‘Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.’
This is a call to perpetual commitment to self-improvement. Teachers must make it a point of duty to invest heavily in their personal development. This is a major issue in the teaching profession in Nigeria today. I was training about 250 teachers after their long vacation and I asked them how many of them read a book during the long vacation. Amazingly, none of them read one book. I asked how many of them watched a documentary. Only one person signified that she did. I asked how many of them watched foreign movies or the local home video. Almost everybody did.
Many teachers do not know that their status in life is determined by their contribution. Their contribution is determined by the quality of their minds. The quality of their mind is determined by what they fed into it through the ear and the eye gates. Teachers need to understand that their relevance in the teaching profession is dependent on their knowledge base.
I am yet to see where murmuring and grumbling lead to relevance, respect and promotion. Murmuring and grumbling work together as active ingredients to produce the dregs of any profession. Contributors and lead professionals do not complaint, the act. They confront a situation with knowledge and demystify same and become wonders unto many, their superior, colleagues and subordinate alike.
As I always tell teachers that their next promotion is in their hands. I give them the illustration of a person sitting on a chair. The chair already has a capacity of the weight of the person, it can accommodate. Once the person sitting on the chair increases in weight, the chair must as a matter of necessity give way. I liken the chair to their present position in their profession and the quality of their mind to their present weight. As they continue to build the muscles of their minds through self-improvement, a time comes, when they become bigger than their present position and the position must of necessity reject them and push them to a higher position.
I tell teachers to spend more time building career security instead of job security. Job security is what you do to secure a job. Career security is a commitment to developing yourself to meet up with the global standard of your profession. I see many foreigners, who come into Nigeria to lead the school system. I have challenged our teachers that must be dreaming of the days when they too will be foreigners working in other countries by virtue of their contribution and relevance.
It is not farfetched. It is only a height for the few, who will boldly take the bull of their destiny by the horn and begin to sow the seed of self-improvement until they find themselves at the pinnacle of their profession.
Permit me to submit here that we cannot help the children under our care above how much we know of ourselves, the pupils and the environment in which they are being raised.
Highlights of What the Teacher Should Know
Find below, the highlights of some of the things, I believe a teacher should know to enable him act in the best interest of the child and be a reliable agent of protection:
To self and society
In imparting and defending the knowledge of
Organising human minds for
National and global benefits and advancement
Love for humanity
The Basics of the Child’s Right Act
- According to the 1999 Constitution an ‘Act’ or ‘Act of the National Assembly’ means any law, which takes effect under the provisions of this Constitution as an Act of the National Assembly while ‘Law’ means a law enacted by the House of Assembly of a State.
- The Act has 278 Sections and 11 Schedules.
- The Child’s Rights 2003 was enacted by the National Assembly of the Federal Republic on Nigeria and has 31st July, 2003. It is ‘AN ACT TO PROVIDE AND PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF A NIGERIAN CHILD; AND OTHER RELATED MATTERS.
- Who is a child? According to Section 277, a child is anyone below the age 18.
- For the Act to be enforceable in a State is must be passed into law by the House of Assembly of the State
Basic Rights and Responsibilities of Children:
- Survival which includes the rights of the child to life, good health, balance nutrition and related matters, Key Household Practices (KHHP) (see Sections 12 & 13);
- Development, which include the development of the child, spirit, soul and body (see Sections 15 & 29);
- Protection, which include protection of the child from child labour, child trafficking, ritual killing, sexual, physical, emotional abuses and neglect (see Sections 21-52)
- Participation, which include the right of the child to be involved in matters that concerns them (see Sections 3(1) (2), 6. 7, 8, 13, 19 & 20
- Sections 19 and 20 Establishes Responsibilities of ACTS 1920: We believe and agree that one of the high points of the Child’s Rights Act, 2003 is Section 19 & 20, which gives expression to the age-long truism that freedom without responsibility is the breeding ground for chaos.
- The Act therefore outlines certain responsibilities for the Nigerian child as follows:
- working towards the cohesion of their families
- respecting their parents and elders
- placing their physical and intellectual capabilities at the service of the State,
- contributing to the moral well-being of the society,
- strengthening social and national solidarity,
- preserving the independence and integrity of the country,
- respecting the ideals of freedom, equality, humaneness, and justice for all persons, relating with others in the spirit of tolerance, dialogue and consultation
- contributing to the best of their abilities solidarity with and unity with Africa, and the world at large.
Meet our Models:
Steve Mariotti, whose story we have already told did something significant, which I will like to highlight again here for the purpose of the point we just discussed. It is important to highlight that Mariotti decided to become a teacher as a commitment to social work in a notorious neighborhood. He became the hero of the community and the pupils by going beyond his curriculum to introduce entrepreneurial lesson, which is a form of Life Skill to his pupils, who were born into poverty and violence. His strategy worked and changed their lives forever.
I have also shared with you Ron Clark’s story earlier. It gives me great pleasure to bring him back in buttressing the principle just shared. Clarke is an example of an all-round teacher. He knew his subject. He updated himself with current affairs. He is interested in helping his pupils to learn and understand life skill. Thus his did not reward his pupils for their academic attainments alone; he decided to honour them for their innate gifts and talents. Every pupil in his class was a winner.
He validated their gift and talents and helped them to develop confidence in the dissemination of same. He was committed to arming them with life skills, which he believes are critical to their advancement in life.
He took the same legacy to Ron Clarke Academy where mandatory field trips are part of the curriculum. Let me give you some highlights of Ron Clark’s school.
Each classroom provides students with technology such as notebook computers, interactive whiteboards, digital cameras, projectors, and audio video equipment. In addition to the technologically-equipped classrooms, the school provides students with accessible amenities such as a recording studio, a darkroom, a two-story vaulted ceiling library, a gymnasium, and a dance studio.
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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