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The study examined the influence of teachers’ public image on teachers’ performance in public secondary schools in Odi-Olowo Local Government Area of Lagos State. In this study, relevant and extensive literatures were reviewed under sub-headings. The descriptive research survey was used in the assessment of the opinions of the selected respondents with the adoption of the questionnaire and the sampling technique. A total of 100 (One Hundred) respondents were selected and used as samples for this study, the respondents were made up of (50 males and 50 females). A total of four research questions and four null hypotheses were generated and used in this study using the simple percentage count to analyze the research questions and the Pearson Moment Correlation Coefficient and the t-test statistical tools were used to test the null hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. At the end of the data analyses, the following results emerged: there is a significant influences of negative public image on teachers' motivation to teach in the public secondary schools in Lagos State; there is a significant influence of positive image on teachers' motivation to teach in the public secondary schools in Lagos State. There is a significant relationship between public image of teachers and their general performance in secondary schools in Lagos State; there is a significant gender difference in the teaching impact among teachers due to public image. Based on the findings of this study, the following recommendations were made: It is recommended that teachers should be regarded well in the Nigerian teaching profession and that for teachers to be influential in the teaching and learning processes. It is also recommended that teachers should not have negative dispositions towards their work in the secondary schools in Lagos State. Teachers in Nigeria are generally regarded as “second- class” professionals, and this has caused poor performance among teachers in Nigerian secondary schools, especially in Lagos State. For this reason, it is recommended that teachers should have positive dispositions and positive image so that they would be able to carry out their works influentially and to assist students performances in their academic activities in schools.
1.1 Background to the Study
In Nigeria, in general terms, the image of the classroom teacher at all levels of the Nigerian educational system is nothing to write home about. This means that the average Nigerian teacher is seen as a “Mr or Mrs-nobody”. In terms of recognition, the teacher is the last on the list. This is because, an average Nigerian sees the teacher as a poor personality due to the fact that the teacher's condition of serve is always on the low point. According to Ejiogu (1998), the teacher is poorly and negligibly rewarded for the tedious job he/she does to see that the Nigerian child is educated. Ejiogu (1998), went ahead to opine that the normal statement in Nigeria today is that "the teacher's reward is in heaven". This by extension means that the teacher is negatively rewarded for the enormous work he/she carries out in the school system in the country. According to Egiogu (1998), unless this negative perception is changed, the Nigerian education system will continue to degenerate and dwindle through the evidence that is shown in the poor academic performance of the Nigerian student in the public examinations such as the JAMB, the WAEC/GCE/NECO etc.
The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary (new edition) defined image as the "impression a person, an organization or a product gives to the public". It is also defined as a "mental picture or perception that you have of what somebody or something is worth of or look like". In consideration of the above definition of what an image is, it behaves to say that a particular image is carved for the Nigerian teacher, and that image is a negative one. Take for instance, a situation where the teacher is not recognized as a professional among other professionals due to non-recognition of the Nigeria Union of Teachers as a professional body. No wonder the teacher in Nigeria is not paid attention to like every other professional body in Nigeria such as the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), the Nigeria Union of Journalism (NUJ) etc. According to Uzoma (2005), the negligence given to the Nigeria Union of Teachers and indeed, teachers in general, calls for concern if our educational system is to work well for our children and our children’s' children this unfortunate trend must stop forth with.
In view of the blatant and brazen negligence meted out to our teachers and the umbrella body of teachers, the NUT students' academic achievement is greatly affected negatively by different factors which concern the poor and negative public image of the teacher in the country. For instance, for the fact that the teacher is not well taken care of in terms of the low salary, poor fringe benefits and lack of recognition by the employers, the Federal and State governments. Ejiogu (1999) stated that, for our educational system to be fluent and efficiently run, the Nigerian teacher must be recognized and treated as other professionals in the country. According to Egiogu, if teachers in Nigeria are well treated and recognized like others, the teacher-negative-orientation syndrome and poor self-esteem among teachers will be eradicated, and there will be improvement in the academic performance of the Nigerian students. Nkemjika and Adeleke (2000), stated that teachers need to be motivated for them to carry out their work fluently. According to them, when a worker is motivated, the worker is given a boost to do more work because he/she feels recognized and rewarded. Therefore, Nkemjika and Adeleke (2003) are of the opinion that the careless treatment of teachers is the main cause of fallen standards of education in Nigeria.
As Ayobanji (2007) puts it, generally, every human being needs to be recognized and rewarded for fluency. But in the case of the Nigerian teacher, despite that he/she does a great job of training and educating the entire nation, and without him, every individual will wallow in ignorance as a result of illiteracy, the government and the society rarely accord him the respect he/she deserves. Rather than improving the teacher's condition of service and making the teacher to work well for the benefit of all, the teacher's condition is worsen as the years go by. The teacher is poorly paid, negatively perceived, not given attention like others in the society. For this reason, the teacher pays back the government and the society through shabby treatment of the student and shallow carriage of his/her work. The resultant influence of this is the flight of excellence in the school system and the exit of high academic achievement among students in Nigeria in the recent time.
The above statements therefore, means that a teacher will feel unwanted and unloved by the public if the public sees and treats him or her without respect and honour. This will not make the teacher to give out more of his/her best. Equally, a teacher that is usually looked down upon by the same people or government he/she is serving, will not be able to give out his/her best no matter how good or Godly he/she may be. Such a teacher(s) will feel unwanted and unrecognized, the influence will be on his/her general productivity in the school system in the country. It is important to mention here that teacher's public image had been a matter of debate over time in Nigeria. While some see him (the teacher) as a valuable service provider, others perceive him as a lazy folk with little or no innovation and creativity to stand the test of time. But people forget to know that when a teacher makes a mistake, the whole nation perishes (Adewale, 1990).
Generally, in developing countries of which Nigeria is one, the public perception of teachers has not been too encouraging when compared to the developed nations. According to the recent Philadelphia and Kappa/Gallup Annual Poll (1993), "Three of every four Americans say they have trust and confidence in the men and women who teach children in the public schools". This is in contrast to what is obtainable in Nigeria. Teachers are only accorded regard by the public or society during the 1950s up to 1980s. During this periods, the high sense of commitment has been attributed to three major facts which include; the teachers' good social status, economic status, conducive work environment etc (Achimugo, 2005). This shows that teachers at that time were greatly honoured, dignified and highly respected by parents in particular and society at large. No wonder that period witnessed the golden period of Nigerian educational system. This is in sharp contrast to what is obtainable in present day society. A society where teachers are seen or perceived as being helped as against them helping the society by moulding the students or pupils placed in their care. In present day society, it is almost becoming a taboo to be called a "teacher".
According to Hall and Langton (1990) in Lawal (2012), posited that 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, especially in Africa have nose-dived. This low status and perception of teachers and the teaching profession could be attributed to the fact that the social origins of teachers and environment of teaching and learning are seriously improvised. (Kottler and Stanley 2000). This therefore means that various segments of the society have different perception of teachers. In a survey conducted among media houses, teachers, parents and teaching assistants in England [Hargreaves et al (2006)] found that while the majority of the governed public surveyed considered the teaching profession to be quiet an attractive career due to largely to an attractive salary package, the media's perception of teaching is more of a profession deserving some sympathy. Even among the general public that viewed teaching as an attractive career, a good number of them (32%) still regarded teaching as unattractive. One wonders what a typical Nigerian perception of teachers will be like. But for the presence of private schools, educational infrastructure is nothing to write home about.
Public schools infrastructure is dilapidated. Some states have aggressively tackled this problem. Due to the neglect in infrastructure, the personnel needed to carry out this function have also been neglected. This is the major reason why most parents in Nigeria regard teaching as an unattractive profession such that they (parents) will do everything to discourage their ward from becoming one. Even students regard teaching as a low level career that can be categorized under the blue collar job. The most painful is that students in colleges of education who are more or less being prepared for teaching as a profession in our various school level swiftly refute the slogan "Teacher". Then one is tempted to ask "why take the offer of admission in a college of education".
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The negative image portrayed by the public against the teaching profession and the Teachers in general, cannot be overemphasized. This is because, the teacher is not recognized, neither is he regarded as a great builder of the child educationally. In Nigeria, in general terms, the image of the classroom teacher at all levels of the Nigerian educational system is nothing to write home about. This means that the average Nigerian teacher is seen as a Mr or Mrs-nobody.
An average Nigerian sees the teacher as a poor personality due to the fact that the teacher's condition of serve is always on the low point. According to Ejiogu (1998), the teacher is poorly and negligibly rewarded for the tedious job he/she does to see that the Nigerian child is educated. Ejiogu went ahead to opine that the normal refrain in Nigeria today is that "the teacher's reward is in heaven". This by extension, means that the teacher is negatively rewarded for the enormous work he/she carries out in the school system in the country. According to Egiogu (1999), unless this negative perception is changed, the Nigerian education system will continue to degenerate and dwindle through the evidence that is shown in the poor academic performance of the Nigerian student (the product the teacher) in the public examinations such as the JAMB, the WAEC/GCE/NECO etc.
The above identified problems gave rise to the examination of the public image of teachers in Lagos State in particular and Nigeria in general.
1.3 Objectives of study
1. To find out the perception of teachers in Odi-Olowo of their public image.
2. To find out the perception of teachers in Odi-Olowo agree that their public image has impact on the academic achievement of their student.
3. To find out the causes of the teachers public image in Odi-Olowo
4. To determine the strategies for improving teachers’ public image.
1.4 Research question
1. What are the perception of teachers in Odi-Olowo about their public image?
2. What is the impact of teachers’ public image on their performances in the classroom?
3. What are the causes of the teachers public image in Odi-Olowo?
4. What are the strategies for improving teachers’ public image?
1.5 Significance of the Study
In carrying out this research, the major beneficiaries of this research work are :
Teachers: This study will be beneficial to the teachers who will know through the findings and recommendations of this study, appreciate the fact that public image affects their general performance in the school system in Lagos State.
Students: Students no doubt, will benefit from this study because it will enable them to know how the performance of their teachers affects their overall achievement in the school.
Government: This research work will enable the government to know whether there is a relationship between public image and academic achievement of the students. This will make them starts addressing such problems instead of concentrating their efforts on things such as; in-service training, manpower development etc. It will also assist the government to quickly address those issues that negatively put teachers in bad light.
Parents: The immediate beneficiary of improved academic achievements is the parents of the pupils or students. This study will enable the parent to either improve on their relationship with teachers or change any negative imagination they have about the teachers because motivated teachers translate to a motivated student(s).
Society: The society will be in the know about the role of public image on the performance of secondary school teachers in Lagos State.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This research work examined the influence of public image on teachers' motivation to teach in the public secondary schools in Odi-Olowo Local Government Area of Lagos State, Nigeria.
1.7 Definition of Terms
The following definitions have been provided for better understanding of the terms frequently used in this research project.
Academic Achievement: This is a term used in describing the educational outcome for which a child has passed through. It is usually measured by the grades obtained by the students in continuous assignment test, internal and external examinations.
Teacher: This is a person whose job is undertaking the act of teaching especially in a formal setting called a school. This is also a person who impacts knowledge, skills to one another person or group of people.
Public: This refers to people for which educational outcome affects. It refers to student, parents and even the government.
Public Image: This refers to the mental picture students have about the teachers. It also refers to the perception of teachers and the teaching profession.
Developing Countries: This refers to countries without a high technological penetration. It also refers to countries for which a greater percentage of the people or citizens live below the united nation organization's poverty line which is $2 per day.
Impoverished: This refers to a state of being perpetually poor or tending towards poverty.
Educational Infrastructure: This refers to facilities that aid learning. It is the availability of materials facilities that aid or facilitate learning.
Attractive: This means rewarding. It also means yielding positive result.
Personnel: This refers to the manpower needed to carry on the learning process. It mostly comprises of teachers, administrators, and school owners.
Public school: This refers to educational institution that is owned, controlled and managed by the government.
Private School: This refers to educational institution that is owned, controlled and managed by private individuals.
Concept of Self: This refers to student's perception or feelings about themselves. It can synonymously be referred to as the complexity of students.
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