Jan 16, 2010

Living a Fulfilled Life as a Teacher

Education is not just the foundation of any ambitious nation but its bedrock. Better rephrased, education is the bedrock on which our planet as a whole has been built. Prosperity around the world is not evenly spread. It trails educational patterns. Nations with soaring levels of highly educated populations are seen to be the most prosperous on the planet. Despite this obvious reality, Nigeria is one nation that has left education in the cold by its refusal to give the sector the desired attention for a long time. This has in turn shaped the mentality of Nigerians who have come to the belief that teachers are not important persons in the society. Majority of people thus treat teachers with modest esteem.
Despite this, Mrs. Josephine Jummai Bewaran who retired from the Plateau State Teachers Service late last year says she had no remorse being a teacher.
Mama attended Women Teachers College Kano, bagging Grade the II Teachers Certificate. She then took up a primary school teaching appointment but left to further her education at the Advance Teachers College Akwanga, from 1976 to 1979. She worked with the Plateau State Ministry of Education from 1979 to 1981 and left to pursue a degree program. She graduated in 1985 and took up a fresh appointment with the Plateau State Ministry of Education again. She served for twenty four years with the last six as a Principal.
With the profession, she and her husband have been able to train their children to the level of graduates and even beyond. Bye-and-large, she has been able to live a fulfilled life. It is pertinent to note that the profession suffered its greatest neglect in the mid-eighties and rejoining the profession at the same period is an indication that she was motivated by the love of the profession and nothing else.

Her fulfillment is also drawn from the legacy she left behind in terms of the manpower she has been able to contribute towards the development of the nation. Each time she sees the lawyers, doctors, pharmacists, engineers, accountants and the teachers she has helped to train, it gives her pride. Most of these Nigerians have also given her reasons not to regret her role in the building of the nation by showing appreciation. Her legacies also include the imperativeness of hard work and honesty which she taught her subordinates and believes these values will continue to trickle down to later generations of teachers to the benefit of the nation.

The challenges of life as a teacher according to Mrs. Bewaran have been how to build a strong heart to be able to cope with economic challenges in view of the insufficient financial rewards the profession offers, the ability of overcoming temptations thrown along her way as a result and having to live in a society that look at teachers with scorn. She admits that teaching in Nigeria was initially a highly respected profession but the gradual shift of attention from the profession by subsequent administrations brought the profession to its present state of neglect resulting in the failure of public schools to adequately live up to their responsibilities.

Mrs. Bewaran’s philosophy in life is that one should do things because it suits his circumstance and not because of other reasons. If by virtue of our circumstance as a developing nation education is what is needed most to spur the development of the nation, then we ought to pay attention to the sector she says. Nigeria as we all know is a nation that has failed to live up to the demands on the UN charter on education that demands that all member nations must commit up to 30% of annual budgets to financing education. Going by mama’ philosophy, we ought to be the first persons that should live up to the demands of that chatter.

She says that despite all this, not all hope has been lost. Nigeria is still a relatively wealthy nation, at least wealthy enough to address its challenges in education. What is simply lacking is the political will. There are pockets of that will here and there though. Even here in Plateau State we have seen a strong will for good governance since the administration of Jonah David Jang came to office in 2007. There have been increases in pay and the strong desire to ensure that the salaries are paid as at when due. Furthermore she says she is a witness to the renovations of schools since the regime started. At this pace, she says she is confident that so much would be actualized in the next six years as long as the administration does not allow its focus to be broken. In that wise, she admonishes people who have love for the profession to go ahead and acquire the education and join the service.

Mrs. Bewaran says it is not easy to be in the service for decades but she has been able to attend this. She attributes this to divine support from the Almighty God and it is the reason why she has resolved to spend her life in retirement serving God. Though she is retired she argues she is still not tired yet and is the reason why she will also use the time to engage in small scale businesses like poultry farming and continue to contribute to the protein need of the nation. That is also imperative for nation building.
Mama is married to Lazarus S Bewaran with whom she has seven children.

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