CoEWJ: Good morning, welcome to the Colleges of Education Weekly Journal. Briefly tell us about yourself.
MS SABINA: My name is Sabina Koba Dosu. I am 34 years old and a teacher at St. Dominic Basic School, Akwatia in the Eastern Region of Ghana.
CoEWJ: Tell us about your childhood and educational journey to the secondary school.
MS SABINA: I was born and bred at Tepa, a town in the Ashanti Region. I am the first of the four children of my parents, Mr. Samuel Dosu and Mrs. Diana Dosu.
My parents were petty traders and this to some extent affected us. I recall there were times I had to leave for school without anything and when my mother got some money, she will then follow me to the school to give me the money. We sold all sorts of items from tomatoes, pepper, plantain to help our mother. Somehow, life was a little challenging, especially at the time my father had to travel to work but we pulled through.
I basically had my entire basic and secondary school in Tepa. I started at the Tepa Methodist Primary and continued to the Tepa L/A Junior Secondary School (now Junior High School – JHS). I passed my BECE and proceeded to Tepa Secondary School. I read science at the Secondary School and by the grace of God, I completed in 2002 and passed successfully. I then moved to join my family who had then moved to Akwatia.
CoEWJ: What was your dream career as a child?
MS SABINA: I always wanted to become a medical doctor, hence my decision to offer science at the Secondary School. I was ready to settle for anything in the health sector though.
CoEWJ: How did you find yourself in the teaching field today?
MS SABINA: I was at home for two years after completing Senior Secondary School due to financial constraints. During this time, I worked as a preschool teacher in a private school and later as a ward assistant at a hospital to gather funds to help me further my education. Gaining admission to the Teacher Training College was miracle because by the time I was ready to purchase the form and apply, admission had been closed. I, therefore, had to go through the access course, where I wrote the exams at Akropong. I passed and was sent to SDA College of Education. The assistance of the District Chief Executive of Kwaebibirem District, Hon. Yaw Yiadom Boakye through the help of Catechist Tetevi of Akwatia Presbyterian Church helped get me through College. This is where I am today.
CoEWJ: Why decide to go to the Teacher Training College when all you ever wanted to do was become a health practitioner?
MS SABINA: Initially, the idea was to go and do medicine straight forward. But upon second thought, and looking at the grade I had, I decided to use the nursing training as stepping stone. During my days as a ward assistant, I was first sent to the female ward then later to the children’s ward. It was there that I realized that I was not meant for this filed. I went there just because I knew the hospital could sponsor me to the Nursing Training College, unfortunately we were told by the Matron that we could only be sponsored to go and do Community Health Nursing but not the Bursing Training College as anticipated. I immediately tendered my resignation letter in because that was not what I was expecting. Along the line, I was helping someone in science to rewrite the NOVDEC exams. The lady passed her exams and I said to myself this could be due to the kind of things I did to help her study. I felt there was something peculiar when it comes to teaching and decided to go to College. I even got admission to Komfo Anokye to do the nursing but I did not go.
CoEWJ: Among all the Colleges in the country, why did you choose SDA College of Education?
MS SABINA: I believe God sent me there because when I wrote the access course I did not select SDA but that was where I was given.
CoEWJ: Do you have any regrets for going there?
MS SABINA: No, none at all. If I have the chance to go to College again, I will choose SDA College without hesitation.
CoEWJ: How was the experience in College?
MS SABINA: I went through to the normal struggles of life in College, a nice experience I would say. I also became the Students Representative Council Vice President/Senior Women’s College Prefect. I was also the Chairperson of the Disciplinary Committee at the student level. I was awarded the Most Hardworking Student Leader for my year group.
CoEWJ: Any fond memory of any tutor that did their best to help you?
MS SABINA: Yes, I would like to mention a few of them, Pastor Kwame Agyei (Vice Principal in Charge of Academics), Mr. Ghartey (Senior Hall Master) and Madam Adumea Darko. These few to me, were very exceptional.
CoEWJ: Where did you do your teaching practice?
MS SABINA: At Asokore Demonstration Basic School, SDA.
CoEWJ: Which year did you complete College and where was your first station?
MS SABINA: I completed in 2007 and was posted to Akwatia RC Basic School. The experience was not all rosy but we pulled through. I taught there for 7 years until I was moved to St. Dominic Basic School also in Akwatia. While there, I was nominated by GES to go for a training programme in Japan on Science and Mathematics last year. Currently I teach Integrated Science and ICT at the JHS.
CoEWJ: What is your highest academic qualification after the Diploma in Basic Education.
MS SABINA: I have a Degree in Basic Science from the University of Cape Coast.
CoEWJ: You were recently adjudged the Most Outstanding Teacher for the year 2019. Tell us about your journey to winning the ultimate prize.
MS SABINA: Often times in life, we do things without thinking of what lies ahead. When I entered the profession, I made a promise to myself that once I was in it, I had to do everything within my power to succeed. Little did I know that all my actions were geared towards something great. I enjoy taking pictures of things that I do. I take pictures of important activities that I engage the pupils in both in and outside the classroom. Because this place is a mining area, people absent themselves from school often to engage in ‘galamsey’ activities, I have to sometimes go house to house to bring them to school. One day, I had to sit and wait for one student to finish bathing, prepare and come to school with me. This and many more were the reasons why I participated in the first place, lo and behold, my actions had gone far and has brought me to this end.
We were asked to write our own story about what we do or have done to deserve the award. With this, you need to provide evidence for anything that you write about, only then did I realise the benefits of the pictures I took. The council have been very thorough in their investigations. They spent about three hours investigating and interviewing pupil, colleague teachers and some members of the community. I learned they checked my attendance and lesson note from 2015 to date.
The process has not been easy for the past three months but I am glad I pulled through.
CoEWJ: What motivated you to decide to take part in the award?
MS SABINA: I wanted to test myself, to see my performance thus far. I believe as a person, there is the need to try and assess yourself whenever you get the opportunity.
CoEWJ: Were you surprised when you emerged the best among your colleagues?
MS SABINA: Yes, I was surprised. Each participant presented his or her story, you get to hear of the marvelous works teachers are doing. So to emerge the overall Best Teacher in the midst of all these exceptional people, I must say I was surprised and humbled.
CoEWJ: This year’s award is very exceptional, all the top three were women, what do you have to tell female teachers and female trainee teachers that will soon be getting into the system.
MS SABINA: When you have love for what you do, you are bound to excel. They need to develop love for the profession and focus less on the challenges in the teaching field. They should not forget that the other professions also have their own challenges and focus on making the Ghanaian child understand, love and appreciate the purpose of school. There is time for everything, hence you should not be using instructional hours to engage in activity which won’t benefit the child.
CoEWJ: What impact is this award going to have on you?
MS SABINA: I think it is actually going to challenge me to do more. People will now expect me to do more. It is not going to be easy moving forward but I have to prepare myself to face the challenges head-on as they come.
CoEWJ: What award was given to you?
MS SABINA: I was given the 3-bedroom house equivalent to One Hundred and Eighty Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHC. 180,000,00). Sponsored by SIC Life Insurance.
CoEWJ: Where do you plan to have the house build?
MS SABINA: I have not even thought about that yet. I am not going to rush that decision.
CoEWJ: What is your favorite sport?
MS SABINA: I enjoy football a lot. My favorite international team is Manchester United and locally, I support Kumasi Asante Kotoko, obviously you can see I love red.
CoEWJ: Throughout your years as a teacher, have you encountered any student that has inspired you to do more?
MS SABINA: Yes, I have encountered quite a few, some I thought I was too stern on them. Today they tell me how grateful they are for my dedication to my work. Most of them are in KNUST pursuing science courses and many more.
CoEWJ: Working in the education sector for close to 15 years now, would you say the sector is at a standstill, progressing or retrogressing?
MS SABINA: I believe we are progressing. The pace might not be fast but we have come a long way as far as education is concerned in Ghana. On a scale of 1- 10, I will give the sector 8, there is more to be done obviously.
CoEWJ: What is your view on the controversial Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) which has been making waves in Ghana recently.
MS SABINA: I was present at one of the curriculum training workshops and I never saw anything of that sort being taught. But with issues of policy, it is better we leave it to the policy makers. Until it comes out as a full policy, we may not be in the right state to talk about it.
CoEWJ: Who is your role model?
MS SABINA: My role model is a teacher I had at the basic school called Miss Patricia Aidoo. She taught science at a time where girls in particular did not like science yet she did everything possible to make the subject interesting, she became my role model ever since.
CoEWJ: Where do you see yourself in the next decade?
MS SABINA: I want to grow in all aspects in my life. Most importantly, I want to excel in science education and do more.
CoEWJ: Your final words please.
MS SABINA: In all, I give glory and honor to God for bringing me this far. I would like to thank everybody who has helped me to get this far. To my fellow teachers, we should know that posterity is always going to judge us for everything we do. We should also never forget that we are shaping destinies in this country.
CoEWJ: Thank you very much for your time.
MS SABINA: Thank you for the opportunity as well, very honored.