Appreciating Our Teachers

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Last Wednesday was World Teachers Day (WTD) as instituted by UNESCO United Nation Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation, Nigeria joined the rest of the world to celebrate our “distinguish and noble “ citizens.Nigeria celebrated the 16th edition of the WTD and it is hoped that the travails of teachers would be brought to the fore and attempts made to solve them. Teachers are very important and essential in any society. When I was growing up, it was a taboo to struggle with teacher for anything. In the villages best products from farmers were given to the teachers be it food crops or bush animals. In good old days, stubborn children were made to live with teachers so that they could be better trained. Respect or better still reverence was reserved for them. In the villages, teachers were given free accommodation and were highly recognized. However, the military interregnum came and everything changed drastically. Teachers became despised, their salaries were not promptly paid while landlords evicted them freely because they could not pay their rents as and when due. For the bachelors amongst them, they found it difficult getting wives to marry because no prospective father-in-law was ready to entertain daughters coming home with a teacher as a fiance. At this juncture, the profession became a last resort for many who have failed to secure better jobs elsewhere.This affected the morale and capability of teachers to deliver. Those who chose to stay on had other jobs that provided alternative means of livelihood. The democratic dispensation in 1999 under the government of Chief Obasanjo changed all that. Teachers salary was reviewed upward and teachers could now buy cars and live decently. Big schools in the cities sometimes resemble auto-marts where different cars are parked in their compounds. Teachers now competed with other civil servants for the goodies in the society. The teaching profession suffer from non-appreciation. If students fails, teachers did not do their job, however, if the they pass then they worked hard. Few parents who choose to appreciate do so verbally without monetary rewards. It is however gratifying to note that state governments have instituted awards for hardworking teachers Journalists too are poorly remunerated but can demand for their “reward” unlike teachers. Our reward system is generally faulty. Teachers reward some say is in Heaven but they want to receive it here on earth. I once complained to a big aunty in Lagos during my teaching days about the indignation the teacher suffers from parents, government and ironically students being taught. I even told her that the job is not meant for a young man with a vision. The woman looked me in the face and told me point blank that teachers may not be appreciated by man but by divine favour the offsprings of teachers do very well in the society. Look around your environment and see how well children of sincere dedicated and committed teachers are doing. Conclusively I want to suggest that the government should organise refresher courses, in service training, capacity- enhancement programmes for teaches which will enhance their capacity and capability. This should, however, reflect in the pay-packet of those who do well. Teachers, take heart our God will certainlt provide for you and your offsprings even if you are not appreciated by the society.

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