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The heart of the teacher

A few moments ago, I got thinking about my secondary school days.
I recalled the loving teachers such as Mr Awe and Mr Oyedotun. Mr Oye must have been the most popular teacher with parents. For science students, Mr Awe was the best with clarity of communication and contemporary anecdotes that one still remembers! I remembered the executive ladies like Madam Sote and Mrs Oduwole. Maybe there was something else with the two ladies! Madam Sote taught French, and Mrs Oduwole taught English–guaranteed distinction subjects, somehow! There were the very good teachers who communicated with all the passion a heart could hold like Dr Laoye, and Mr Nelson who never taught me! There were just about two or three out of about 400 students that Emy Nelson could not convince to take his subject! He sure was good! For Dr Lao’s sake, we began to know parts of the 4-figure table by heart–teenagers! Mrs Agbana-Owa was a teacher who combined love, grace and passion! Her smile never waned, she felt like an angel!
I don’t know why, but it appears that a student cannot but be rebellious! For once I thought that some of these teachers would actually have been my dad’s contemporaries, but we never saw them in that light; they were simply teachers! One seems to respect the memories more than we respected the experience!
There were several other teachers who were good, who were passionate but did not just hit the selling point they needed with students! There were lady teachers who couldn’t bear to see a student wear their type of sandals! It would be banned among students immediately. And after doing their worst, we would think with our mouths how these teachers needed to step up their game and drive Mercedes Benz  cars, like some nice teachers, rather than spend precious time looking at the feet of student girls!
But if Madam Sote found a fault with a student girl, the girl must have been wrong! After all, Madam Sote is a respectable and honourable lady who could tell you nothing less than how to be respectable and honourable. She had a chauffeur-driven 504! If Mrs Oduwole seized a girl’s sandals, then they must have clearly been bought from hell! She was too simple, rich, focused, and classy to victimize! Sergeant Bolaji made business studies so so simple! Once he flogged me at a  labour event, and in his next class he announced that there are some students you never want to flog. Gosh! It was too touching! I had to excel in his subject!
There were also teachers who did not care–at all! There were so many distinctions in Geography at our GCE level, but when a friend and I saw our teacher in town months after, we crossed to the other side of the road. We did not greet him. We were too sure our success had nothing to do with him! We laboured for our grades. Some teachers were given nicknames that conveyed their characters.
Physics was the worst-case scenario! By the time I left secondary school and another person taught me physics, I was angry! Physics was easier than Chemistry! Why did they make it look so difficult! One teacher would refer us to Lacombes (an elementary mathematics bookif we did not understand an equation. The other teacher spoke without his lips moving! It was rumoured that he read nuclear physics and truly, he just could not understand why students did not understand such simple formulae! Where we experienced first hand miracles, he claimed there was no God!
So what endeared us to subjects? What endeared us to teachers?
A friend made up his mind to be an accountant and he went to the commercial class. By mid term his engineer dad had convinced him to go to the core sciences. So he came back and he had the best result in GCE out of about 400 students! He graduated in Engineering and specialized in business management with no regrets. Another friend made up his mind to be an accountant. His dad carefully set him in core sciences, with Further Mathematics. He assured him that if you can conquer these, there would be no subject you will not be able to conquer in life!
Parents! They often hold the key to the future. Many lawyer friends testify to having had a wrong foundation in mathematics; and somehow they had no parent or elder one strong enough in mathematics to put them through. Eventually, they grew to detest mathematics!
At the level of the teachers, we could read love in their eyes. We could read passion; we could read care. We could also read care-freedom! We knew those who were in class just to earn their pay. We don’t talk about them today, and we really don’t know where they are.
The best engineers, doctors, scientists, etc perform outstanding feats out of love for mankind! The best teachers achieve the best because of love!
One final ingredient! Social status! The well-t0-do teachers seemed to appeal to students better! Once we had a wealthy bus driver! He suddenly appealed to guys! He had two lovely cars! He was neat, he didn’t stand in public to smoke; he even related more with senior military officers than his contemporaries! And when we got a senior officer for bursar, as wicked as we all knew he was, his disciplined personality and senior status were appealing and enviable!
However, where teachers are paid bottom-rung salaries and struggle for the same poor bus services with their students, how could one expect them to be the role models for the students! In less-disciplined school environments, we heard of parents inciting their wards against teachers. And what could the teachers do! Good enough, modern organisations release their staff members to go and teach in community schools for free during office hours. What a step forward! Role models unleashed!
While the average African teacher needs to hone his skills and reinvent himself, the community needs to upgrade the status of teachers so as to secure the future of the community!

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  1. Teacher’s welfare is an afterthought in the scheme of things now and that’s why I wonder what morality is behind the vexation of students poor performance in standardized exams. It’s quite refreshing taking a retrospects in line of our educational system. We shall over overcome it all someday somehow by God’s help. Thanks bro Lanre.

  2. Lovely! I hope with my tiny age,I am permitted to say, “the good old days!”. God bless our teachers!. I once had a female teacher (Miss Stella), who bcos I often used several colourful hair-bands, had to ban hair-packers for girls. She initially started by seizing each one I had on my hair, everyday. Naughty me,I kept buying more.I was ready to piss her off,I spent all my pocket money buying hair accessories, just to prove a stupid point to dis lady. She also proved hers,though when she banned hair packers for all female I didn’t like her at all then,cos she made life miserable for me, but now,I think I developed a belated love for her. I often scored the highest in her subject (Economics). Now,I wonder why she never marked me I think teachers are just like parents,while we are young and under their tutor, we often do not appreciate them, but when we experience the raw taste of life, we get to realize that they may be crude and old fashioned,but they sure were right.! God bless them!

  3. Lanre
    You have a good memory!
    Teachers have the enviable influence in building the future of pupils that pass through their ‘hands’, as you have good ones, so there were/are and will continue to ,be bad ones who ‘kill’ the interests of pupils in the very poor and unfriendly way in which they present their subjects.
    But one unfortunate fact is that because of poor conditions of service, ,the best brains have’ continued to drift away from the noble profession, seeing it only as a stepping stone to better career opportunities. Let us pray that God will intervene in the plight of teachers. Even Professors, School Proncipals and such like, who left teaching because of this same issue, treated teachers in no better way, in fact, worse than others when they eventually found themselves in positions/public offices where they were well positioned to better the lot of teachers!
    May God intervene.

  4. thanks for an awesome post about cctv

  5. Thank you for this post and comments so far. This is a lesson we must all learn and imbibe. God has placed us as light (not necessarily as school teachers) i.e role models in our different circles at different levels. The question is: how do we use the position we find ourselves (per time) in influencing others, to build up or tear down? Lets think on this and act appropriately. God help us.

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