BEING A TEACHER PAYS
By Sanni Kay Yusuf
If I would be availed another life on earth, I would love to live as a teacher, for it really pays to impart from one’s reservoir. It’s fulfilling to impact lives via knowledge dissemination. But there is no such second time, unfortunately; it all ends once like life in the womb.
Teaching is a great career path to behold. But many do not know, simply because of the meagre pay accruable to the mighty service. Is it any fault of theirs? No! The society – the government – is rather blameworthy for not affixing a wowing reward to the worthwhile responsibility.
But teaching pays more than the pay, irrespective of the humongousness of the figure or the numberlessness of the digits. No amount can ever be commensurate with the sacred work of a teacher. Touching lives is better than receiving papers in different currencies. The value of money stocked in the bank for oneself obviously ends at the point of death, but the value of impacting the lives of youngsters is indisputably ceaseless.
I wanted to be a lawyer, but I ended up being a teacher. I knew rich lawyers, but I knew no rich teachers. I knew famous lawyers, but I knew no famous teachers. The likes of Gani Fawehinmi, Femi Falana, Festus Keyamo et cetera really thrilled me in those days of no self-discovery. I was mesmerized by their fame and hypnotized by their names. The zeal was further oiled by the nearness of my father’s office to the high court in Ikorodu, and the nature of his work. This got me close to some of them and I would sometimes go witness court sessions where lawyers grammaticalised grandiloquently.
If anyone had told me I would end up in the classroom, I would have cursed the person in return and considered him an enemy of progress and uplift. Our teachers weren’t any close to the pedestal the lawyers were. They were not rich, neither were they famous. They were rarely seen on TV except during march past on Teachers or Workers’ Day – or during a protest over increase in salary.
Teachers were no motor riders because they could hardly afford one. They were no designer wearers because what mattered to them were their stomachs, not their bodies. Our teachers were petty traders at school even during class hours. They were doing so in order to augment their monthly take-home. They were poor workers pauperised by the society.
The ugly reality about the life of a teacher, especially in those days, made people hate to take up the job, for it apparently had no fortune. Parents would never dream that their children end up in the teaching profession, yet they wanted them to pass through teachers at school. What a disservice to logic! (Read THE TRAVAILS OF THE TEACHER (1))
Thank God the song is gradually becoming danceable and the situation no more sour as it used to be sore in those years of yore. Teachers now ride cars of their own and live in houses built with their salaries. At least, the job is now relatively assuring, although not yet satisfactory.
The joy of a teacher lies in his touching of lives, not in the money he receives. Isn’t it incredible to see one being celebrated by one’s students – some of the lives effectually touched by a teacher?
A teacher – not a cheater – widens his scope of mental shelve as he teaches his students. He becomes more knowledgeable as he gives out from his own knowledge. He is forever refreshed as he freshens the brains of his students. Is knowledge not better than money, even though the latter is salted by the former? A teacher is better informed, for the uninformed is obviously deformed. (Read MY TEACHER: PRIDED BUT PITIABLE)
It’s high time we changed the sound to align with the poem. If truly the development of any nation lies in the education of its people, we’ve got to redirect our orientation towards satisfactory remuneration of teachers so that best brains will willfully take up the job.