Heroes of Independence

World teachers day was first observed on October 5, 1994, to honour UNESCO/ILO recommendations. It is a special day for the appreciation of teachers for their selfless service to humanity in moulding lives. But it’s often cliche when you hear “a teacher’s reward is in heaven”, when they should be valued and the premium placed on their welfare. This is because a society that understands the value of education and the critical role of teachers in national development is one that thrives. Chiemelie Ezeobi, Mary Nnah and Rebecca Ejifoma recently spoke with some teachers from the primary, secondary and even tertiary levels on the passion for the job and their hopes for a better tomorrow

Who is a teacher? And why should teachers be honoured? A teacher is someone trained and certified to impart knowledge to his pupils, students, or otherwise. So given the role they play in moulding lives, they should be honoured, which sadly isn’t the true situation. So from THISDAY, here’s wishing Happy Teacher’s Day to our Independence Heroes. 

Uloma Agu: Dawnfield Montessori School Lagos

I am a teacher. I inspire and help my pupils build self-esteem and believe in themselves and their ability to learn, no matter their background.

I love teaching because it gives me a deep sense of purpose. As a teacher, I believe I have a reason for doing what I’m doing. It helps bring value and meaning to my life.

Being an educator also allows me to keep learning and growing in knowledge by constantly researching to be abreast with happenings and new inventions.

As a very active adult, teaching keeps me on my toes and ensures that I am never bored.

I hope that all Nigerian teachers will be provided the necessary pedagogy through adequate training to be able to perform their duties. I also hope that Nigerian teachers will be better paid and motivated because they are nation builders.

Prof. Ayobami Ojebode: Communications and Language Arts Department, Faculty of Arts, University of Ibadan

I had always wanted to be a teacher and I didn’t know why. But as I grew up I got a clearer picture. Being a teacher to me is like partnering in a very strategic and crucial manner with society to bring humans to the fullest of their potential. So, teaching is a divine calling.

I have been a university teacher for 22 years and a few months. And with modesty, I have seen how one’s activities and input are being appreciated.  I have witnessed the indescribable transformation of lives as a result of teachers and lecturers. 

And some of these students come back to testify while some do it openly on Social Media eulogizing how our activities as teachers have led to decisions, to attitudes that make them different and fulfilled as human beings.

I am happy to be a teacher; if there were to be another world, I would come back as a teacher.

 Taiwo Dimeji-Jojolola: Director Of Studies, Difas Schools Ikorodu, Lagos

 The teaching profession has done a lot for humanity. It is not new that teaching is the mother of all professions. A world devoid of teachers is a world filled with anarchy and hopelessness.

Is there hope for teachers in Nigeria today? Yes, but only when our society starts paying attention to teachers and the educational process as a whole. Teachers are the hub of civilization and a listening society is what it needs to thrive.

Lastly, I want to specifically state that I have a personal love for the profession. I love teaching so much that I don’t think I can ever do without being a teacher. I love to see young people become academically birthed. I cherish the whole process that goes into this birthing. 

The talking, counseling, the corrections (and shouting, sometimes), the frequent funny moments and the breathtaking love you get from the young minds. This profession is the real thing for me and I think I am content with that.

Edwardson Bright TOE:  Microseville International School, Ijoko, Ogun State

I love teaching because of the following reasons: teachers are regarded as role models, life builders, respected and are the hidden brain behind the development of any society.

As it is today, teachers in Nigeria are not being catered for and respected. Teachers ought to be treated as the second god.

So, my hopes for Nigerian teachers are that; someday the young ones would proudly look into their parent’s eyes and say, “mom/ dad I want to be a teacher when I grow up.”

Also, I am looking forward to seeing that day when teachers would be counted among the richest. Since the Doctor, Lawyer, Journalist, Engineer, Pilot, etc are all products of a particular teacher, the teaching profession should be of paramount importance to any nation and should be celebrated. 

Therefore, on behalf of Mr & Mrs. Ajilore, the proprietor and proprietress of Microseville Schools, our staff and teachers, we  say happy teachers’ day to all teachers all over the world.

Dr. Israel Ayinla Fadipe: Postdoc Research Fellow, Indigenous Language Media in Africa, (ILMA) Northwest University, South Africa

Teaching is my call, just like other great professions we know today. My love for the teaching profession emanated from what I have seen from my teachers from primary schools to tertiary institutions. They have been my mirrors. 

I wanted to be like them, impacting knowledge into coming generations for the benefit of my immediate environment. It’s a privilege and obligation considering what my teachers have done for me as well. The reason my teaching philosophy is centred on individual students’ needs. 

Teaching may not be lucrative as other known professions worldwide, it is the bedrock of human professions.

 Ngozi Linda Adikwu: Amazing Talents Schools, Idimu-Lagos

While growing up I used to gather little kids together in front of my house and teach them. I used to help them with their assignments and difficult areas they had in their academic work. 

I never thought I would be deeply drawn into the profession full-time. I love teaching because it brings joy to my heart that I am imparting knowledge, and new ideas to those I am educating. It brightens my heart when I see successes in my little ones( pupils and students alike). I love teaching, it is in my blood..

There is great hope for the teaching profession in Nigeria because teachers in Nigeria are one of the best in the world. They produce great minds with intellectual confidence that can match any product from any country.

The future is bright for teachers in Nigeria because I know that with the right motivation and empowerment from government and all stakeholders, the profession will see a shift in a positive direction.

Abumere Margaret Ebahi: Fortress Ville School

Teaching is a profession on which other professions rest.

In education, teaching is the connected sharing of knowledge and experience, which is usually organised within a discipline and, more generally, the provision of stimulus to the psychological and intellectual growth of a person by another person or artifact.

It is a noble profession that comes with so much responsibility and duty towards students. Teachers do not only teach and impart knowledge but inspire and motivate students for life. They keep working to keep to boost the confidence of students and direct them in the right direction.

Based on the foregoing, as a teacher, I love and cherish teaching because it remains a ladder through which others attain their success. Therefore, teaching is a God-chosen profession.

Sincerely, I have millions of hope for Nigerian teachers that God should illuminate their lives and generations. Teachers’ efforts should be crowned with resounding success in all ramifications.

Funso Adegbola: CEO, The Vale College and The Vale Tutorial College, Ibadan 

I  love teaching and education generally because I am passionate about molding and impacting the next generation. I also love working with young people who will become lifelong learners and leaders.

My hope for Nigeria is to realise the importance of Education and spend the UN-prescribed 26 per cent of the annual budget on education at all levels, from pre-school to tertiary level.

I hope that Nigerian Teachers will continue to be the very best versions of themselves, teaching empathically with their lives and continuously improving their minds. We appreciate the great work done by the Great Teachers in Nigeria.

Dr. Ogedengbe O Alexander: Proprietor and Founder of Whitehall Group of Schools, Fagba, Ifako Ijaye, Lagos

The teaching profession is an Art. Waking up as early as 4 am, preparing how to make other children out there successful professionals in the future is something so motivating.

In my earlier years of teaching, seeing students passing through a class to higher classes and eventually into higher institutions and becoming a graduate fascinated me much. It was always like nourishing children into adulthood.

There are some born teachers. They derive so much joy when they see students succeed both academically and economically. These 

sets of teachers devote a major part of their time to the students. I think I belong to the category of teachers.

Teachers should always involve in continuous self-development. When a teacher is well-loaded, he will surely deliver competent products to society.

We will also continue to plead with the government to create more development opportunities, good welfare, and good operating environment for the educators and private school operators in the country.

 Eddy Odivwri: Proprietor, Amazing Talents School 

 The motivation to become a teacher may have been long ingrained in me.  In the village setting where we were raised, the teachers were clearly the elite of the community. Their views were sought on almost everything in the community, The positions they advised or upheld became the ideal. They dressed decently. They appeared almost always very neat. They carried themselves with the carriage of one who was a head or two ahead of others. 

What was more, they married the most beautiful women in the community.

Not so much was an issue that they didn’t really have much money, even as they managed to present status and  contentment.

But all that are in the past. Not such a distant past. Society’s evolution has thrown the memory and prestige of the typical teacher into the dustbin of distant history. 

Not many have any scintilla of respect for the teachers of today as many of them struggle to pay even rent of one-bed room apartments.

Teaching has become a last resort career option. With the running nasty ordeal of ASUU lecturers, which potential father in-law would gladly release her daughter to even a University lecturer today for marriage? 

But in spite of all the contemporary dross on the teaching profession, it remains the father of knowledge. That you are reading this article and understanding my argument is because a teacher/teachers worked on you. We cannot but celebrate our teachers.

All hail teachers, without whom, we’d be worse than the first dwellers in that ancient garden.

Steve Akerele:  Microseville International school, Ijoko, Ogun State

Teaching is a profession that is so noble that it can never be over-emphasized because it has been right from creation.

It’s so satisfying to an extent that even when the money is not forthcoming the passion, respect, and love for the profession is the beauty that covers every difficulty.

We can only pray that God opens the eyes of the people concerned to note that treating teaching as a common profession can only spell backwardness for the society at large.

 Oladipo Kolawole: Fortressville Private School,  Ijoko, Ogun State

The profession that moulds lives daily is the teaching profession. I am passionate about the profession because it had been my innate desire to touch the lives of these young ones in my little way.                  

If you see teachers that are fulfilled in this profession, none of us went into the profession for money but rather out of an innate desire to help and improve lives.  If you ask the students nowadays how many want to go into the teaching profession, hardly will you get two per cent of them just because of the way teachers are being treated.

Don’t forget there was a time in the history of this nation around the late ’80s when house owners will not give out their apartments to teachers because of the poor payment of their salaries. The present problem of ASUU is its benefits.                                  

I want to use this medium to plead with the government to please do the needful to encourage the teachers.

Adeolu Babajide: St. Stephen’s College, Awotan, Ibadan, Oyo State.

Certified or trained, a teacher is someone vested with the sole responsibility of moulding destinies to make our world a better place.

Teaching as a profession involves passion and knowledge impartation, so, to be able to teach, you must possess what to offer.

Another indelible reason why I love teaching is that teachers make all other professions possible. Irrespective of the level or class, teaching is the mother of all other high-sounding and highly respected professions.

As life-changing as the profession is, my hopes for teachers in Nigeria include being well remunerated here on earth and eternity for a job done. This will make teachers able to afford a decent life which in turn reflects in the lives of their children.

Also, teachers’ relevance and recognition should not be treated with disdain by whatever arm of government. If there is no relevance and recognition, there would not have been a world acclaimed day- 5th October of every year to celebrate teachers. Building Nigeria lies in the hand of teachers in Nigeria.

Dr. James Onyeashie: Senior Lecturer and Ag HOD, English Department, Augustine University, Ilara-Epe Lagos

I teach because some of my teachers inspired teaching in me, not necessarily because of my talents or support from the government. The theme of this year’s Teachers’ Day is “The Transformation of Education Begins With Teachers”.

Today I love to teach because I have the privilege to provide moral support for many young persons because I know the implication of discouragements. I lost interest in Arithmetic because of a teacher who taught in primary school. I love Literature because of a teacher who taught me in secondary school.

A teacher needs to know that the pupil or student wants to see encouragement and love in him or her, nothing less. A teacher can kill a dream and a teacher can give life to a dream. I want to give life to a dream.

Mr. Arimi Jagun: Graphics Instructor/ Lecturer, Department of Broadcasting,

Times Journalism Institute

 I like teaching because I see it as fun and derive happiness in downloading the knowledge I have acquired so far to the coming generation.

The coming generation needs adequate knowledge both academic and social to build strong minds that would be difficult to manipulate by the unscrupulous element in society. Also, it helps in shaping their future careers.

I hope to see teachers in Nigeria live a good and comfortable life with more opportunities and eagerness to rev up their already acquired knowledge and skills. This will be good for the development of our country.

Dr. Hassan Biodun Suleiman, Ph.D: (Senior Lecturer), Department of Journalism/Media Studies, School of Communication, Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos

Teaching for me is a calling. It is an unbridled passion for the profession. I was almost at the pinnacle of my career.  If anyone is looking for money, academics is not where you come to look for money. 

But you will be comfortable. You can have access to all the basics of life. It enables you to have a simplicity of life. If it is about the money, I would have remained where I was as the Information Officer in the Speaker’s office. 

Teaching enables self-discovery. The schedule is so malleable that you can manage your time. I can equally utilize my time to do other things. 

One of the things I realised is that we, in academics, should do well to engage more in the area of entrepreneurial teaching. The internet age affords us all the rare opportunities to know the business side of teaching for instance in media studies (Consultancy, training in video editing and graphics, arts and skill of presentation among others).

We need to package ourselves well. This is because appearance is key. Students see us as role models.

Mrs. Florence Avbioro: Pathfinder Academy, Lagos 

Being a teacher is an amazing journey and experience. I love teaching because the love, laughter, mischief, creativity and imagination of children are like an eternal fountain of joy and vitality. The visible results you see from pupils are guaranteed to send you home with a sense of pride!

I love teaching because it is really rewarding. It’s satisfying to see children progress both academically and non-academically as rounded people and future citizens.

Teachers do not only teach and impart knowledge but inspire and motivate students for life and take important steps in life. Teachers dedicate all their life to empowering their students and making them better and more successful human beings in their life.

Teachers need to be valued and well taken care of. I pray It keeps getting better for all teachers out there.


 Mrs. Philomena Oghenekevbe Agboma: Assistant Chief Education Officer,

Lagos State Government

I love teaching for several reasons one of which is my passion to impart lives and be an agent of positive change. I consider myself privileged and blessed to be involved in a child’s all-around development. History is rarely made without a good teacher down the lane. Teachers are life moulders. 

Lastly, teaching keeps me on track academically and improves my reading prowess. One of the greatest advantages of teaching is one’s lifetime learning. The more you teach, the more you read and this has greatly helped me as an individual.

Teaching should be treated as the most significant profession in Nigeria as it is what informs and gives birth to every other profession, thus teachers should be well remunerated.

My hope, therefore, is that teachers should be proud of their professions and make every effort to live up to their responsibilities.

Every teacher out there should make self-development a priority. They should take advantage of 21st Century Teaching Skills.

Dr. Bunmi Ajibade: Senior Lecturer, Department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos

I have a natural flair for imparting knowledge. It is always said that knowledge is power, so if you want to empower people, give them knowledge. The most unfortunate people on earth are those who lack knowledge. Knowledge, acquired through education, is the key to development.

Right from primary school, l admired my teachers who taught me most effectively. At the School of Basic Studies (for WAEC A/LEVEL), they taught me most efficiently that l longed to be like him. My desire for more knowledge was also fueled at the university level, where l met lecturers who inspired me.

Because of society’s poor regard for teachers and education, generally, some people say, “The teacher’s reward is in heaven.” But what of teachers who unfortunately will make it to heaven? 

The present bunch of Nigerian leaders have little understanding of the role of education. 

As long as teachers are not given their well-deserved reward here on earth, the sector may not attract the most brilliant teachers at all levels of education.

 Treasure Arize: E-Rising International School, Lagos 

Teaching is a very spontaneous and creative activity for me. I join my learners daily on a journey to harness the gifts and potentials they carry and utilise them well. I get excited to see my learners come into class having zero ideas on a subject matter but leaving at the end of the day as masters in that area. The fulfillment derived from teaching can never be gotten in any other field.

I have great hopes for teachers in Nigeria. I know a time would come when we would be given greater recognition than other professionals in different fields and we would be paid what we truly deserve as it is done in other advanced countries.

We all need to keep training ourselves, developing continuously in this field by taking new courses and attending CPDs. We should never get discouraged or tired. Knowing that we are role models and we are there to mould and shape the lives of young minds, the reward for our labour will come so fast.

God bless all the Nigerian teachers who labour daily. We will rise as an edifice.

Dr. Ruth Karachi Benson Oji: Senior Lecturer, Institute of Humanities, Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos

Teaching is a life-changing project that is completely fulfilling and satisfying for me. A real teacher sees the power inside her, not as a means to wield authority but as one to make a child. For this reason, I undertook a book project titled, ‘Communication in Education – A Handbook for Teachers’ to assist fellow teachers in understanding the dynamics of classroom communication. 

Someday, teachers in Nigeria would be adequately remunerated the same as their counterparts the world over. They would be seen as being in an affluent profession and capable of investing in their personal and professional development even without much support from any organisation.

Someday, the teachers would be recognised and rewarded for their hard work and unflinching service to humanity.

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