Still on World Teachers Day

Of all the commemorative days, the most appealing to me is October 5, marking World Teaches Day. On October 5, yearly, teachers all over the world are celebrated for their immense
contributions to society. The day was set aside to commemorate the anniversary of the signing of the 1966 treaty between the International Labour Organisation and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ILO/UNESCO), concerning the status of teachers.

The contributions of teachers to society cannot be overemphasised. A teacher combines his function like that of a gardener who tills the soil, plants the seed, waits patiently for the seed to germinate, grow and become a tree; it bears fruits for harvest. It is the careful and patient nature of the teacher to nurture a child to grow into adulthood that makes a teacher’s integrity to outlive him. It is a principle that never dies.

Also, the fact that he trains someone who will take over from him when he is no more, makes the teacher live in the hearts of his students forever. A teacher’s greatness is the seed that he nurtured, developed and fertilised until it matures and the whole world sees the greatness. Teachers stand out in history because they are committed to a
cause that is beyond them by nurturing and training a child to be found worthy in character and learning to fit into society.

In contemporary Nigeria, teachers both in public and private institutions are poorly remunerated compared to
politicians who do little but receive billions. Each senator and a member of the House of Representatives was recently allotted a N160 million SUV and other allowances in a country where the majority of citizens cannot afford a square meal.

To the politicians, matters
of pockets is supreme to matters of national interest. Where people are denied their political and economic rights a time will come when those in power and their cronies will not be able to enjoy their ill-gotten wealth; we are gradually approaching such a time in Nigeria. The people’s capacity for patience, tolerance, and peaceful disposition should
not be mistaken for weakness. Our resilience has been overstretched.

Some of the challenges our teachers are facing presently is the fact that corporal
punishment is no longer obtainable in schools and the free hand our parents gave to teachers those days is no longer there. Those days, the fear of flogging was the beginning of learning. Schools were an extension of training ground, parents gave teachers free hands to discipline their children.

Today, correcting a child in class could be reason the child and his gangs would fight the teacher. A teacher flogging a child could cause parents to assault the teacher and insist he is terminated or transferred from the school. Today, children see school as a social center where issues like football are discussed. These factors have made our certificates worthless in the global community.

A teacher is a mentor, motivator, visionary, and encourager; above all, his
contributions to society is immeasurable. Indeed, if you can read and write thank your teacher. Let’s keep celebrating our teachers.

Ogbaji Alfred,
Media/PRO Consultant,
Abuja
[email protected]

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