The TeacherFIRE™ Revolution: The 10 Best Countries to Be a Teacher

Permit me to rounds up this part of the discussion, as I share with us an article, titled, ‘The 10 Best Countries to Be a Teacher,’ published on August 16, 2011 and posted a website known as www.onlinecolleges.net. It is my belief that the piece will be an excellent benchmark for our regulatory bodies, who may be interested in leading a revolution in the Nigerian teaching profession in the best interest of the child. The article reads…

While teachers may be educating the future leaders of the world and molding young minds, they often don’t get the respect they deserve for doing a hard, time-consuming and sometimes frustrating job. Education may not be a glamorous profession in the strictest sense, but it does garner more respect — and often more benefits — in certain parts of the world than others. Though this list by no means discusses every country where it’s good to be a teacher, it does point out some of the places where they receive the most respect, professional treatment, benefits, pay and opportunities for advancement.

1.     Luxembourg

Want to make the big bucks as a teacher? Travel to Luxembourg. The average teacher salary after 15 years is almost $70,000 annually — that’s more than anywhere else in the world. Of course, high taxes and costs of living in the tiny nation may make that number shrink a bit, but you still won’t be bad off. In addition to beautiful pastoral scenery, teachers in Luxembourg can expect to spend a great deal of time collaborating on lesson plans with coworkers and less interference from government bodies in how the school is run day-to-day. Oh…and add to that a substantial benefits package that can (and usually does) include paid professional development and a hefty pension plan.

2.     Finland

Finland has seen a lot of media coverage for its educational system in recent months — and for good reason. It is both effective and highly beneficial for teachers. The Scandinavian nation’s schools consistently perform at the top of international tests, often taking first place, and a lot of it has to do with the way they treat their instructors. Education is one of the most highly esteemed professions, and teachers have to be highly trained, with most holding a Master’s degree or higher. While salaries aren’t out of this world (comparable to the U.S., but with better benefits), teachers get complete control over their classroom, choosing the texts and lesson plans students will use (which rarely, if ever, involve homework or standardized tests). Professional development is required, but almost always subsidized by the government. If that doesn’t get you raring to sign up for a Finnish class, nothing will.

3.     Japan

Starting a teaching job in Japan? Unlike many places around the world, you won’t simply be thrown to the wolves. Japan mandates introductory programs that give teachers a more regulated introduction to full-time positions and hooks them up with a mentor they can work with during their formative years. This idea of working together is something that helps make the country one of the best places for teachers to work. Educators spend a large portion of their time each week collaborating on lesson plans that will achieve their goals, often providing valuable feedback and insights for their coworkers. Compensation is above average, benefits are substantial and teachers are a highly respected bunch, both socially and politically.

4.     Sweden

Like its neighbor Finland, Sweden has a highly respected educational system that offers a wide range of benefits to teachers of all experience levels. Its schools are consistently high-performing in international tests and, again, it might have a thing or two to do with their teachers. They are encouraged to collaborate, have time built into their work weeks for professional development (beneficial, since they have to complete 100 hours of it every year). In fact, professional development is so important to Sweden’s educational system, the government created a large grant program called “Lifting the Teachers” to help them go back to school — even paying for university courses and 80% of participants’ salaries while they only work in the classroom 20% of the time. While pay is less than the average in the U.S., the benefits and respect afforded to Swedish teachers make it one of the world’s best places to work in education.

5.     England

England has an incredibly high-achieving educational system, and part of what makes it so successful is how they treat teachers. They are given time and support to study and evaluate their own educational strategies and asked to share their findings with colleagues. This is intended to help improve the approaches and effectiveness of all teachers working in a school or school system. Additionally, the government has established a national training program to help teachers learn best-practice training techniques and provide them with resources to implement national curriculum frameworks. Often, educators are placed in groups to learn these skills from one another, and the results have been incredibly effective. Like many of the other nations on this list, teachers in England are asked to take on leadership positions and play a pivotal role in education system developments. Pay for English teachers is some of the best in the world, and the benefits and respect from the administration can’t be beat.

6.     Australia

Australia has a lot of respect for its teachers, and it shows. Teachers are compensated quite well for their work, and the government has established a number of programs to help them continually improve and grow on the job. One of the best is the Quality Teacher Programme, which provides instructors with funding to take courses, continue professional development or take part in educational conferences. Like other countries that made this list, teachers often work collaboratively, and interaction with contemporaries and continual feedback is an essential component. Teachers who choose to work in Australia’s remote Outback will enjoy even more benefits, including free laptops, airfare and personal allowances.

7.     South Korea

South Korea knows how to treat its teachers well. With respect to costs of living, educators here are some of the best paid in the world, and teaching is by and large a highly respected profession. That respect comes from the level of training and expertise they must attain to work here. After their fourth year of teaching, South Korean teachers are required to take 90 hours of professional development courses every three years. After three years on the job, they are also eligible to enroll in a five-week professional development program to obtain an advanced certificate, which provides an increased salary and eligibility for promotion. Unlike the U.S., only about 35% of teachers’ working time is spent interacting with pupils. Instead, they mostly work in a shared office space collaborating on lesson plans and formulating effective educational solutions. Something must be working right, as high school is not compulsory in the country, but 97% of young adults still finish it — higher than any other country in the world.

8.     Denmark

Teachers working in Denmark can expect good pay and benefits, aside from living amidst charming cities and countryside. The educational culture at Danish schools encourages collaborative work between teachers, and many have informal sit-downs to get feedback throughout the school year. Instructors are also encouraged to do their own research on education and curriculum effectiveness, and share their results with colleagues and other professionals. Classrooms have very low teacher-pupil ratios, so educators can focus more on individuals and are not overwhelmed by management. Overall, Denmark is one of the best places for a teacher, whether starting or coming to the end of a career, to work.

9.     Singapore

Singapore has one of the most talked-about educational systems in the world, and how they treat and support teachers could be a model for other nations. Being an instructor here takes a lot of training, not only up front, but every year. Teachers are required to complete 100 hours of professional development annually. They aren’t without support, though, and the nation’s Teacher’s Network serves as a place for professionals to share, collaborate and reflect on what works and what doesn’t. This organization also provides access to learning circles, teacher-led workshops, conferences and a well-being program, as well as a website and publications series. Newbies are especially given on-the-job support, as a master is appointed to lead the coaching and development of the teachers in each school. Even better? The government offers incentives for heading back to grad school, pay is fair (and teachers can get bonuses) and retirement plans are impressive.

10.Switzerland

In the Swiss educational system, teachers are very well paid for their work and receive a great deal of respect and encouragement — which starts from the very first year of their careers. Novice educators are required to meet in reflective practice groups twice a month, accompanied by an experienced teacher who helps them discuss common problems and refine their strategies. Additionally, the Swiss government has decentralized much of its educational decision-making, allowing teachers and their schools to play a much greater role in deciding what is best for students. Like the other nations on this list, Switzerland places a premium on professional development and helps instructors get additional training throughout their careers.

I hope our regulatory bodies and educationist alike found this piece instructive.

My Passionate Charge to Teachers

It is time to bring this segment of this discussion to an end with a passionate charge to our teachers.

In summation, I make bold to say that that my encouragement to teachers to act in The-Best-Interest-of-the-Child is not without acknowledging the missing links in the puzzle of excellent political and social practices and lack of best practices in the teaching profession in Nigeria.

My encouragement is that teachers should despite the missing links make a commitment to reinvent themselves and make a difference all the same. I know I may appear an impossible task. But, I believe that for as many as are ready to make a difference in the lives of our children, who represent our future, the task of doing all at all times in the best interest of the child is an ever-present a possibility. According to Clair Boothe, ‘there are no hopeless situations but only hopeless people.’

The truth is that at the end of life, we may have many excuses why we did not make a difference but, I must hasten to add that we will not have one reason. Why? For every excuse, we give, life will show us people, who found themselves in same or even worse circumstances and moved beyond it to make an indelible difference in a crowded world. Their reasons for daring their situation will forever nullify our excuses and render them unacceptable in the hall of fame of outstanding achievers.

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

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

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Enroll for The ChildProtectionCREED™ Mobile Academy ‘It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men,’ Fredrick Douglass Deliverables:ChildProtectionCREED™ Cds; Compelling and instructive E-Books(Minimum of 3); Written Social Empowerment Nuggets(Every other day); Weekly SMS, Attendance of the ChildProtectionCREED™ Seminar for Couple; Opportunity to nominate others for the ChildProtectionCREED™ Seminars; Hosting of the ChildProtectionCREED™ Rountable and lots more. Registration & Participation Fee: The lowest fee you have ever paid for a HIGH QUALITY, EXCEPTIONALLY IMPACTFUL and INVALUABLY REWARDING Empowerment program

Tested & Highly Recommended: ‘I commend your presentation. It was backed up with so much passion. We all found it very inspiring and will definitely recommend you to others.’ Dr. (Mrs.) C.O. Ogunsanya, Managing Director, Oxbridge Tutorial College, G.R.A. Ikeja and Chairman, Association of Private Educators of Nigeria

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The TeacherFIRE™ Revolution: Missing Links in the Teaching Profession

With the foregoing in mind, permit me to explore some identified missing link in the teaching profession in the Third World or better put the characteristics of teaching in the state of nature.

    1. Sweeping Poverty: There is sweeping poverty in the land therefore people are in different sectors in search of the good of their belly and not necessarily because they have any particular interest. The other day I was making a presentation at a parent/teacher association meeting of a big private group of schools in Lagos, and I engaged two of the teachers. The question I posed to them was simple: why are you teaching here? The answer was strange and complicated, ‘I did not find another job. I decided to pass time with this one.’ Of course a ‘pass time’ teacher will not have the presence of mind and will not do too much for his or her pupils.
    1. Poor Hiring Process: Employers of teachers do not do a thorough job in the hiring process, including ensuring the passion and character of applicants before putting them on the job. I do not think everyone, who applies for a teaching job should be given a job. The responsibility of molding a child is a delicate one that must not be left to those who we cannot vouch for. I was involved in a matter where a 24 year-old teacher was caught molesting a 6 year old girl child. The school owner rose stoutly in the deference of the teacher and his school. After much pressure, she was forced to sack the teacher. To our amazement, report soon reached us that the suspected teacher, who was released on bail by the court, had been employed by another school. To vouch for a man or woman, we must be interested in their career history.  It means we must take time to investigate a teacher very well before we open the doors of schools to them. The patience to conduct due diligence become the golden rule before we employ teachers. To do otherwise is to open up the children to the lions in sheep clothing. I have listened to school owners, who run elementary school saying that as a   safety measures, they do not hire male teachers. They only hire female teachers. Well, that may be a good idea, but I must say that it is not sound enough negate the need for due diligence in hiring. Recent developments show that a teacher is not safe with the children by virtues of her or her gender. A school owner once told us the story a female teacher, who stripped herself half-naked and asked the primary school pupils to massage her back. Lesbianism is fast becoming the order of the day. A lady, who we spoke to recently, was introduced to lesbianism by her female mentor. That could have been a teacher. I lost my virginity to an older female at the age of six. She could have been a school teacher. A lady recently told us how her female house-help was in the habit of fiddling with the penis of her son until the three year old boy reported the matter to her mother. We are living perilous times, where we need to be very careful.
    1. Poor remuneration and welfare package for teachers:  Unknown to the employers, ‘Good teachers are costly, but bad teachers cost more.’ Published on the website, http://www.worldsalaries.org is an article titled, Teacher Salaries – International Comparison. The article did a comparative analysis of teachers’ salaries in 26 countries.  The United States of America tops the international rating list. The average salary of a teacher in the United States of America is put at five thousand, two hundred and sixty six dollars. Twenty-three percent is deducted as income tax, municipal tax, provincial/state income tax, social security or (pension plan, medicare). The teacher puts in thirty-six point six hours weekly. His or her job descriptions include: (i) prepares annual programmes of work for classes in secondary education establishment; (ii) gives instruction and conducts discussions; (iii) maintains discipline in class; (iv) prepares, assigns and corrects exercises; (v) sets, administers and marks tests and examinations; (vi) reports on pupil progress to head teacher and parents.  The last country rated is European country known as Romania. It is curious that no African country is rated.  Though our advocacy through the TeacherFIRE program is that teachers must act at all      times in the child, we believe that the task is made easy where the welfare of teachers is made a priority in the scheme of affairs in the schools system. Every tree produces after its kind. It is high time we began to invest in our teachers what we want them to be to our children, if we are really interested in the future of our dear nation, which our children represent.
    1. Lack of teaching tools/aids and favourable learning environment for teachers to do their job:   The teaching environment, particularly in the public schools and in some private schools in Nigeria is not fit. Besides there are not contemporary teaching aids to help the teachers in the discharge of their responsibilities. Many schools owners will first invest in their personal comfort instead of establishing structures that will aid the learning of their pupils.
    1. Lack of Unifying Leadership:  Lack of leadership within the teachers’ body, which is able to represent diverse interests and galvanize members to pursue common goals.
    1. Lack of a genuine relationship between parents and teachers as partners in progress. Some schools actually frustrate relationships between teachers and parents. Parents/teachers associations and their meetings may not serve the personal cause of an individual pupil, who to the knowledge of the teacher needs special attention.  How effective is our open day? Parents do not attend. In most cases they send a staff or relation, who for sundry reasons gives them reports that are many miles away from the truth.
    1. Comatose regulatory bodies: The regulatory bodies like the Ministry of Education, pressure groups are not alive to their responsibilities. For example the ministry of education at the state and federal levels do not have a clear database of the pupils in private and public primary and secondary schools, not to talk of the numbers of teachers.

It is like the ministries of education had abandoned their responsibilities, particularly in respect of private schools. Many are private schools, which are not registered with the ministries of education both at the state and federal levels.

I was in a meeting the other day when an official of the ministry of education in one of the leading states in Nigeria argued that a program aimed at creating awareness for the Child’s Rights Law of the State should not be taken to schools, which are not registered. I kicked against the position and posited that it is the failure of the ministry of education that they do not solution to the problem of school running unregistered. I further stated that to exclude the unregistered school will mean to open children, who attend such schools to abuse.

It goes without saying that when a school is not registered, it is not regulated and when it is not regulated, the lives of the pupils and the teachers alike are at the mercy of the school owners. Expecting teachers to give their best in an unregistered and unregulated school is almost a laughable attempt at hallucination. Even for schools that are registered, I am not aware that are stated conditions of engagement of teachers. The conditions of service, including remuneration are left to the whims and caprices of the school board and owners.

The ministries of education and all other agencies must arise and regulate the school system in Nigeria. They must the interested in the welfare packages of teachers and other in the workforce of the school system.

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

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

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Enroll for The ChildProtectionCREED™ Mobile Academy ‘It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men,’ Fredrick Douglass Deliverables:ChildProtectionCREED™ Cds; Compelling and instructive E-Books(Minimum of 3); Written Social Empowerment Nuggets(Every other day); Weekly SMS, Attendance of the ChildProtectionCREED™ Seminar for Couple; Opportunity to nominate others for the ChildProtectionCREED™ Seminars; Hosting of the ChildProtectionCREED™ Rountable and lots more. Registration & Participation Fee: The lowest fee you have ever paid for a HIGH QUALITY, EXCEPTIONALLY IMPACTFUL and INVALUABLY REWARDING Empowerment program

Tested & Highly Recommended: ‘I commend your presentation. It was backed up with so much passion. We all found it very inspiring and will definitely recommend you to others.’ Dr. (Mrs.) C.O. Ogunsanya, Managing Director, Oxbridge Tutorial College, G.R.A. Ikeja and Chairman, Association of Private Educators of Nigeria

Further Details: Contact Faculty Officer: T: 234-8186830275 E: fo@taiwoakinlami.com

I FEAR…

I fear that many underrate the importance of childhood and its ETERNAL IMPACT…
I fear that many are not aware that the foundation of manhood/womanhood is laid in CHILDHOOD…
I fear that unknown to many, they have been robbed of their dignity of human person from CHILDHOOD and the live far lesser than the potentials of human, installed by God in the beginning…
I fear that many have tagged as their PERSONALITY & TEMPRAMENT manifestations of the terrible errors of the custodians of their CHILDHOOD…
I fear that the people in the immediate category are not even aware of their SICK state, so they are not in search of help…
I fear that these ones even rebuff help when another takes the initiative; it is impossible to help a man or woman, who does not believe he/she have a problem…
I fear they will reproduce the AVOIDABLE errors of the custodians of their CHILDHOOD in the children under their influence either as primary or secondary caregivers…
I fear that many have accepted as the CLUES to their CALLING and PASSION the obsessions of the custodians of their CHILDHOOD, aimed at CLOANING them after their own IMAGE and not after God’s IMAGE, according to His eternal plan before the world began…
I fear that the custodians in the immediate category do not know that their God-ordained authority is to GUIDE/LEAD a child into his destiny but it is not to CHOOSE/IMPOSE it…
I charge you today to kindly allay my FEARS…
PAUSE for a moment and ask the critical question: are you an unconscious PRISONER of your abused PAST or a conscious PIONEER of your glorious FUTURE?
Make it your Dedicated AMBITION not to rest until you find CREDIBLE answers under GOD’s INSPIRATION…
May the LORD guide us all.
Have an INSPIRED week.
Taiwo Akinlami Sober on his knees on the LORD’s day.(www.taiwoakinlami.com)

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…

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Enroll for The ChildProtectionCREED™ Mobile Academy ‘It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men,’ Fredrick Douglass Deliverables:ChildProtectionCREED™ Cds; Compelling and instructive E-Books(Minimum of 3); Written Social Empowerment Nuggets(Every other day); Weekly SMS, Attendance of the ChildProtectionCREED™ Seminar for Couple; Opportunity to nominate others for the ChildProtectionCREED™ Seminars; Hosting of the ChildProtectionCREED™ Rountable and lots more. Registration & Participation Fee: The lowest fee you have ever paid for a HIGH QUALITY, EXCEPTIONALLY IMPACTFUL and INVALUABLY REWARDING Empowerment program

Tested & Highly Recommended: ‘I commend your presentation. It was backed up with so much passion. We all found it very inspiring and will definitely recommend you to others.’ Dr. (Mrs.) C.O. Ogunsanya, Managing Director, Oxbridge Tutorial College, G.R.A. Ikeja and Chairman, Association of Private Educators of Nigeria

Further Details: Contact Faculty Officer: T: 234-8186830275 E: fo@taiwoakinlami.com

The TeacherFIRE™ Revolution: A Commitment to a Departure

A Commitment to a Departure: It is my irresistible conclusion that no matter how bright and laudable the vision of a school and the promises it hold give the children, who attend it a future and a hope, once the children are put in the hands of insensitive teachers, who subject them to abuse, the vision and promises are automatically truncated. They cannot be achieved, except there is divine intervention. Abuse goes to the root of the destiny of a child to mess it up.

Abuse is a distraction too hard for the fragile but promising mind of the child to handle. Abuse is a jealous occupier. He runs a fortified monopoly, which does not allow the child any breathing space. It arrives on its invitation with fear and intimidation. The trio creates a blockage, which does not only prevent the child from learning anything, but to also rob him of himself and his inherent dignity of human person. If there is any other feeling left in the child, when he is abused, it is the search for freedom. As, I have said before, childhood is not synonymous with slavery. Abuse brings with it slavery mentality. Once the child feels enslaved, he has just one mission. It is the mission to escape the confines of the prison. It does not matter the name we call the institution, family, home, school, place of worship, once the freedom of the child is attacked, he sees the place as prison. Permit me to humbly submit therefore that the number one threat to the vision, mission and core value of a school is exposure of children to any form of abuse.

It is my quest for a departure from the present situation, where most of our children are prone to all forms of abuses in the hands of their teachers, which precipitated the research which birthed the TeacherFIRE™ Revolution.

The Probing Question: The question, we were trying to answer was this: what is it that my teachers and the other ones, whose stories I have told did not know that made them to subject children under their care to the heinous abuse I narrated? There must be something they do not know. These things that they do not know are probably not taught in a teacher training school, for some of them who attended one. These things that they do not know are probably not considered in the hiring process of a school; hence such teachers find their ways into the school system in their legion. These things that they do not know probably do not form part of the orientation program of the school after hiring. There things that they do not know probably is not protected by a clear policy. These things that they do not know probably do not form part of their assessment and promotion within the school system. These things that they do not know probably are missing on the checklist of a parent, when deciding which school to register his child. These things that they do not know probably do not form part of the agenda of the Parents/Teachers Association meetings. These things that they do not know probably have escaped the radar of the conscience of the school leadership in determining the inevitable attributes of a child-friendly school. These things that they do not know probably do not have a space in the regulatory bodies’ condition for setting up a child friendly school.

Whatever the case may be, we did not know. One thing we knew was that we could find a solution under God.

What did we decide to do? God gave us wisdom to under that these things these abusive teachers do not know are hidden in the lives of conscious and sensitive teachers, who have successfully transformed the lives of the children under their care. How do we find these hidden treasures? We embarked on the studies of the biographies and autobiographies of these great souls.

Eureka! I found it! Our research of close to 15 years (which is still ongoing) shows that the teachers, who committed themselves to giving the children under their care a future and hope, without subjecting them to any form of abuse, had few attributes in common, which are lost in the radar of the conscience of today’s teachers. The one major attribute continues to reverberate in their stories of unusual impact and outstanding effectiveness: they were consumed with passion to be a permanent and unforgettable reference point of priceless value in the children’s quest for a future and a hope and there was nothing too much to sacrifice for the children, including their personal comfort, having seen the children as their own flesh and blood.

The Mission Defined: To reproduce this one attribute of these great souls, who positive impact remains indelible in the lives of the children they influence and history, the TeacherFIRE™ Revolution pursues with single-minded and unflinching commitment the mission ‘To raise a BEST-INTEREST-OF-THE-CHILD-conscious generation of teachers/instructors,     who DELIBERATELY combine DIVINE WISDOM, PASSION(ENTHUSIASM and EXCITEMENT), COMPASSION, CONVICTION, and SENSE OF MISSION to CONNECT with the child’s HEAD and  HEART, thereby IGNITING and NURTURING(through MENTORING, MODELLING and MOULDING) into MATURITY his/her GOD-endowed HUMAN INGENUITY, the fundamental trait of a COMPLETE CHILD.’

 Action Steps to the Defined Mission

–          To inspire teachers to become THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD-Compliant SOCIAL WORKERS in whose hands lie the destiny of the Nation’s Tomorrow to embrace to think beyond themselves, the seeming unfavorable conditions of service and state of the nation and embrace the spirit of change;

–          To inspire teachers to embrace as primary work ethics and tools of change the five-fold cord of social work: Divine Wisdom, Modeling, Compassion for the people, Conviction about a noble cause and Commitment to a Sense of Mission;

–          To equip teachers to become highly effective change agents in protecting the children under their care in accordance with the provisions of the Child’s Rights Act, 2003, even at the risk of sacrificial and personal discomfort;

–          To equip teachers to discover and embrace their human ingenuity, teach the children under their influence same and help them to understand their personal, family and communal responsibilities and equip them with requisite skills to be active participants in their own protection as children;

–          To encourage teachers to maintain productive relationships that promotes child protection and the best interest of the child with the school leadership, teaching and non-teaching colleagues and parent/guardians.

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

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

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Enroll for The ChildProtectionCREED™ Mobile Academy ‘It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men,’ Fredrick Douglass Deliverables:ChildProtectionCREED™ Cds; Compelling and instructive E-Books(Minimum of 3); Written Social Empowerment Nuggets(Every other day); Weekly SMS, Attendance of the ChildProtectionCREED™ Seminar for Couple; Opportunity to nominate others for the ChildProtectionCREED™ Seminars; Hosting of the ChildProtectionCREED™ Rountable and lots more. Registration & Participation Fee: The lowest fee you have ever paid for a HIGH QUALITY, EXCEPTIONALLY IMPACTFUL and INVALUABLY REWARDING Empowerment program

Tested & Highly Recommended: ‘I commend your presentation. It was backed up with so much passion. We all found it very inspiring and will definitely recommend you to others.’ Dr. (Mrs.) C.O. Ogunsanya, Managing Director, Oxbridge Tutorial College, G.R.A. Ikeja and Chairman, Association of Private Educators of Nigeria

Further Details: Contact Faculty Officer: T: 234-8186830275 E: fo@taiwoakinlami.com

The TeacherFIRE™ Revolution: Lamentation: The Scarcity of Visionary Teachers in the School System

I came to value the attributes of a visionary teacher because I did not have the opportunity of being taught by too many. I think the two teachers, who  stood out in my life was Mr. Tugbobo, My English Language teacher in class 4 and 5 in the secondary school and one of my teachers in primary school.

Unfortunately, I cannot remember the name of my primary school teacher. She was the light-in-complexion and tall.  I think she was a member of the Scripture Union of Nigeria. She would invite some of us to her house and preach to us. She showed us care beyond her responsibility as a school teacher. Faint as the memory may be, I remember some of the things she taught us, most particularly a song which goes thus: ‘good news (2 times) Christ died for me; good news (2 times), if I believe; good news (2 times) I am saved eternally; good news (2 times); that wonderful, extra, good news.’

Seeds (positive or negative) do produce. I believe strongly that this lady teacher sowed the seed of my salvation today. At a point her memory left my mind completely, but the value she taught me never left. When the fire of love is lit as a little flicker, as a seed, it has the inbuilt capacity to fan itself into an unquenchable conflagration in the hearts of men.

I guess that is why the Holy Writ enjoins us to cast our bread on many waters. I also read in the Holy Writ that ‘the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, the least of all seeds, which a man planted in his field. When it was grown, it was greater than all trees, where the birds of the air perched and nested.’ A sage once profoundly said, ‘train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.’ 

These few lines are a tribute to my unknown teacher and instruction to us all. I do not know her name but God knows. I do not have any tangible reward for her, as I do not even know where she is now, but I know heaven holds eternal rewards for her. Alive or dead, she remains a darling in my heart.  

The truth of the matter is that between primary and secondary school, I spent twelve years under the eyes of different teachers, at least six in primary school and about twenty in secondary school.  It is a sad commentary that in all of them, I found no role model, except the two mentioned above.

I have also heard the story of two teachers who, at different times, taught two great men, Peter J. Daniel and Myles Monroe. When Peter J. Daniel was in the fourth grade, his teacher, Mrs. Phillips, constantly said, “Peter J. Daniel, you’re no good, you’re a bad apple and you’re never going to amount anything” Peter was totally illiterate until he was 26. A friend stayed up with him all night and read him a copy of “think and grow rich”. Now Peter owns the street corner he used to fight on and just published his latest book: Mrs. Phillips, you were wrong! 

 Myles Monroe went to school under colonial rule. His teacher, Mr. Robertson called him all kinds of names including black monkey. He would say to him, you can never learn. The young Monroe was the bottom of a one-thousand-six-hundred pupil class.

 At a point, he encountered God and took it upon himself to learn all the subjects his teacher had hitherto convinced him that he could not learn. At the time he was graduating from the school, he was the best graduating student. When he received his plaque for being the best graduating student, he presented it to Mr. Robertson with the following words: ‘this is to you from the black monkey.’ 

Many years later, Myles Monroe, who is today an individual member of the United Nation, was speaking in London and this old man came to him for a book autograph. He revealed himself as Mr. Robertson and told him, ‘I became a Christian reading your book. Thank God you never believed all the things I said about you.’  

Please note that I am not talking 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). I must say that I came across some very brilliant teachers in my years in school, but only two were able to combine ministering to my head with reaching for my heart.  

The tragedy again is that our schools today are filled with teachers, who neither have brilliance, knowledge nor a heart for the pupils. While it is alarming when a teacher cannot reach a child beyond the head, it’s chaotic when a teacher is not able to reach neither the head nor the heart.  

Some, who are keen observers of the school system in Nigeria are of the view that the story has not change.

Well, I think, I agree with the fact that the Story has not changed! Let me share with you quickly recent field experiences:

  •  I was at a UNICEF forum the other day and found a teacher hauling abusive words at one of his pupils outside the venue of the program. The child was just being a child and I was shocked that a child being herself irked an adult teacher, who is supposed to know better and provide creative correction and modeling. 
  • I have visited many schools in the last fifteen years in the cause of this campaign and the story is not interesting in terms of teachers being concerned for the interest of the children under their care as caregivers.
  • Hear this story reported by the Daily Independent Breaking News Monday, March 21, 2005, page 5, Teacher beats student to death over N20 levy…School closed down: Tragedy recently befell Owode-Egba Grammar School in Owode Local Government area of Ogun State when a teacher beats a Senior Secondary School (SS3) student, Master Kehinde Jakede to death.  The offence of the deceased was that he refused to contribute N20 meant for send-forth party for a member of the National Service Corps (NYSC) in the school…

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

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Enroll for The ChildProtectionCREED™ Mobile Academy ‘It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men,’ Fredrick Douglass Deliverables:ChildProtectionCREED™ Cds; Compelling and instructive E-Books(Minimum of 3); Written Social Empowerment Nuggets(Every other day); Weekly SMS, Attendance of the ChildProtectionCREED™ Seminar for Couple; Opportunity to nominate others for the ChildProtectionCREED™ Seminars; Hosting of the ChildProtectionCREED™ Rountable and lots more. Registration & Participation Fee: The lowest fee you have ever paid for a HIGH QUALITY, EXCEPTIONALLY IMPACTFUL and INVALUABLY REWARDING Empowerment program

Tested & Highly Recommended: ‘I commend your presentation. It was backed up with so much passion. We all found it very inspiring and will definitely recommend you to others.’ Dr. (Mrs.) C.O. Ogunsanya, Managing Director, Oxbridge Tutorial College, G.R.A. Ikeja and Chairman, Association of Private Educators of Nigeria

Further Details: Contact Faculty Officer: T: 234-8186830275 E: fo@taiwoakinlami.com

The TeacherFIRE™ Revolution: My Story, My Motivation

 The Economist Magazine of January 4, 2011 submits, “BUDGET, CURRICULUM, CLASS SIZE– NONE HAS A GREATER EFFECT ON A STUDENT THAN HIS OR HER TEACHER.”

My story, my motivation

You must have read this story a couple of times the course of reading this treatise. I cannot promise you will not read it again. The reason is very simple. This handbook is being authored by a man who experienced an uninspiring childhood; found mercy and healing under God to tell his story to inspire a change in the way our society perceive and treat children. I have learnt to do battle and my stories have become the most potent tools in my arsenal of social empowerment advocacy.

Please be invited as I share this story again to drive my point home. They are my stories; they are also my songs of inspiration and my elixir of motivation. They are the lullaby I sing to my soul, reminding him of where God picked him from and how far He has taken him today and it has become his strongest persuasion that the brightest future is still ahead. If the stories treat the owner like this, who they should have become familiar with, how much more visiting friends like you? Prepare to hit off the revolution right now.

The memory of Dada haunts me till this day. Dada was a childhood friend. We were classmates in the Primary School and often spent our lunch break together, playing. One of our favourite games was tree climbing. But our regular, delightful game of tree climbing took a turn neither of us expected when Dada slipped on this eventful day. As one of the fragile branches of the seemingly strong tree gave way under Dada’s young foot, he fell, stomach first, on another broken branch. The branch went right into his stomach as I watched, frightened. I raised an alarm. Dada was immediately rushed to the hospital. Two or three days after, the news filtered in while we were in class, that Dada had died.

The first and only response from my class teacher was, ‘as from today, call this boy, Taiwo, Esu (Satan or the devil).’ This was in my Primary 3. Here I was, traumatized that I had lost a dear friend. As I tell this story, I still remember, Dada’s physical features. I needed all the encouragement I could get as I mourned the loss of my friend. I was also overwhelmed with fear, having grew up in a superstitious society, where it was believed that the departed would often come back to take with him a close associate. Apart from the fact that I was close to Dada, I was the last person he saw as he slipped out of consciousness.

My teacher, who should know all these, did not understand any of this. She added a measureless chunk of load to my already overweighed cross. From then forward, I carried that plague of a nickname for the remaining years of my stay in the school. Children are always in the habit of teasing their peers, often, by giving unsolicited nicknames.

When a child does not like a nickname, he would run to the teacher for protection. My case was hopeless because the teacher was the architect of the cruel nickname I bore through school. It was a case of a custodian becoming a predator. She was a predator over my soul.

What about the school authority or the head master? Pupils did not have any relationship with them. Besides my mind was too untrained to seek help or remedy from such quarters.

I think it is important to state here that leadership of schools must make deliberate efforts to develop a relationship with pupils in their schools. Pupils must be made to know, understand and accept the fact that they can report cases of abuse to the leadership of the school. They should know that they will not only be protected, when they make such reports, but the matter will be carefully investigated and resolved in the best interest of the child.

Pupils must know the offices of the leadership of the school and must be reminded regularly that they are at liberty to have audience with them (leadership) when they desire to. I also think that the leadership of schools should not only concern themselves with administrative works and hole up themselves in their offices. They must go round from time to time to familiarize themselves with the pupils.

Does that mean the leadership does not trust the teachers? Not at all. The principle of checks and balances is not addressing trust, it is addressing adherence to the general principle that are critical to the continued existence of an organization or nation.

I must also be quick to ask that besides the fact that the pupils can report cases of abuse to the leadership of the school, there must be a tested mechanism to prevent cases of abuse. As far as I am concerned prevention is better than cure.

Back to my story, I woke up every morning burdened by the fact that I would have to appear in school again to be called the devil at will by my class and school mates.

Nicknaming a child the devil is not without its spiritual and psychological effect on the child. Satan, according to the Christian faith, which I share, is a fallen and irredeemable angel. He is permanently sentenced to condemnation. Nothing good can proceed from him. He remains a menace to society and a negative influence to our world.  For a teacher to call her pupil, Satan, meant she had given up on him. It does not matter whether she knew what she was doing or not. The yardstick for justice is that, she is expected to know what she was doing.

Now I saw this as suffering for an act I did not initiate. I was not the one, who invited Dada to the field of play. I did not push him from the tree. What happened to him could have happened to me. I could not figure out why I had to be punished perpetually for a problem I did not create.

I think it was the culture or pastime of the teachers in my primary schools to punish pupils without finding their out facts properly. One day I was outside one of the classes playing with sand. A female pupil came, stood in front of me, pointed her finger at me and said, ‘he is the one.’ Before I knew it, I was bundled to the staff room where our Religion Knowledge teacher canned me black and blue. The teacher did not ask me any question. He was not interested in my own side of the story. Till today, I do not know the female pupil’s accusation. All I know is that I did not offend anybody that day.

I suffered similarly in secondary school; Saint Joseph College, Ondo. I was being bullied by a classmate, who had physical power over me. One day I was pushed to the wall and I fought back. I punched his nose and it began to bleed. A man known as Mr. Idowu found us and took us straight to the principal’s office.

At the principal’s office, I was not asked what the issues were. I was the guilty party because I was obviously the attacker. Now, that was my first time in the principal’s office. He reached for a book and simply inserted my name therein. He thereafter told me in the presence of all that my name had just been inserted in the school’s black book.

In retrospect, I feel the principal should have been interested in why I punched my classmate and if he chose to put my name in the black book, I should have been told and asked to defend myself. Again, I was not told the conditions under which a pupil’s name will be inserted in the black book and the implication thereof.  As a matter of fact I did not even know that a black book existed until the day in question.

I left the principal’s office defeated and went home sorrowfully to nurse the psychological impact of the fact that my name was in the school’s black book. I felt unjustly treated and cheated and yet there was no place of refuge to run to. As usual, I was in the cold, carrying my own crosses.

The emotional weight of coping with the foregoing experiences was enormous and costly for my growing mind. It was incalculable. It is by the mercies of God, who separated me from my mother’s womb that I was not consumed.

I must say here confidently that teachers like my Primary 3 and religion knowledge teachers are in the majority in most of our schools, particularly public schools, today.

I think I should sign out here. Thank you for visiting today. Sure you learnt one or two things on how to Think the CHILD…Think TODAY and Think the FUTURE.

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

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Enroll for The ChildProtectionCREED™ Mobile Academy ‘It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men,’ Fredrick Douglass Deliverables:ChildProtectionCREED™ Cds; Compelling and instructive E-Books(Minimum of 3); Written Social Empowerment Nuggets(Every other day); Weekly SMS, Attendance of the ChildProtectionCREED™ Seminar for Couple; Opportunity to nominate others for the ChildProtectionCREED™ Seminars; Hosting of the ChildProtectionCREED™ Rountable and lots more. Registration & Participation Fee: The lowest fee you have ever paid for a HIGH QUALITY, EXCEPTIONALLY IMPACTFUL and INVALUABLY REWARDING Empowerment program

Tested & Highly Recommended: ‘I commend your presentation. It was backed up with so much passion. We all found it very inspiring and will definitely recommend you to others.’ Dr. (Mrs.) C.O. Ogunsanya, Managing Director, Oxbridge Tutorial College, G.R.A. Ikeja and Chairman, Association of Private Educators of Nigeria

Further Details: Contact Faculty Officer: T: 234-8186830275 E: fo@taiwoakinlami.com