The TeacherFIRE™ Revolution: A Word on The HEAD and The HEART

 When we say a teacher is on fire we do not only talk about brilliance, knowledge and dissemination of same, which are the characters of an ordinary teacher, who do not succeed beyond ministering to the HEADS of his or her pupils and not their soul (mind, will and emotion). In the course of our work we have come across many brilliant teachers, but only few are able to combine ministering to the pupils’ HEAD with reaching their HEART.

Since nobody CARES how much you know until they know how much you CARE, an attempt to reach the HEAD, without first reaching the HEART fails to produce a complete child, which should be the personal goal of a teacher and an institution of learning.  Joseph Prince shared his experiences about two of his teachers. He wrote an article and quoted a verse of the Bible thus, ‘professing to be wise, they became fools.’ The teacher remarked, ‘good quote.’ He shared that by virtue of that token experience of commendation, he loved the subject and the teacher and would not forget the essay.  

 He however hated Mathematics. That was not the case initially. In fact, he loved Mathematics until one day when one of his friends made a mistake in a Mathematics class and the teacher threw away his exercise book from the window. The experience stuck with everyone in the class, including him and introduced fear. Fear became a blockage and translated into hatred for the subject for him.

Someone said, ‘One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our HUMAN FEELINGS.  The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.’

A study was carried out in Singapore among pupils. The question was, do they like school? Their response was that they do not like school. To the question why? They are ALWAYS scolded in school by their teachers instead of being inspired.  If the foregoing is the case in a Third World country like Singapore, how much more a Third World country like Nigeria?

Therefore we desire to ignite the TeacherFIRE™ Revolution, where it does not exist, fan it into a consuming conflagration, where it exists as a little flicker and affirm it with fuel of encouragement into full-blown maturity, where it is already in force.

 I strongly believe that the peak of a teacher’s VISION and DUTY is summed up thus, ‘the task of the excellent teacher is to stimulate “apparently ordinary” people to unusual effort.  The tough problem is not in identifying winners:  it is in making winners out of ordinary people.’

Teaching in The State of Nature: I believe the Third World, particularly the African teacher teaches in the State of Nature. What is the state of nature?

You see, I am not oblivious of the fact that we live in a challenged country, where a lot of things are not working. I believe every of our problem as a people must be located within the state of the nation. We live in a nation without foundation. There is no national vision we are conforming to as a nation.  Our society does not exist by the force of identifiable values.

Orderly and priority thinking is alien to us. As it stands today, it takes swimming against the tide for anyone or institution to maintain sanity and achieve excellence in any area of endeavour in this country.

Patriotism is a concept that has three sources of definition in our dear country. The government and its officials define patriotism as crass sycophancy, booth-licking and unquestioned submission to the actions and omission of the government at all levels.  The people in government equate the state with government. They try to deny the people distinct existence of the state and government.

The mark of patriotism according to government is to conform and kowtow to the policies and program of government whether the benefits are evident to you or not as a citizen. To do otherwise to be labeled a dissident, rabble-rouser or disgruntled element. They quote to the people John F Kennedy’sask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.’

To the citizens, particularly, the conscious ones, patriotism is nothing but a manipulative concept devised by government and its official to secure by propaganda and subterfuge the unalloyed cooperation as they are denied their rights as citizens.

The citizens believe that by the character of the African states, equivocation and outright deception has over the years become the trademarks in running or neglecting to run the affairs of state. The citizens laugh at the governments and its officials when they quote to them J.F. Kennedy’s ‘ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.’ They believe that the officials of government do not understand that Kennedy, when making the unforgettable statement was reminding the people of America of the commitment of the State to the welfare of the people under the principle of social contract, which was enjoying flourishing attention in the American society.

The citizens concludes that Kennedy was only saying, since you know that the nation of United States of America has consistently proven that it will always protect your interests of political, economic and social powers, therefore ‘ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.’

 The main justification of the people for the foregoing definition and thinking is the fact that government officials have not led by example since the flag independence of our great nation. According to our standard, when the government officials talk about sacrifices, it is only for the other members of the polity and not the officials of government. The officials keep living large, but they encourage the rest of the people to live thin.

For example in Nigeria between 1979 and 1983, the Federal Government led by Alhaji Shehu Sagari began the Austerity Measures campaign. The crux of the campaign was that Nigerians should sacrifice, cut down on personal spending and maintain a moderate life. The opposite was the lifestyle of the officials of that government. So was Structural Adjustment Program under General Babangida, which claimed to structure everything except the diversion of State funds to personal purses of government officials.

Recently, President Goodluck Jonathan called on Nigerians to sacrifice for the progress of Nigeria. It would have been expected that despite all that Nigerians are going through at the moment, the president would have listed areas where he wanted Nigerians to sacrifice. It would have also marked out as a departure from the norm, if he has also itemized areas where he has sacrificed for this country in the past, areas, where he is sacrificing at the moment and where he intends to sacrifice in the future.

The third source of definition patriotism is as it is found in the dictionary. It means ‘a devoted love, support, and defense of one’s own country; national loyalty and willingness to sacrifice for it.’ I think this definition speak for itself and needs no further explanation.

The phrase that caught my attention in the definition is ‘one’s own country.’ The phrase ‘one’s own country’ communicate to me that the foundation of patriotism is a person’s sense of belonging to a country. Sense of belonging comes with the tangibility of ownership. It comes with citizenship.

A person is a citizen if he can boast of the following three powers: the first is called political power. It is the power of the people to choose his or her leader in a free and far election. This power also extends to the power of the people to be voted for. The second is called economic power. It is the power to have access to basic needs of life like food, shelter over the head and body, health, education and security. The Third power is called social power. This is the unfettered access to social amenities and infrastructures like good roads, consistent supply of electricity, good working environment and the likes.

The truth is that any person in a country, who does not exercise the foregoing powers, cannot be properly referred to as a citizen and therefore such person may not be expected to be patriotic. Patriotism is the fruit that proceed from citizens of their country.

The bottom line is that our nation is drawing back to the state of nature and in the state of nature; everybody is in a survival mood. When people are in a survival mode like it is in our country today, people are prone to seeking their own. It is a common saying that a sick person does not donate blood.

Teachers do not live in the moon. They are sourced from this society. They are touched and torched with our national infirmities, which I have tried to analyze above.

Thank you for visiting…Think the CHILD…Think TODAY…Think the FUTURE…

Note: Excerpted from my forthcoming book: ChildProtectionCREED Handbook. Watch out…

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