According to Oxford, teaching is “a paid occupation, especially one that involves prolonged training and a formal qualification”. The concern for everybody is, does teaching in Nigeria embody the definition given above?
Is Teaching a Profession in Nigeria?
Yes, teaching is still a profession in Nigeria. If we look at things from a broad perspective, we will see that even though the educational system has been terrible, teaching has still being a profession and not just a job anyone can acquire. We will show you several reasons why teaching is still a profession in Nigeria.
1. Teaching is a service to the community
Understanding the definition of a profession when compared to an occupation will make you see the superiority of teaching. All of us, including me and you, became what we are today due to the teachers in our life. Everyone screams school is trash and a scam, then they go and learn sports, take dance classes, acting classes, and other high ROI jobs which require a coach to train them and make them formidable. Those coaches are also teachers. So you can see that a teacher’s service is needed in all aspects of life.
You shouldn’t limit yourself to viewing teachers as people behind the four walls of a classroom. The people teaching us at seminars and workshops are teachers too who are offering their service to the community.
2. It requires lifelong learning
In public schools, teaching has lost its professionalism and it is getting tainted, but looking at the private schools around, especially the well-funded ones, you’ll notice that these kids are usually above average, and the teachers are the reason for this. Some of these teachers also work part-time for public schools, however, the lack of learning facilities and equipment makes it hard to pass the required knowledge effectively.
Lecturers in higher institutions are also considered a teacher. In higher institutions, the lecturers carry out researches and attend seminars on new methods and approaches to teaching, for the betterment of the students.
3. It takes training to become a teacher
Even in Nigeria that has a terrible educational system, we still make sure our teachers have studied in the University, polytechnic, or college before they are admitted to schools, and when some find a way around the system and get employed, investigations are carried out from time to time and the culprits are stripped off their teaching privilege. If you watch the news regularly, you’ll notice this happens from time to time.
Since Nigeria still requires teachers to pass through higher institutions before they can teach, this shows that we still treat teaching as a profession. Specialized knowledge is required to be a teacher and it’s evident Nigeria still believes in this.
4. Advanced programs are still required for promotion
To get promoted to a professor or a headteacher, you need to have taken some form of advanced programmed. It shows you have gained more knowledge and experience which can be beneficial to the students. Even though our educational system is poor, the requirement to attend advanced programs before a promotion is still happening in our schools. This means the professionalism of the teaching profession is still alive, believed in, and respected.
5. High emotional intelligence is required
Teaching is beyond just standing in front of a class and lecturing students. It involves understanding the students to some level, so as to know how best you can transfer the knowledge to them for better absorption. This is true for secondary and primary schools because these are the building blocks of a student, and the personality type of students differs, so a teacher needs to find a way to make sure the students are learning what he teaches, regardless of how the students absorb information. This aspect of teaching has less to do with the technical aspect of teaching and more of the emotional aspect. This means a teacher must be versed in emotional intelligence so he or she can maintain the professionalism required in the teaching profession.
6. Teaching adds value to the society
If you look at jobs tagged as a profession, you’ll notice they all add value to the industry they’re under. The same applies to Nigeria and other countries. Teaching doesn’t take from the industry, and it isn’t as capital intensive as other sectors. In fact, it has no negative effect on the world, unlike other jobs that add to the global warming and pollution of this world.
Teaching is a respectable practice as it has been for years. Even though this isn’t the case in most secondary and primary schools, however, in the university it is still very much respected. This means teaching is still a profession in Nigeria, however, there are certain aspects that need to be fixed, so that teaching can be the highly respected profession it once was.