SIR: You either say this often or hear people say the above every now and then. You’ll like to know what prompted this. I had a talk with one of my students at the end of a class recently and the beautiful young lady said to me, ‘I wanted to study Medicine but I was offered Chemistry. It’s manageable anyway but what I ain’t cool with is the education.’
I laughed and remembered that when I chose to study English Education back in Lagos State University, LASU, only about 10 of us in a class of 30 willingly chose the course. In fact, education students are seen as second class students; the same way teachers are seen either as second class workers or poor people. I even recalled how some parents I knew kept their children at home for a year more because they didn’t want them to study education.
What’s the truth of the situation?
First, like I enlightened the young lady, let me also make it public that education is just a double honour. It is nothing but an advantage. A graduate of Chemistry Education can do most of the things, if not all the things that a graduate of Chemistry can do. But, a graduate of Chemistry is not a teacher and must take a Post Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) to become a teacher. Again, those days in LASU, when the English major students would refer to the Education students as second class students, I can remember I stood up in one class and asked them (the English major students): What job awaits a graduate of English? Of course they were quick to mention the many things they can do but the truth is there is no specific work that awaits them. A graduate of ENGLISH EDUCATION, CHEMISTRY EDUCATION, BIOLOGY EDUCATION and other educational courses is a QUALIFIED AND CERTIFIED TEACHER. And the next big question: Why should anyone want to be a teacher?
Now, permit me to argue subjectively here. Teaching is the first job that will never cease to be available. Decrease in juvenile delinquency, crime rates and other things might play down the role of lawyers in any society. You can say this of many other disciplines. But of course a society that stops the services of teachers is on the ruin. Again, there is no profession as dignifying on earth as being a teacher. Guess the fulfilment of any of those who taught Ambode. He doesn’t need to give them a kobo; it’s just fulfilling sitting in the corner of your room and saying to yourself I taught that number one citizen of Lagos State.
Let’s get religious now. I don’t know what Christianity says on this. But in Islam, there is only one job you will continue to be blessed for even when you are dead: TEACHING. Every time people use the knowledge they gained from you positively, it gets to you as a blessing in heaven. I shouldn’t forget to add this. At least four of those who taught of me and other education students as second class students back then in LASU have called to know how they could go about a PGDE since teaching is the most guaranteed occupation.
Any day, anytime, anywhere: TEACHING IS A NOBLE PROFESSION!
University of Ibadan.