Teaching Profession in Nigeria: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

by Hiqmah Oyekola
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Teaching profession

Teaching is one of the best and oldest professions in the history of mankind. It is a profession that has been here since the beginning. Being a teacher gives one a sense of purpose and impact. The impact of the teaching profession goes beyond the confines of the classroom; it transforms the lives of not only the students but the teachers as well. 

My mom is a teacher, and I have worked as a teacher myself, so I can testify to this. Teaching is one of the most versatile jobs in the world. It is fun, challenging, motivating, and inspiring. Teaching is exhilarating, yet stressful. Although it has a lot of advantages, it also has its glitches. 

No one can say with certainty whether the teaching job has more advantages than disadvantages. It all depends on the individual involved, but below are a few points on the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of being a teacher in Nigeria. Enjoy! 

Who is a Teacher? 

According to Wikipedia, a teacher is a person who helps students acquire knowledge, competence, or virtue via the practice of teaching. A teacher is a builder, guardian, role model, and mentor. Apart from home, a place where children consider a second home is school, and a child spends more time in school than at home.

A child begins school at 3 and finishes at an average age of 21 in Nigeria. So, the school is a second home to children, and teachers are the parents in the school. 

Read also: Adult Education in Nigeria: What it Means and Why it Matters. 

The Good Sides of Being a Teacher

Everything in life has good and bad sides, and the teaching profession is not left out. Below are a few good things about being a teacher. 

  1. It gives one joy

A teacher derives immense joy from imparting knowledge to his/her students. He makes sure to give the best knowledge to his students. As a good teacher, if your students are performing so well in their studies, it gives you immense joy because they represent you. 

  1. It makes one accountable

An accountable person takes responsibility for their actions. They do not blame others for their mistake. As a teacher, you are responsible for yourself and your students. Any decision you make affects you and your students, so a teacher thinks about not only himself but also his students. And if you make a mistake by any circumstance, you must be ready to accept your flaws and not shift the blame on your student. 

  1. It encourages continuous learning

As an educator, you learn more every day. Teaching encourages lifelong learning. You are exposed to different ideas, innovations, and technologies daily. This continual learning keeps a teacher intellectually engaged. It is even advisable for a person who wants to further his/her education to go into teaching to keep his/her memory engaged. 

  1. It builds relationships

The teaching profession builds a strong relationship between a teacher and the students. Students often seek guidance from their teachers and trust their teachers to guide them well, and a good relationship sprouts out of it. The student does not see the teacher as only a teacher but also as a guide in his life, and this relationship does not end in school. The relationship can last for as many years as it can be. Teaching fosters relationship building.

  1. It helps in understanding people’s personality

A teacher should understand or relate to every student under his care. A teacher must be empathetic. He must know his student’s attitude, behavior, and personality. He should be able to detect when something is going on with a student and try his best to manage the problem in the best possible way. 

  1. It gives one satisfaction

As a teacher, knowing how much your impact affects your student possibly brings a sense of satisfaction that cannot be contained. A teacher not only gives Western education but also moral education to his students. 

Read also: Informal Education in Nigeria: An Overview.

The Bad Sides of Being a Teacher

Below are a few bad sides of being a teacher;

  1. The pay is little

In Nigeria, especially, the teaching profession is one of the underrated jobs in this part of the world. Teachers are supposed to be highly paid because of the amount of work they do but the difference is the case in Nigeria. 

In fact, Nigerians think teachers should be doing charity work as they are impacting lives. Besides, it is often said that “the reward of a teacher is not here on earth but in heaven”. The little payment involved is one of the reasons why people don’t want a career in the teaching profession. 

  1. It is stressful

The teaching job is stressful; it takes tremendous amount of time from the teacher. A teacher is supposed to be in school before 8 am and leave work by 2 pm at the earliest. 

Some do not leave by 2 pm as they have extra workload. A teacher is stressed in all ramifications, from teaching students to preparing lesson materials, students notes and management, etc. Although teaching jobs can be fulfilling, they can also be very stressful. 

  1. Lack of recognition

Nigerians, specifically, need to appreciate the impact of teachers. They undervalue the effort of a teacher and never cease to show it. Teachers do not get an ordinary “Thank you”. Sometimes, the students also do not show appreciation to their teachers. 

  1. Limited resources

Often, the materials needed for teaching are not provided or they are insufficient. The classroom may be overcrowded with limited resources, which makes teaching ineffective and tiring.

Read also: Nigerian Education System: A Critical Analysis of Strength and Weaknesses. 

The Ugly Sides of Being a Teacher

Every beautiful thing in life has its ugly side, no matter what, and being a teacher is not left behind. 

  1. Parent-teacher dynamics

Navigating communication with parents, especially in difficult situations, can be challenging, particularly for a parent who feels their status is better off than the teacher. Balancing the expectations of parents and students while maintaining professional boundaries can be stressful and tiring. 

  1. Emotional toll

Dealing with students facing personal challenges can take an emotional toll. The responsibility of providing emotional support and navigating students’ struggles can lead to emotional imbalance on the teacher. 

  1. Burnout

The demanding workload and emotional investment can lead to burnout. High-stress levels and exhaustion may impact both personal and professional well-being.

  1. Insolent behaviour of some students

Some students are very difficult to maintain, especially if they come from a well-to-do family and understand that they have control over the teachers. This act can be infuriating as you do not have the right to caution the student. This also makes the job challenging. 

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The teaching profession is highly significant and should not be treated with contempt or levity. It plays a massive role in shaping the lives of the youths who will become tomorrow’s leaders. Let’s accord teachers the respect and give them the rewards due to them while they are still here, on earth. 

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