This post was actually written to commemorate the World Teachers’ Day…..
As the world marks World Teachers’ Day today, my mind goes back to those days when I was in primary school and growing up, it was a thing of pride to be a teacher. Teachers were well respected. Teachers looked good. They looked comfortable. Most of my teachers had cars. They dressed well. They lived in good homes. Some of my teachers used to travel abroad frequently. Even the classrooms and school compounds were good enough to work and learn. You could find students who aspired to be teachers later in life. Generally, being a teacher brought honour and hope because of the conditions around the teacher at that time.
That was many years ago. Things have changed now. Today, it is very easy to identify a teacher (at least most teachers) – not well dressed, obvious signs of malnourishment and lives under uncomfortable conditions. Some schools have very uncomfortable classrooms, staff rooms and facilities.
The very small percentages of teachers who are apparently above this ugly picture are those who are very fortunate to teach in very good private schools, those in Federal schools and some states like Lagos State. My friend who is a teacher in a Lagos State (Nigeria) secondary school earns what can be described as reasonable and which can give one a good life if one plans well. His Excellency, Governor Babatunde Fashola has done so much in providing a conducive working environment for both working and learning. Most of the schools are wearing new looks and some old structures have given way to new ones. Even though teachers and education are begging for more, His Excellency deserves a lot of praise for all he has done so far.
The worst ‘’culprit’’ in the “maltreatment” of teachers is some of the private schools. In some private schools, Teachers are treated like slaves. Salary is a privilege and not a right. Apart from the salaries being very unreasonable, some schools pay teachers in installments, with teachers not being sure of when the next installment will come. In some, teachers are hired and fired without any regards to labour laws. In fact, in some schools, teachers are sacked verbally. In some, the owners of the schools have created a semi-god status for themselves, thus creating so much tension in the hearts of teachers. In some, teachers’ movements is monitored or restricted in a way not done in maximum prisons. In some schools, working hours has no limit, while teachers’ welfare is nothing to write home about. To make matters worse, some schools create a conducive environment for students, which the teachers are molding, to insult teachers and treat them (the teachers) with absolute disregard.
It will not be out of place therefore, to praise Mrs O.O. Odunlami, the Proprietress of Pampers Group of Schools (owners of Pampers Private School and Rainbow College one of the leading group of schools in Lagos and Ogun State of Nigeria, for choosing to do things differently, and therefore give hope to teachers. Apart from being extremely humble, with her presence not creating tension in the hearts of teachers, she has, for more than thirty years (consistently), given number one priority to staff salaries, which is also one of the best in the industry. She has tried in so many ways to create comfort and happiness and not fear and frustration for teachers (and other members of staff). These are worthy of emulation by other school owners.
According to UNESCO, World Teachers’ Day represents a significant token of the awareness, understanding and appreciation displayed for the vital contribution that teachers make to education and development.
To all those who are guilty of ”maltreating” teachers, remember that teachers are the pillars upon which schools, education and the society (and the world at large) are built upon and so, should be treated accordingly. It is only a well motivated teacher, who is treated with respect, that can be effective and efficient.He/she is human like you and should be treated the same way you would have loved to be treated.
So, I join voices to say HAPPY TEACHERS DAY to all teachers, especially all those who have taught me up till this point, and who have made it possible for me to be able to be a blogger. I also thank them for all their contributions to my life. God bless you all.
GOD BLESS ALL TEACHERS AND
HAPPY TEACHERS’S DAY