By David Akinwunmi

Often, we neglect teachers but celebrate the achievements of successful and talented people, while we fail to hold in high regard the potters who moulded them. Many fail to acknowledge the teachers who actually tutored these achievers and effectively incubated such talents in their embryonic stage.

Apparently, our society has failed to appreciate its teachers over time. This has, in my view, resulted in a spattering number of influences on our society.

The teaching profession, being observed in a general sense, is amongst the oldest professions in the world, if not the oldest, practically. Certain philosophers whose works have always been alluded to centuries and recently, where teachers-Socrates tutored Plato, while Plato taught Aristotle.

Also, in the religious sojourn, Jesus, the Apostle Paul, and Muhammed (Saw) were all teachers in the general sense. Parents would also be referred to as teachers in this sense.

However, this tribute goes to the actual nation builders, the people who have sacrificed their lives and shed their blood of knowledge on the cross of education for the remission of illiteracy and underdevelopment—the professional teachers.

 Aristotle said, “Teachers, who educate children, deserve more honour than parents, who merely give them birth; for the latter provide mere life, while the former ensure a good life.” I strongly align myself with this cogent fact. 

My alignment with the aforementioned quote does not purport to displace the role of parents in nurturing a child, but rather places a teacher, parent, and an accomplished person on an abstract scale where the teacher appears to be the weightiest of all three.

It is little wonder why countries like Germany, Denmark, Ireland, the United States of America, and Luxembourg place teachers on the highest pedestal in the hierarchy of importance.

As opposed to the misruled Nigerian society, whose misrule is likewise a reflection of this discourse; wherein the common student never hopes to be a teacher someday, these nations understand teachers to be nation builders; not just some random professionals. This has, of course, birthed a number of developments to their credit.  

Yes, education is key. Who educates? Who gave the politicians the simplest definition of democracy? Who helped the doctor cultivate a keen interest in basic sciences? To whom owes the lawyer’s eloquence? Certainly, teachers.

Ultimately, I stand as a devil’s advocate against the long-lived “farmer-teacher” debate. Who dares say that a farmer is more important compared to a teacher? The farmer, like every other professional, selfishly harvests to feed himself or for economic purposes without some extra psychological diligence.

Practically, having fed the nation, the digestive system takes its place and food is passed out of the body. This is unlike the teacher, whose impact lives on, who ensures the smooth transition in the generational chain of information, details, knowledge and understanding with a touch of highly placed psychological intelligence and diligence.

That is to say, A teacher, by virtue of his professional calling, is bound to meticulously put into practice some sort of interpersonal social psychological skills, and a high level of emotional intelligence while he interacts with his students.

 Nicholas Ferroni, “Educators are the only people who lose sleep over other people’s kids.” The veracity and authenticity of this statement can not be overemphasized, as my parents happen to be passionate educationists, of whom I’ve procured practical evidence.

All this is to say that teaching is the best and most important profession in the world. Teachers should be appreciated and well respected. Appreciation of teachers should, however, extend to teachers or lecturers in institutions of higher learning.

It shouldn’t be heard of the most populous country in Africa, having gained independence some sixty-one years ago, still battling to keep up with lecturers’ salaries and entitlements.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), which has been on strike for over seven months without a salary, is a typical example of how not to treat our teachers. If this had happened to the legislative or executive arms of government, it would have been addressed.

This is just evidence of the failed leadership system in which only the teacher can change by nurturing ethics in the mind of individuals from infancy.

It’s the opinion of this writer that, in a bid to achieve a better society where politicians are not viewed as egocentric, where society does not look up to musicians and entertainers for unethical content, the government should set up a feasibly realistic method of compensation for teachers. It should ensure a long-lasting pension scheme for teachers, pay them handsomely, and then we will have a better Nigerian society.

David Akinwunmi, a 200Level student of Law at LASU 


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