By Michael Ayotunde
October 5, every year, is usually reserved to celebrate the real moulders and creators of a virile society – the Teachers.
What practically defines a teacher is his or her ability to teach students and have a positive influence on them.
Generally, in modern times, the role of a teacher in education goes beyond teaching. Teaching has different appeals, and a teacher is expected to carry out the part of being an foster parent, counselor, mentor, role model, and as situation demands.
There used to be a song back then in the elementary school days, particularly during the early morning assembly. Interestingly most readers who had their elementary education in Nigeria in the late 90s can identify with the song and it goes thus:
“Parents listen to your Children
We are the leaders of tomorrow
Try to pay our school fees
And give us ‘SIGN’ education.”
It took most of us a while to realize that ‘sign’ as pronounced in the last line of the song was actually meant to be ‘sound’ – Sound Education, yet we ignorantly, innocently but joyfully sang along. The long and short of the song was that children are the leaders of tomorrow.
And tomorrow’s leaders are indeed the children of today. Also, the quality of a youth is pretty much based on the nature and quality of childhood and or upbringing. Belief systems, thinking patterns, character traits and several other important factors are mostly developed during this phase and a solid foundation is a sure pathway to a great future.
The question now is: If children are the leaders of tomorrow, who then grooms them?
Who instils in them the values pertinent to leadership?
Who makes them realize the future is actually in their hands?
A synergy of so many factors, opportunities and hosts of experiences shape a child, however, the role of teachers cannot also be overemphasized within the society. Teachers can be said to hold the future of children in their hands, almost literally as they play a vital role in moulding tomorrow’s leaders.
Asides building children up mentally and emotionally, the importance of this role is further underscored when a teacher standing before a class sees beyond just the present state of his/her students but rather great destinies, future presidents, change agents and assets to the society and the nation at large. They therefore possess the power to make or mar the future of these pupils by every decision they make.
Under this scenario, how then do we in this part of the world treat and appreciate these society moulders, reformers?
At the higher institution level, our teachers have been at home for a period spanning more than eight months, yet with no solution in sight. This is nothing but a deliberate move to abort the destinies of innocent youths of this nation; a nation with enormous potentials.
It was with fanfare, members of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) and other relevant associations received the news from President Muhammed Buhari on the plans by the Federal Government to effect upward review of their emoluments.
However, two solid years down the line, nothing has happened. Teachers in the country are still waiting, with bated breath, for the eventual implementation of Buhari’s promise.
Buhari had promised better package which included provisions for rural posting allowance, science teachers’ allowance and peculiar allowance among others.
In a usual face-saving submission, Mr. Buhari who was represented by Prof. Yemi Osinbajo at the 2022 World Teachers’ Day celebration in Abuja, said the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission had completed work on the reviewed remuneration package for teachers in basic and secondary schools.
Are they telling us relevant agencies of government needed two, three years before this can be achieved? It is unthinkable. It certainly turns logic on its head, that the federal government would make a promise and without remorse turn around to defend why it’s been encumbered to deliver on its promises for a period of time more than two years.
It is nothing but empty promises.
This goes to show that these our society reformers deserve more than empty promises. They deserve to be treated with dignity, respect, and love. They occupy unique position, and as such, influence the formative years of every child. A good teacher coaxes and helps a student to understand his abilities and become a better human being; and in the process, help immensely in societal growth and development.
They obviously need to be pampered and celebrated.
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