As the world remembers teacher and today is teachers day! And I am a teacher. I started teaching immediately I finished SS3. I started with teaching primary 4 somewhere in Isiekenesi and St Kizito Secondary School Umuchima. After my University studies, I went back to my former school Bonus Pastor Seminary Osina where I taught amazing students History. It was a fruitful one year experience.
With the callup for National Youth service I found myself in Bayelsa state, Oruma to be precise. At Community Secondary school Oruma, I taught them History for one year. Am proud to say that after that one year, students who find history as boring fell in love with history. Actually, I was so happy to meet a school in Bayelsa that still teaches history irrespective of undocumented ban on history by Nigeria government.
After the service year, the son of man went back into teaching. Since then I have been to God’s Friend International and St Raphael De Arch Angel Secondary School, all in Onitsha Anambra state. There I taught students Literature In English before I resigned. Teaching is something wonderful, but the treatment teachers get in Nigeria is very painful.
The state of things in Nigeria has made life very difficult for teachers. The most relegated people in Nigeria are the teachers. I once had an encounter online with a very young man who is aspiring to become State House Of Assembly member. This young fellow who is vigorously campaigning for election was so unhappy by my post against Nigeria election that he called me a ‘mere secondary school teacher who can’t even feed himself.’ I looked at him and pitied Nigeria. That one may win tomorrow and also see teachers as nothing. That’s the situation of things in Nigeria, but that will be story for another day.
For sometime now I have been campaigning against the treatment of teachers in Nigeria. I have used the hashtag #TeacherNotSlave here on Facebook and Twitter. I was moved to pity seeing teachers who go home every month with 10,000 Naira. That’s about 23dollars per month. Those are university graduates. I have tried to find out why a graduate will agree to 10,000 per month and I found out two things. Low self-esteem on the part of the teachers and the compromising nature of the Nigeria government.
Nigeria government sees education as trash and it’s is adversely affecting teachers. Their attitude to education has made government schools irrelevant, thereby giving rise to many unchecked private schools. These private schools are ready to recruit anything as a teacher. They only need a figure head. Something that can answer a teacher. And due to lack of job in Nigeria, many are going into teaching. Desperate people that are ready to teach for 10,000. And the proprietors are capitalizing on this abnormalities.
Believe me if you know what you are doing in teaching you will never accept such amount in the name of teaching. For sometime now I have given some break to teaching. I am for now a Teacher without a school.
On this day, I wish every teacher out there a wonderful Teachers day. Keep your head high. Don’t tie yourself to just teaching if you must survive. Develop yourself. You can also become a writer or any other thing of interest. Also don’t forget to give those students the best you can.
Elochukwu . N . Ohagi