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Teachers, Let’s Do Away with Contentment and Pride

Written by Akeem Alao


I trust the term has been wonderful. We thank God almighty that the term is gradually going to an end. All efforts on the students will never end as an exercise in futility. As a concerned member of the teaching profession, I have decided to send this message to all teachers concerning the pathetic living conditions majority of us have found ourselves. In a system where a larger percentage lives below the normal expectation, such a system is undoubtedly a failure. Teaching profession, especially in Nigeria is a legitimate case study. Teachers do not live to perpetuate poverty? But in this part of the world they seem to be created to live in transparent penury. As a matter of fact, it is time we looked into this problem which seems to characterize the entire lives of most us teachers and shared some lasting solutions. As the year is running to an end, I believe this message will afford us the opportunity to cogitate deeply ahead of the New Year.
Something urgent needs to be done to meet up with our contemporaries within the society. Several times I have queried the rationality behind the segregation of teachers within the society. Why do landlords and landladies have a reservation for us teachers? Why are we so tagged as poor people?
Why is it that our own students never want to become teachers in future? Why is it almost impossible for teachers’ children to attend best private schools in the town? Why is it notoriously difficult for teachers to secure decent accommodation on cozy estates? Are teachers born to live in poverty-prone areas? Are we destined to live an under-achieving life? These are the numerous questions begging for answers and radical decisions.
Why are Teachers living in Terrible Conditions?
My monstrous years of experiences in teaching have brought me closer to some of the major problems we face as teachers. These problems are CONTENTMENT and PRIDE. Teachers, even those that are miserably underpaid are either too contented to leave the system or have the pride that, as graduates we cannot withdraw of services to venture into some ‘dirty’ trades or business. Everyone, as far long as the required wherewithal is available, has dignity. In this society of ours, no matter the amount of knowledge you possess, a life shorn of wealth is not only said to be meaningless but also unworthy of emulation. What earns us respect is the financial capacity to live a befitting life. The impecunious lifestyles of teachers, which are conspicuously observed in our mode of dressing, appearances and the type of apartment we live in, are the major reason why the students feel discouraged from becoming teachers in future. These students are absolutely right. At a tender age, serious-minded students have to train themselves to detest POVERTY. Poverty is a virus that when given little room in one’s life, ravages the entire life.
Most of teachers believe ignorantly that those who patronize us are all workers at big companies. Some of them are but majority are into various businesses. Even those who have the privilege to work at big companies augment their salaries with other businesses. They are never like us. Teachers move from house to house like officials conducting population census to teach. Still, we find it difficult to make tangible monetary contributions within the family. It is not enough to knot snaky ties in hot weather, wear poorly designed suits around the school. Proprietors are not wicked. They cannot just afford to pay above their capacities. We should perform our primary assignments, leave them alone and work something out to better our lives. It is time we became unreasonable in order to live a meaningful and reasonable life. To achieve this, we must extend our services beyond the classrooms. Teachers can be bloggers, web designers, photographers, TV and radio presenters, events managers, providers of laundry services, traders, etc.
Let’s all collaborate to think outside the box. Another new year is around.

About the author

Akeem Alao

Akeem Alao trained as a language teacher. He graduated from Adeniran Ogunsanya college of Education where he studied English/Yoruba Languages and Ekiti State University where he obtained a degree in English Education.

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