With the recent news out of Kaduna State about the incompetency of teachers employed by the state, there’s a lot of focus on teachers. With our education sector being in such a terrible state, there is a lot of responsibility on Nigerian educators to bear the light out of darkness. However, teaching, as a profession has been grossly un-glamourised. From the poor classroom conditions, to the un-motivating pay, you find less people showing interest in taking up the mantle to educate the next generation. In fact, it is often said that a teacher’s reward is in heaven. Some will argue that you can’t spend aspirational heavenly riches on earth.
In fact, you would hardly find any young person raising their hands in excitement to the question: “Would you like to be a teacher when you grow up?” It’s not necessarily because they had any terrible experience with teachers in their past or that they harbor any major aversion for the teachers that tutored them. It’s just about the impression that teaching is a lowly profession and should only be a last resort, when you cannot find any other ‘real job’.
Truth be told, if you choose the teaching profession with hopes of making money, we hate to break it to you, you’re in the wrong profession. The pay is certainly not the main motivation, especially when you consider the heavy responsibilities that come with it, as well as how challenging and intellectually demanding it is. But while the profession may be one of the hardest jobs out there, its rewards transcend the compensation received.
You Make a Difference
As a teacher, you get to actually make an impact; not just in the lives of the students you teach, but also on the society as a whole. Teaching is active nation-building, as the students grow up to be members of the society. From Oprah Winfrey to Bill Gates and Bill Clinton, a number of the world changers have linked their success to the teachers they had growing up. The knowledge you share with the students influences them and enables them to shape their character, thus setting the pace for their existence or survival in the society. You get a sensational feeling, seeing your students eventually ‘make it’ after they leave, and knowing that you played a small part in them achieving their goal. Actually, it is the ultimate in job satisfaction.
You Never Stop Learning
As a teacher, the learning never stops for you. Each day is a new day to learn something different. You become a lifelong learner. While you help the children discover new and exciting things about their world, they teach you new things about their world too – your vocabulary, fashion and music tastes remain current and relevant. You also get to discover more about yourself and learn new skills as well. For instance, although you are an English teacher, you also end up running clubs, counseling students, planning outings, e.t.c
You’re a Celebrity
If you have ever wondered what it feels like to be a celebrity, you may want to take on the job of a teacher. Teachers may not be popular, but they get the celebrity treatment… on a daily basis.
Generally, as a teacher, you will constantly be surrounded by a crowd of students who love and adore your every waking move. You are a role model to them and they look up to you for advice and guidance. They seek your approval. Even more, think about how they make a captive audience, how they scream your name when they meet you outside the school walls, the end of year gifts are great, the cards and verbal gratitude from both students and parents. Basically, teachers are looked up to, and that is always good for self esteem.
The Joys of Flexible Work Hours
An average teacher’s day ends around 3p.m. This is shorter than the regular 9-5 jobs which ensures that one spends 10 to 12 hours per day at work. The teaching job is just for 6 or maximum 8 hours. You can afford to take on a side job or hobby, run errands or just spend time with family. And in addition to that, teachers also have 10 days work leave, as well as the mid-terms and holidays between terms. The summer holiday which usually is about 2 whole months allows teachers to travel, take on short–term jobs and make extra money (while still being paid as teachers even though they are on holiday), or take on courses and study further for getting better.
The Stability of Tenure!
Like food, good health and housing, education is something that will always be required, so it is a profession that will always offer job opportunities. Unlike other industries where layoffs are rampant and trained workers have to deal with being out-of-job for periods in time, trained teachers enjoy job security and stability. There’s very little chance of massive layoffs or some of the exhausting fears that come with working with corporate executives.
Unless of course, you fail the competency tests…
Shout out to the good, competent teachers in the house! We love and appreciate you.
Photo credit: © Andrey Popov | Dreamstime