In this month’s educator spotlight, Ghana ASCD went on a journey to interview Victoria Tettey, the Assistant Headmistress and Teacher at Madina Estate Cluster of Schools. The interview covered a range of topics, providing insights into her experiences, teaching philosophy, and the challenges faced in the public school system.
What Inspired You to Become a Teacher in a Public School?
Mme Tettey expressed that she was not initially driven by a specific inspiration to become a teacher. The decision to pursue teaching college was somewhat impromptu, driven by a desire to explore this path along with her friends.
Highlights of Teaching Career:
Mme Tettey shared two memorable moments that stood out in her teaching career. The first was during her early years, around 2000, when she was posted to a school in the Eastern Region. As a newly trained teacher, she was assigned to a Kindergarten class, despite her initial preference for a primary school. Despite her initial hesitation, she found joy in teaching those young children and forming special connection with them.
The second memorable moment occurred in 2018, when some of her former students, now grown up, approached her. These students, originally faced with challenges and uncertainties, had successfully pursued technical and vocational paths, showcasing the impact of her guidance on their career choices.
Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment:
Mme Tettey, with her background in psychology, emphasised her commitment to understanding the minds of her students. She highlighted her efforts in inclusive education, incorporating various teaching methods and adapting to diverse learning needs. She also shared instances of collaborating with international schools to gather ideas and resources for effective inclusive teaching.
“Anytime I give them homework, I make sure that they do presentations so that they have that confidence in themselves,” says the seasoned educator.
When it comes to gaining confidence Mme Tettey says, “It starts with them public speaking… when you can stand in front of your own colleagues to tell them what you have done. When I did that at the beginning, I saw some of the students had challenges in public speaking but with time, they have now understood it and it is working for them.”
Challenges Faced as a Public School Teacher:
Resource constraints emerged as a significant challenge, with comparisons drawn to colleagues in international schools who benefit from more extensive resources. Mme Tettey highlighted the lack of adequate facilities, materials, and financial support. Despite these challenges, she demonstrated resilience by using personal funds to provide necessary resources for her students.
Innovative Teaching Methods and Technologies:
Mme Tettey implemented a projector in her classroom to enhance teaching in addition to encouraging students to do presentations to build confidence. This initiative aimed to introduce students to digital tools and public speaking, fostering essential skills for their future endeavours.
Fostering Community and Collaboration:
Mme Tettey emphasised the importance of group work in her teaching approach, facilitating communication and collaboration among students. She encouraged inclusivity by giving every student an opportunity to speak during group presentations, fostering tolerance and teamwork.
Addressing Diverse Learning Needs:
Mme Tettey advocates for diagnostic assessments to understand each student’s learning needs. She stressed the importance of tailoring instruction based on the results of these assessments, emphasising a personalised approach to cater to the diverse learning styles of her students.
Advice to Parents for Supporting Child’s Education:
Mme Tettey expressed the need for increased parental involvement and understanding. She acknowledged challenges in getting parents to actively engage in their child’s education but emphasised the importance of regular communication between teachers and parents. She highlighted the significance of parents being aware of their child’s learning needs and actively participating in their education journey.
Staying Motivated and Professional Development:
Mme Tettey shared that her intrinsic motivation and love for teaching kept her engaged. Despite challenges in areas like salary and resources, her passion for making a positive impact on students’ lives serves as her driving force. She continues to pursue professional development, having undertaken a master’s in psychology to enhance her understanding of students’ psychological aspects.
The interview with Madame Victoria Tettey provided valuable insights into the life and experiences of a dedicated public school teacher. From her humble beginnings to impactful teaching moments, Mme Tettey exemplifies resilience and passion in the face of challenges. Her commitment to inclusive education, innovative teaching methods, and fostering a sense of community reflect a deep understanding of the multifaceted role of an educator in today’s diverse and dynamic educational landscape.