My phone rang early one morning, around 6.30 am. I checked and it was one of my distant relatives who just finished his National Diploma exam and is working on his project. A lot of things went through my mind because I felt it odd that he should call me by that time of the day.
I picked the call and didn’t waste time to ask him if all was well. He told me that he couldn’t sleep throughout the night because he was thinking of the way forward. His parents reside in the village and he doesn’t want to go back there when he graduates. All his close relatives that live in town do not want him to come over because they can’t afford to harbour him till he finds his bearings.
My heart goes out to him because I know what it feels like to be lost. I don’t blame him because our education system doesn’t prepare students for life after school. Our schools only admit and release students after some years without bothering to find out where they will go to. That was the situation this young man found himself. He really needed my help.
Some people may wonder why he chose to call me. Anyway, I facilitated his admission into the school I work with. In fact I was the person that encouraged him to further his education instead of being idle in the village. So I guess he believes that I have the right ‘connection’ that will secure a job for him. How I wish he knows better.
Well, back to my story. I called him later in the day and told him to prepare his CV and start sending them out. I also told him that he should make sure that all the private schools close to his residence have his CV. His response to this later suggestion was what prompted me to write this article.
This young man said, and I quote, “Aunty, school kwa? So, ntacha afufu na FSS mbia kuzibe na school?” Translated, it reads “Aunty, school? So after all the stress and sufferings I passed through in FSS I will end up as a school teacher?”
Don’t worry about him; I’m still working on his psyche. He’s not the first person that has given me this type of response and finally ended up a teacher, albeit a temporary one.
I know it is not advisable for people to go into a profession they don’t like. But if I may ask, how many Nigerian youths know the different professions that exist not to talk of the ones they like? All they know is that they want to be gainfully employed, make money, buy a car, live in a comfortable apartment, marry, have children and live goes on.
And for those that know what they really want, is it easy for them to land their dream jobs? We know the rate of unemployment in Nigeria so we don’t need to discuss that now. The thing I actually want to bring here is one of the ways we can reduce the number of our unemployed confused youths on the street. That one way is the teaching job.
There are so many reasons why teaching profession will keep reducing the number of the unemployed in Nigeria. The first is that private schools are springing up everyday, and they all have students. Someone once said that private sector will soon take over the Nigerian education sector, and I agree with this. Just take a look around you and tell me if you didn’t see the signboard of a private school. These schools need teachers. And some of them need marketers too (in case you have an interest in that area).
The second reason is that the population of the country is increasing. That means that the birth rate is increasing. These children must go to school, and somebody must teach them. Therefore, teachers must always be gainfully employed.
The third reason is that because of competition, schools have started including special subjects and extra-curricular activities to their curricula. For example, when we were in primary school, we only faced our regular English, Mathematics, Igbo and ‘Note’ (*wink*. If you know you know. Lol). Ok, ‘Note’ was actually the name we pupils call General Studies (Basic Science, PHE and co) because we copy notes on them. So, back to where I was. Today, in our primary schools, we have subjects like Music, French, Phonics and so many others. Some schools even hire separate teachers for Mathematics and English. These are new developments that kept removing people from the labour market.
The last reason I want to give here is that on-the-job-training is prevalent in school system. I know that those with teaching certificates will debate this. But I want to make something very clear here. See, some of the best and most devoted teachers I’ve known didn’t study any teaching certificate course. I have seen trained teachers that are good, and I have the ones that are so bad that they are not fit to have the teaching license. I believe that what is most important here is that the person should have a sound knowledge of the subject and the willingness to learn the intricacies associated with the job.
I’ll like to suggest here that while you are waiting for those jobs that you are not sure of when they will come, pick up a teaching appointment from a nearby school. Most schools are busy conducting interviews because they need to fill some vacancies by September. So why don’t you apply for a position before the term begins?
You have so many things to gain as a teacher. To start with, you have access to different existing knowledge from the research works of others. All you need to do is find them, take them down into your notes and then pass them on to your students. This will even help you if you go for tests and interviews in related industries.
Teaching profession makes it possible for people to have plenty of time for side hustles. I mean, you are in school by 7.30 in the morning, and by 3.00 in the afternoon you are on your way home. Besides, you don’t work during the weekends, and you have your holidays. So all you have to do is look for something else you can do within those spare times. For a list of some side hustles you can go into, click here.
Those that can teach special subjects can decide to go into part time jobs which will allow them to cover as many schools as possible. A friend of mine that teaches phonics covers four schools in Onitsha. And they use the textbooks written by her. So you can imagine.
I always tell people I encouraged to look for teaching jobs to relax and try out the job first. If they don’t like the profession, they can always leave. Nobody is going to force them to stay. But at least, they won’t keep asking, or should I say begging for financial assistance during their waiting period.
Please, tell that unemployed youth you know to send his or her application letter to schools. Our schools need young vibrant and intelligent teachers.