1.1 Background of the study
Education being the greatest hope of a nation especially for a developing country like Nigeria cannot just be le in the hands of mediocre or people who have no interest in the teaching profession. Hence, the transmission of knowledge and information from one generation to another require the services of individuals adequately trained and skilled in the teaching profession. Such individuals are teachers. They are assigned the role of transmitting the accumulated knowledge and values from one generation to the next (Akin, 2009).
Teaching is the classroom interaction, during which there is purposeful interaction between the teacher, the learner, the subject matter and the materials (Okon, 2006). Teaching is causing people to learn. One can hardly regard something as having been taught if it has not been learnt. Teaching is not merely giving information, but offering the child/learner a systematic guide to learn how to learn. The author further described teaching as involving “the consideration of the nature of the child, the goals to be attained, and finally the methods and materials required to attain those goals” p. 183. Teaching involves developing a policy and putting that policy into practice. In the past, many people thought that just any one who could hold a piece of chalk and stand in front of learners was a teacher. For an individual to be regarded as an effective teacher, he needs to possess certain characteristics that befit this noble profession.
It is the possession of these qualities that endears him to his students and the society. Failure to possess and display these qualities makes people cast doubt on the genuineness of his training and interest in the teaching profession (Stake, 2010). An effective teacher is required to have a higher level of professionalism because of rapidly changing circumstances. Hayon (2009) emphasized that teachers who possess professional and interpersonal skills are more effective in their classrooms in terms of students’ behavior, attitude and achievement. The teaching profession requires certain dominant behaviors which show teacher’s intellect, desire to excel, extended professionalism and teaching as a life concern. Teaching is a profession which exalts service above personal gains (Goodlings, Buram& Portland, 2005). It involves human nurturance, connectedness, warmth and love and the teacher’s beliefs about his role in caring for the students, plays a crucial part in developing the personality of the students (Kelchtermans& Ballet, 2005). Stake (2010) further opined that male teachers who show interest in teaching profession establish a cordial relationship with their students thus encouraging them to learn and perform well in their academic pursuits, while other teachers who show no interest in teaching profession, but see it as a stepping stone to something higher, do not establish cordial relationship with their students thus hindering their academic pursuits.
This set of teachers feel that teaching is a feminine profession. Therefore, according to Stake (2010) females are more tolerant and accommodative. The issue of gender generally describes roles played by male and female teachers and the relative power they wield within the teaching profession. Their perception can often be associated with their attitude towards teaching. In AkwaI bom State, the teaching profession has an encouraging history. Teaching is one profession which government, parents and even the entire society expect so much from, because of the needed skills necessary for the labor force. Teaching is one of the oldest of human activities or professions because in those days, parents, elders in the community, religious leaders and other adults took it upon themselves to teach the young ones how to speak, act and, or, perform any other activity that might be required of them.
Hence the teacher was seen as an important personality in the society. As important and sensitive as teaching is in the society, there have been divergent views held by people in the society about teaching. These divergent views however have influenced the perception that people have about teaching in the society. For instance, teaching has been seen as an attempt to bring about effective and desirable change in learners and the education system through the use of various strategies (Adeyemi 2001, Dada 1999). This implies that teaching is not restricted to just a single activity but a variety of activities some of which are quite distinct from one another. Thus teaching is seen as a body of actions that is intended to bring about learning through conscious and deliberate eorts by a matured or experienced person (Akinpelu, 1981). This was why in the 1950s through the early 1980s teachers and the teaching profession were accorded high status in the society because they performed their roles in promoting national development with high sense of eiciency and responsibility. This high sense of commitment has been attributed to three major factors namely; their good social status, economic status and conducive working environment (Achimugu, 2005).
1.2 statement of the problem
events over the years have shown that the status and perception of teachers by the society and the teaching profession in Nigeria and many other countries of the world have nosedived (Hall and Langton, 2006; Hargreaves et al, 2007; Hoyle 2001). This low status and perception of teachers and the teaching profession could be attributed to the fact that the social origins of teachers and the environment of teaching and learning are seriously impoverished (Kottler and Stanley, 2000). That the various segments of the society have different perceptions of teachers and the teaching profession is not in doubt. It is in view of this that the researcher intends to investigate the perception of teachers on their profession and it influence on academic achievement of secondary school students in Etche LGA. 1
.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The main objective of the study is to ascertain teachers perception of their profession and its influence on academic achievement of secondary school students in Etche LGA. But for the successful completion of the study, the researcher intends to achieve the following sub-objective; i) To investigate the impact of teachers perception of their profession on students’ academic performance ii) To examine the role of teachers in the academic development of the students iii) To investigate the relationship between teachers perception of teaching profession and student academic performance iv) To proffer suggested solution to addressed the stated problem.