Sunday, April 6, 2008

African teacher

I never be late, I always early
I never absent I always present
That's why I and I nah sit down inna no back bench
Natty like to be bright, bright, bright
So bright, bright, bright, bright
So bright
-Burning Spear.

I was one of those “over-sabi” children in primary school. I liked to sit at the front, I loved to learn and like a sponge, I would soak every single thing my teachers said. The need to always know, that curiosity, was cultivated in primary school. Every day, we had so many new things to learn. The teachers knew every single one of us by name and I remember many occasions when my young mind would be worried at the presence of a teacher in my home. They would sit and discuss about my grades, areas of improvement and my potential. I loved all my teachers. The science teacher made our eyes big with her different experiments (now that I look back, I cannot ever imagine that I was once amazed by the colors “a starchy material” produced). Our Art teacher taught us to make paper marches, collages, and we spent so many happy hours playing with clay. The mathematics teacher taught us how to read the time by asking us to make clocks, mine was the best of course! Made out of white card board paper, I still remember it, so vividly too. The French teacher taught us the national anthem in French and made us write our very own French play. My part was a buyer who on seeing all her wares screams “beaucoup de chose!” The Urhobo teacher also taught us the national anthem and pledge in Urhobo but he got a bit carried away by asking the girls to kneel while greeting him, in the traditional Urhobo way. The library master, who was also the P.E teacher, made us “skip” and run, jump, and we could play “ten-ten” too. I think he was a bit partial to football though, because all he ever wanted to do was have a football match, every single day. The most fun class was home-economics. Oh what fun we had! We made batik, tie and dye, we did embroidery, sew aprons and hand bags, entered competitions, made chin-chin, puff-puff and cakes. My all time favorite teacher though, was my English teacher. We read so much and spent so many hours coming up with good points for our different “debate” subjects. She encouraged me to read and never laughed at my writings. Instead, she gravely corrected mistakes and suggested ways for improvement. She was my favorite teacher because she allowed me to be me or is it because of all those sweets?

You all think I went to some fancy school right? Maybe one of those international schools or Private schools in Lagos? Wrong. I attended a primary school in Warri, Delta state. How can that be, you may ask? Well, I’ll tell you. I was one of those fortunate children that attended school during the time when teachers were still being paid their salaries. They could take care of the rent and their families so they did their jobs. They came to school and gave us their hearts and souls because they were not hungry. Their children were not hungry, so they taught us everything they knew. These days, I often hear people lamenting about the state of our schools. They are all right, it is dreadful and a shame. However, there is no human being that can give 100% on any job when their future is not secure. Many teachers in Nigeria now have to resort to farming or petty trading to ensure the survival of their families. Those are the ones that still try to live with the little dignity they have left. Many others, no longer care. Their dignity has been thrown out when hunger came calling and have now joined the band wagon of bribery and corruption which is not surprising considering the fact that many of them have not been paid for months and frankly speaking, that they still turn up for work is a miracle in itself.

We have the brains in Nigeria. We have so many good teachers that can ensure that our children get the best in life, but it is not going to happen. You know why? I will tell you the truth: A hungry man is an angry man and until teachers start being paid properly in this country, the education system is going to remain in the dumps. A lot of great minds are going to be lost to “business” and that captivating new world of “bankers”. The losers are the children.

The impact of a teacher in a child’s life cannot be underestimated. They do as they see. When you have corrupt and hungry teachers, ready to sell their selves for money, I assure you, you are raising corrupt and hungry children, ready to do sell their selves too, for money.

Do not let us lose great minds in this country….PAY THE TEACHERS!

P.S: Una don find dat una plane wey una dey look for? 2 weeks never pass? Na wah oh! Meanwhile dat health committee wey go school for Ghana, shebi na study una say una use that 10 million do? Oya, make una publish the report with all of una findings na, dis one wey una know book pass anything!


guerreiranigeriana said...

dreadfully true...twas my cousin who told me she would teach because surely she would make her money...i of course did not know what she was talking about until she explained the bribery that occurs in university...naija really needs to get it together...its 2008 for Christ's sake!!!...

TheAfroBeat said...

You had an Urhobo teacher!!! Now i'm jealous!!

I agree o, our teachers need to be paid a more than living wage and the profession needs to be revamped. Back then, like you said, the teacher knew it all, was well respected and had to be pretty darn smart to even make it through teacher training college. Now it's a job that pp look down on (i recall my parents asking me if i wanted to end up a lesson teacher when i told them i wanted to become a teacher).

What is the Ministry of Education up to these days i ask.

Waffarian said...

@afrobeat: hehehehehe, na so dem laugh me too!

soupasexy said...

geez, i never liked my teachers, maybe i shd have gone to ur

Olamild said...



Yes, it is a shame what teachers go through in Nigeria. But, teachers all over the world are underpaid in my opinion.

I was actually just thinking about my French teacher at St. Mary's Primary school in Lagos. Whenever she would come in, we would groan that she was pregnant again. Everytime she got pregnant we suffered from her koboko. lol!

pamela said...

true talk!!

F&F - Fresh And Fab said...

ah waffy, you brought back old memores

i loved every single one of my teachers.

i remeber when i ws in primary 4, this was quite starge accually, you know when you said, the teachers knew us well...mine really did, one time, she was wrinting on the board, back away from class, i dont remebr what i did, i know i didnt make any sound, she called my name and said i should stop it..back still turn

till this day it still shocked me.

another thing i loved about my school, it was so disciplined, if you steal or lie or behave really badly, they would cane you in front of the assembley.

im so jealous too, that you had an urohbo teacher,well seeing as where you went to school, its pretty obvious.

im urhobo,and i dont know anything about my language at all, and i was born and raised in nigeria oh..if i had an urohbo teacher, im sure things would have been better

i just remeber the teachers, i loved every single one of them, it was almost like you formed a relationship with them.

that was a good post..tok me back