need to, he stated the moral goals of character education which are mature character, contribution to society, loving relationship and family. In summary of character education, he stated the dimensions of education which is in a pyramid form with “cultivation of the heart” as the base and first level of character education, in the second level is the “Education in norm” and at the apex is the “ Education for mastery” These three dimensions will build up a healthy moral behavior which was in the 1960’s but when it comes to the 1990’s, the pyramid is turned up side down and made to stand on it’s apex which is definitely a collapse of moral behavior.
His second teaching was on “Teaching Methods”. He stated methods of teaching which includes:-
Group and individual projects
He went ahead to state the 3 partners in education which are home, school and community. He gave the general recommendation for character education which are:- Act as caregiver, role model and mentor. Create a moral community in the classroom. He encouraged the teachers and ended the worship by presenting the membership form to everyone to register with universal peace federation.
Contributions were made by Mr. Kalu who was impressed also the former commissioner for women affairs. Mr. Kalu read the biography of Mrs. Maureen Brown and the gift for the best teacher of the year was presented to Auntie Benedicta Monye by the former commissioner of women affairs. Rev George M. Ogurie stood up and appreciated the attention he was given by the audience and presented the universal peace federation flag to the former commissioner for women affair on behalf of the school and also declared the school as a full member of the organization. A group picture was taken with flag. Gifts were presented to all the invited schools of honour.
Rev. Emeka Onochie, Proprietor of Divine Foundation School expressed his happiness concerning the day’s program and apologized for coming late because his school went for the May 27th Match Pass.
Finally the school executive director gave a vote of thanks.
The chairman made a closing remark and also led in a closing prayer. Thereafter refreshment was served.