FACTORS INFLUENCING TEACHERS' EFFECTIVENESS IN PUBLIC SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN NIGERIA
Teachers' role in any educational system cannot be over-emphasized. Teachers are the executors and implementers of the educational policies and curriculum.
Hence whether there are loopholes in the educational processes and outcome, teachers tend to receive more blame for these shortcomings than any other agent connected with educational activities.
Adesina (1987) recognized teachers as the heart of Nigeria's educational system at all levels. The teachers continue to be the major determinants of quality of education, be it at primary, secondary or tertiary level. The revised National Policy on Education (1998) confirms that, "No educational system can rise above the quality of its teachers"
Similarly, the National Curriculum Association conference held in 1969 described the teacher as the "Keyman in the entire educational programme". The implication of the foregoing for educational policy makers in particular and the society at large is that, adequate attention should be paid to teachers' welfare in all its ramifications. This should be the case as point out by Edem (1987):
The curriculum however well developed and however properly interpreted, will come for short of our hopes unless it is applied by teachers who are themselves the product of its philosophy.
In a situation where teachers are left to their fate to face the rigours of academic and in some cases administration work, there is the high tendency that they would decline both in efficiency and effectiveness. Worst still, inspite of these rigours they are being poorly motivated in terms of salary remunerations. According to Borton (1981) "Education is not just for personal survival or to increase one's income or power over others, but it is for enriching one's life for personal growth beyond survival and income". While agreeing with his view, the question is will it also be justifiable for teachers to use their meager income for the provision of school facilities, materials and equipment needed for effective school work to progress? If the answer to this question is positive, according to Byme (1981) there is a danger that the teacher will lose his initial keenness in teaching for something better.
Moreover, the nature of teachers earns them the regards as experts who know more than their students. This may involve answering questions, correcting or validating the students' work or what they have said. For the teacher to remain as an expert, there must be a continuous in-service training programme for him and the urge to expand his breadth of understanding.
In a situation where there is little or no in-service training programmes and other opportunities for the teachers to widen their knowledge, it is obvious that they will become incompetent. This is further buttressed by Wilbert (1978) when he said that the teacher's ability to remain well informed on new developments in his ability to make creative and critical judgments concerning the main trends in his field bear directly upon his competence as an expert. In other words, if teachers are behind time and obsolete in their disciplines, their effectiveness becomes questionable.
Teachers' performance can be said to be the ability of the teacher to effectively and efficiently carry out the following duties:
High teacher-student ratio, inadequate facilities, equipment and materials could affect teachers' effectiveness, and also could reduce the performance level expected of an average learner. Thus, the students will directly feel the inconveniences experienced by the teachers. In a situation of unconducive school climate, teachers may find it difficult to function effectively. The school climate entails the sum total of the values and attitudes held by those in the school. These include the interpersonal relationships existing between the principal and teachers, between the teachers - students and other people within the environment as well as everything the school reflects.
According to Ajetunmobi (2001) "there is a direct relationship between the environment and the intellectual development of the child inspite of the hereditary germ plasma".
For instance, in a situation where there is a good school environment physical and materially, a child will perform well. On the other hand, a school whose tone is poor and prevent experiential learning by the child, whose physical plants are inadequate and some times very old and not in good condition, whose leadership is uninspiring, whose curriculum is too unwieldy, too narrow or shallow to provide efficiency of use and where pedagogical considerations are non-existent may produce a child with low academic achievement.