By Ezim Osai, for 9jeducation
Monday, November 4 2013
Monday, November 4 2013
|Ezim talking to Students|
"People will not always believe in you, people will not always help you. All you have to do is to believe in yourself and your cause"
On the 14th of October, 2013, a particular thought crossed my mind; my thought was on how I could do more for Nigeria that has done so much for me with the little that I have. After much analysing and thinking, I decided to do something that I have always loved and which drew from part of my skillset: I decided to teach.
Deciding to teach was just the beginning, the questions of who to teach, what to teach, when to teach, how to teach and where to teach were still unanswered. After much analysing and thinking once again, I decided to teach senior secondary students and I decided to focus on Choosing Courses, Careers and Institutions, ICT and Social Media and also on Character Development. Knowledge on these topics was something I believed was lacking in a number of our undergraduates today and also lack of knowledge of these topics was the reason a number of JAMBITES did not get admission into their desired institutions or admission to study their course of choice. Knowing what I wanted to teach and how I wanted to teach it was one thing, the next was how to convince principals and administrators to give me some time to talk to their students and for this, I sought help from my personal bank of knowledge and experience: my mother. My mother explained to me the approach to take, things to say, what to wear, and the schools to go to. She went further to even help me prepare the building blocks of my lecture and really saved me a lot of time in doing so.
Due to the Eid break, I was only able to go to the chosen schools from Thursday the 15th of October. Following my mother’s advice, the first school I visited was my Alma Mater, DPPS High School, Ogwashi Uku, which was in a neighbouring town. After pleasantries and greetings I explained to the principal the purpose of my visit and the enthusiasm which he greeted it with was a real confidence booster. When I left his office about ten minutes later for my next school, I was very confident in my abilities and I was positive every other school would be a piece of cake (of course I was wrong). The next school I visited was West End Mixed Secondary School, Asaba where things did not go as smoothly. After waiting for over two hours by the corridor, I was finally ushered in to discuss with the principal and administrative staff. When they had heard my proposal, the principal referred me to the guidance counsellors saying that they were in the best position to listen to and make sense of my proposal (in less pleasant words).
Tired and angry at being blown off, I proceeded to talk to the Guidance Counsellors where I must say the reception was considerably warmer (one of the counsellors happened to worship at the same church that I did :D), the head Guidance Counsellor gave me another appointment on the 21st and asked for an official letter. Leaving West End Mixed, I was hungry, tired and frustrated as I wondered why people were making things difficult when all I wanted to do was help. All that kept coming to my mind at that point was my own words the night before: ‘People will not always believe in you, people will not always help you. All you gotta do is to believe in yourself and your cause’.
The next day being Friday the 16th, I proceeded to my second (or first) Alma Mater depending on how you look at it, Marble Hill School, Okpanam. I graduated from the primary section of MHS but had kept in touch with the school as that was where I held my first official teaching job. Talking to the administrator there was very peaceful and I was given a date for the lecture the following week. Following the warm reception at MHS, I took the long journey to my next school of choice: Federal College of Education: Demonstration, Asaba. Although I was reluctant to go to another public school, I just could not shake the feeling that I was doing it for the students and I had to be prepared to encounter hardships. Getting there and talking to the principal was a breeze (much to my surprise) and I was given a date the following week.
On Monday the 21st, I went for my appointment with the head Guidance Counsellor at West End Mixed and re-presented my proposal accompanied by my letter to her. Following that, I was put in contact with the supervisor of SS2 class and I was given a date within that week. With all days from Tuesday to Friday booked, I put finishing touches on the pointers and markers of my lecture and Tuesday the 22nd saw me visiting Marble Hill School, Okpanam.
The biggest challenge I faced was on how to begin the lecture but with several months as a teacher and a couple of months as a politician in my university, it was not a big hitch. I went through most of the points I had outlined in my lecture material under an hour and I believe lives were touched. The feedback and response I got from MHS was encouraging, but most of all, I was proud of myself for having said something which I could see had an impact on another person’s life.
From Wednesday to Friday, I visited DPPS High School, West End Mixed Secondary School, and Federal College of Education: Demonstration, respectively. With positive responses and a lot of positive feedback, it made ‘the exercise’ worth it in the end. Touching lives and helping people and interacting with them were things I never knew could be as interesting as they were. Although I could not visit so many schools, I am proud of myself for the little I have done and I know that someday one of the students who sat through my lecture will do his own quota in making Nigeria a better place for the Nigerian student.
First and foremost, I have to thank God for the renewed strength and zeal to see The Exercise through to the end. I also have to thank Him for inspiration, forbearance and utterance without which I would not have performed as well as I did.
I want to thank my mother Mrs Hauwa Osai for helping her son on this one, God bless you mom!
My best friend and technical assistant Preye Oyinsede who is responsible for all the pictures and videos you see (and don’t see). Thank you, Preye.
To @Sonaike for taking so much interest in The Exercise and constantly encouraging me with her kind words, God bless you :D.
And finally, to the 9jeducation team for inspiring me and helping me and other young writers and students who share the same vision of making education in Nigeria better than it is now and also for funding and sponsoring this project. Thank you, guys.