Joining the league of educators making an impact in their community didn’t just happen by chance, it is a result of intentionality.
A little background to how I delve into the teaching profession.
Growing up in the city of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. I had admired teachers a lot. I would come home after school to have my class, where I assembled my neighbours to teach them all I had learned in school.
Although that was my routine, my dad didn’t feel like there was a future for me in teaching. He didn’t bully me to choose another profession however he made me fall in love with the profession of his choice.
My dad bought me a very big Chambers dictionary and would take me to the federal high court around my house to listen to court proceedings, boom like magic, it worked.
I became fascinated by my new found profession. I looked forward to putting on white and black to attend lectures at the university and most especially having others call me -MY LORD.
After several failed attempts to get admission to study law, I knew it was time to ask myself ‘what exactly I was on the earth for’ I picked up the book THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE by Rick Warren and I knew at that point that I had been chasing shadows all the while.
I applied again this time to study English and Literary studies. I got the admission I had long waited for and after 4years graduated as the BEST IN THE DEPARTMENT. That was my first major achievement, however, with it came its challenges.
I started my teaching career officially during my NYSC and every single night I looked forward to meeting my learners the next day. I knew teaching gave me fulfillment and I was ready for it.
Some well-meaning friends and family thought otherwise, they felt I had a good result to waste in the classroom earning peanuts. I remember receiving a call from my Head of Department asking me where I was working and how much I was earning when I mentioned it, he had a good laugh.
I didn’t allow myself to be discouraged. I had peace teaching and won’t stop. I registered for several paid and Free training all to become a better version of myself, these skills helped me become efficient in the classroom and opened me up for bigger opportunities.
Whilst still in the private sector, the COVID 19 broke out but as a tech-savvy educator, it was very easy to migrate online. We kept our learners engaged using various tools and platforms, it was the new normal and we were ready for it. I trained more teachers on the use of these digital tools for learning to expand their skill set.
One day while having my online class, I heard children chatting, playing, bustling, and having fun. Although not the first time but that day, I thought deeply and felt so concerned about their academics.
Why weren’t they learning like other children?
What was the government’s plan to narrow the learning divide?
All these and more bothered me. I could see the educational inequity so glaring it was obvious quality education isn’t cheap.
I knew I could play a part rather than sit and complain. I could advocate for quality education for every child. I didn’t know how or where to start from but I knew the first step was to resign from my place of work.
One day like a work of fate while surfing the internet I saw a recruitment advert for Teach for Nigeria. The vision ‘One day every Nigerian child will have access to quality education’ resonates with my vision so I applied and Yes! After many interview rounds, I made it to the fellowship to teach children in an underserved school.
At this phase of my transition, I got a grant from Azoneta for my professional development with 1million teachers. I took the courses on the I million teachers portal so passionately, it was like I had found a lost treasure.
The courses were simplified and easy to learn. I remember the course ‘Poverty 101’ in Blue Belt. When I saw the course title it sounded very funny but it created real scenarios that I would face as a teacher in a low-income community.
I Million teachers’ courses gave me a soft landing that has helped me in managing my large classroom and made me more effective in my career as a teacher in an underserved school.
As a Blackbelt holder in 1 Million Teachers, I have the opportunity to engage with other educators from other countries and even continents, this has helped to amplify my voice to a greater audience.
For me as a teacher- leader learning never ends, I am still a work in progress, as I make progress, I also encourage other teachers to do the same, prioritizing their personal and professional development to BECOME MORE than they are.
Special appreciation goes to the CEO Hakeem Subair for always identifying and providing opportunities for teachers’ growth.