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Many years ago, while studying in the United States and I was doing what is called substitute teaching in a High School, as part of helping myself in my schooling, I listened to the conversation of some Professional teachers who were lamenting over the condition of services.

Many years ago, while studying in the United States and I was doing what is called substitute teaching in a High School, as part of helping myself in my schooling, I listened to the conversation of some Professional teachers who were lamenting over the condition of services.


From their conservations, it appeared to me that they were lamenting over their condition of service. But from the details of their discussions, there was no doubt that indeed, they were not happy with the condition of their service as teachers. Having listened to their conversations and having gotten the gist of their grievances, my mind quickly flashed back to my country to reflect over the conditions of teachers in my country.
Honestly, although these American classroom teachers were complaining against their conditions of service, I sighed grudgingly and moved away from their environment. Because, I said to myself, if these teachers have the slightest idea of the condition of service to which teachers in Nigeria were exposed they would thank their celestial stars as those “loved by God.” But, although they were protesting their condition of service, each of them spoke of high value and respect which they have for their teaching profession. I remembered vividly as one of them remarked, “my pride and sustainable happiness is as I teach kids who may become Presidents, Doctors or even Astronauts, I take pride that I have helped to make them.” What a delight indeed.
I have decided to put this little narration to drive the point home that unfortunately, teachers all over the world are the most neglected yet their jobs is the most honourable. Whether it is in the United States, England, Canada or Australia or even in Ghana, Nigeria or Cameroon, unfortunately, teachers do not get the proper respect and honour they deserve because they are the makers of world, community or local leaders.
Well, they may be neglected or ignored, one thing among professional teachers the world over is that in themselves, they are very proud of their profession. Yes, indeed, they are.
Few days ago, teachers all over the globe celebrated United Nations Teachers Day, which is usually observed on 5th day of October, every year. It is designed to focus the minds of the people of the importance of teachers and their profession and to highlight the significance of both the teachers and the teaching profession. With the theme “teaching in glory empowering teachers,” teachers in Nigeria, and Imo state took part in the celebration with elected joy and happiness for one moment, they forgot myriads of challenges which they face not only in Imo state but in many or all over the country. They marched, sang and express joy and pride over their profession.
Nobody but nobody who watched these men and women would believe that most of them are being owed salaries for several months, allowances and gratuities of varying degrees. Yet they came in their number to identify with their colleagues and to put a seal of approval that “yes, as teachers, we may be ignored, disrespected or pushed around, we are indeed proud of our profession.” That was the real message.
Obviously, no matter how much we try to ignore teacher, they are nor ignorable, point blank. They are the custodians of knowledge and wisdom in every community. Apart from teaching and training our children, they are key to character moulding of our children and wards.
There is no community that does not depend on its teaching population for the community peace and tranquility.
Many years ago, there was the popular saying that “teacher's wage is in heaven.” No more. They have started to earn their wages here on earth beginning with Udoji Award of early 1970's since then condition of  teaching for teachers has continued to improve after they had passed through most tortuous crucibles of life. Indeed, they have come a long way.
Therefore, governments at all levels including some private school proprietors must begin now to see teachers as important elements in the society. It is no longer an argument that teachers are great and occupy important space in our social and economic development of which education is the focus of it all.
The cheap talk that our education is falling in standard is a wrong phraseology. The correct thing should be “we no longer respect and honour our teachers in the society.” Once teachers are given their rightful position, it is not enough to say that we are the first, second or this or that in education. It must be criticized. Noise making as an imperative of educational policy must give way to specifics. Our professional teachers must be given their right places. No more and no less it is action and not talk, talk talk with deceptive ovation.
Teaching freedom empowering teachers must be functionalized!!!

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