Teachers’ rewards should start on earth, not in heaven – Odutola

As a new academic session begins next week for primary and secondary education, Gloria Ekene Odutola, the winner of 2021 Teachers’ Naija Reality TV show has called on education stakeholders and governments at all levels to ensure that teachers’ reward is not left to be in heaven but should be made to start here on earth.

Odutola disclosed to BusinessDay in an interview, that teachers in Nigeria are undervalued and are not given the ideal recognition in the society compared with their counterparts’ countries like Finland, Germany, USA, et cetera. The most annoying thing is that they are erroneously made to believe their reward is in heaven.

“The teaching profession, which is the mother of every other profession, has been relegated to the background in Nigeria and this I find very appalling. Many landlords do not want to let out their houses to teachers simply because they feel they cannot afford them and this is not far from the truth because teachers are poorly paid. For many, their reward is in heaven, but it should actually begin here on earth”, she said.

The starting salary for teachers in many states of the federation is between N40, 000 to N45, 000 per month. It is even lower in some states where teachers are paid as low as N30, 000 to N35, 000 per month.

She decried the state of things in the education sector, a situation where little or no attention is given to the profession and practitioners. Toeing the path of Nelson Mandela’s philosophy, she explained that the greatest weapon to solving the problem of the nation is education.

“The greatest weapon you can use to change the world is education”. To bring about the change we so desire in our nation, let us support the educational sector of our country. Knowledge is power and with power, we can achieve anything. Let us give every child the best legacy which is education and let us learn to appreciate and support our teachers”, she stated.

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Odutola, a graduate of English Language (Educational Admin & Policy Studies), Delta State University, Abraka, went further to encourage teachers to be diligent and dedicated to their profession notwithstanding the unworthy treatments being meant to them.

“My advice to Nigerian teachers is to keep the passion for education alive. Our reward starts here on earth. Keep studying and improving on your skills as a teacher so that you are up to date with fresh ideas to impact your learners and in no distant time, we will begin to ride on the pedestal we deserve and the teaching profession will become an enviable one” Odutola counseled.

Sharing her experience at the reality show, the Onicha- Olona, Delta State-born teacher stated that her passion for the teaching profession is what has brought her the fame she is enjoying today.

“My passion and zeal for education have brought me thus far. If you are great at what you do, you will be celebrated”, she said.

Odutola explained that her love for the English language and Literature right from her secondary school days at Command Secondary School, Ipaja- Lagos State has earned her numerous awards among which is the 2002 best student award in Literature.

She described her victory as a dream come true.

“It is actually a dream come true for me. I went, I saw and I conquered through the help of God Almighty and the support of friends and family. I also feel that it was God’s own way of rewarding me for my years of tireless efforts and contribution towards the educational system”, Odutola asserted.

Odutola said she intends to take advantage of the wonderful platform Anubi Media has made available to contribute my quota to the educational sector.

As the winner of the coveted award, she disclosed that she has lined up some projects she intends to set up that will be of huge benefit to the educational system, one of which is providing pieces of training to help other teachers build up their teaching skills as well as making quality education available for the less privileged in my community.

“For me, it is not about the resource but the resourcefulness, N2 million today, cannot completely execute the projects I have, but it will be a good start for the realization of my dreams for the educational sector”, she said.

Oluchi Chukwuma-Ojeh, a housemate in the 2021 reality television show said she learned numerous skills while in the show among which is how to go beyond her subject area and to have a millionaire mindset.

“I learned a lot about the importance of team spirit to achieve great results. As a subject teacher, I focused mainly on my subject area, but this show has taught me to go beyond my subject area and to have a millionaire mindset”, she said.

Chukwuma-Ojeh further stated that she also learned different ways to manage difficult students in class and appropriate ways of keeping records.

When asked how she got to know about the reality show, she said, “My sister-in-law tagged me to the post on Instagram and I applied.”

This ordinarily explains the fact that the reality show was published against claims in some quarters that the teachers’ Naija reality television show was not made public by Anubi media, the convener of the show.

Recall Enuagwuna Ubaka, the Project Coordinator, Teachers’ Naija Reality show explained that participation in the show was not an all-comers affair, even as he promised that the show will continue to get better with more coverage, higher prizes, and tougher tasks.

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