“I’m a doctor in my country, everybody knows me well, if you look at me up and down,
you will know that it’s true…”
This a popular song used in Nigeria by kids on schools’ ‘career day’ during their nursery
and primary school levels, of which they dress accordingly to match the desired
profession. This song continues to make a long list of supposedly lucrative works which
are top rated in the society like engineering, pilot, lawyer, architect and others while
doctors make the top list and teaching is the least mentioned in most cases if at all.
Farming is as good as not being considered a profession.
The kids are currently unable to see the bigger picture in the society and the selection
of profession at this age is primarily based on the influence of their parents. Of course,
we can’t blame these parents for wanting a lucrative or well-paying jobs for their wards
because after all, every parent wants the best for their children. They want them to
experience the good life they themselves probably didn’t get to experience and they
want a ‘secure future’ for their kids so that the kids too will have something to pass on to
their own children as legacy. But then there is this question: ‘If every child becomes
doctors, engineers, pilot, architects and the likes, who will teach the next
generation of doctors, pilots and lawyers?’
No matter what level of education you have passed through, you must have met
teachers who impacted some knowledge into you that has helped you come this far. I
know you must feel grateful for having such great people around but why don’t you
want your child to take up this role in the future and help others find purpose in life.
Teaching is actually one of the most fulfilling professions in the world!
After primary school and crossing from the junior classes to senior secondary classes,
the first big choice is set before these kids, and again the lines of the aforementioned
song still come to play. The departments are majorly grouped as sciences, arts and
commercials. Parents and society as a whole believe the science class is for the most
brilliant students among their mates, while the arts and commercials are for not so
brilliant students. Some students may not be doing that well in this science department
but because their parents want them to stick to the words of that song and become
medical personnel, they have to struggle and try hard to cope with the science subjects.
Moving on to tertiary institutions, these same kids start working their best towards
getting accepted to one of the best institutions in the country, and once they are in, they
rate their superiority over other kids based on their fields of study.
But a trend has been observed over the past decade about these kids as they grow up.
The point that parents keep missing then comes to light. These kids are actually not
interested in becoming doctors and lawyers anymore. Most of them initially had passion
for other things but more than that, they have discovered that the ultimate goal of going
to school and landing lucrative jobs is actually because of money and financial stability.
So looking at the country and the world as a whole they notice that there is more money
in fashion, entertainment and creative industries, and they decide to rather pursue a
career in one of these. (This is a whole story for another day).
So how has their change in plans got to do with the teaching profession, one might
ask? Let’s analyze it from the root. The parents want their kids to be rich in the future
and teaching is excluded because teachers are underpaid. Their work seems not
appreciated enough and as such kids themselves do not mind foregoing the fulfilling
part of teaching and inspiring others because the stress is not worth it.
I am not saying teachers should be on Forbes list as one of the world’s richest but
governments and stakeholders can do better in encouraging these great and self-sacrificing nation builders. Their current pay is relatively so low and they are being owed
salaries for months!
So if anything should change for the better at all, it should start from, and be in favor of
teachers in all sectors of education. Because they are the root of a child’s upbringing,
they are there for them growing up and these other ‘lucrative’ careers continue to
function and do better because there are teachers teaching them!
I will especially call the attention of students to the need to always appreciate their
teachers, either present or past. Pay their transport fare when next you meet them in
town and live your live well so they know that their efforts in making you a better person
in the society has not gone to waste. And to all the great teachers in the world (including
my Mum), I send my salute and respect because you all are the real heroes!


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