“Teacher’s reward is in heaven” is of no doubt a popular saying. So funny, there are many evidences testifying to this.
In the 90s, the popular slogan of house caretakers and landlords was “Room for rent but not for teachers”. Sincerely, landlords who intended to rent out his house for business purpose would find it difficult to rent out just a room for even government teachers. Why? By then, teacher’s salary was so meager that even a stipend of a university student was still better off.
Also, many parents have denied their beautiful daughters to marry a teacher then. The denial was also commonsensical. A teacher who earned 3,500 naira per month, I doubt how he could take care of his family.
In fact, Nigeria Colleges of Education also ascertained the fact that a futuristic ambition students will not dream of going to college of education. I remember the time I gained admission into Oyo State College of Education (Now Emmanuel Alayande College of Education). The cut off mark for those who wrote Polytechnic Jamb and intended to seek admission to the college was 30. Though, it may be that the intention of government was to make admission easier for students who were desperate to gain admission into any higher institution but to many people, it means that college of education is for dullards. However, the system has improved now. If you struggle to score 100 and above in UTME, you are good to seek admission to Federal College of Education (Special) Oyo.
However, it is important to emphasize that lecturers in most of Colleges of Education were and are still brilliant. They do train students just as if they were university students. But my concern is based on the welfarism of the teachers.
Sincerely, government has improved on the salary scale of teachers. But, most of private schools are only making use of teachers for their personal development.
Recently, an unpublished research was conducted to look into the salary scheme of private school teachers in Oyo town. 15 nursery and primary schools and 10 Secondary schools were visited. The findings showed that only 4 schools were paying 12000 naira as highest salary for teachers who have stayed long in the school and have B.Ed or related qualifications while the remaining 11 schools are paying 9500 as highest salary for their staff.
Out of the 10 Secondary schools, only 2 are paying 18,000 naira while the remaining 8 are paying 13,000 naira as highest payment for their staff.
I imagine how a private school teacher who has a wife with three children will cope successfully on 13,000 naira. I doubt how such staff will pay his house rent without borrowing not to talk of when to have his own personal house. I even imagine how such teacher will give his children quality education.
The fact that the state of unemployment in the country is the result of this meager salary work. However, private school teachers should think further on their future rather than to be wooed with the proverb of “teachers reward is in heaven”. The fact that there reward is in heaven is not enough as a fact that they should be living the life of prisoners in world. The fact that the real peace is in heaven does not mean that we should be living a miserable life.
My advice for private school teachers (especially those who are receiving meager salary) is to refocus their future and think of engaging in profitable business during this holiday. Nothing bad in learning new business skills and start from a small scale business. Also, you can engage in monthly contribution or cooperative savings with the intention of raising some amount to start a small scale business. If you are doing a business that fetches you meager income, it still pays than to keep working under someone who uses you like a slave and will certainly drop you if he sees someone whose ability is better than yours.
Conclusively, I believe that my opinion may sound offensive to some proprietors who are found guilty of this. But what is clear is that I wish private school teachers who are collecting meager amount as salary to think of challenges ahead of them, plan for their meaningful future, restrategize to use their meaningful time in building their future rather than building a school of those who use their amass wealth to build mansions while you keep owing two years house rent. Finally, remember that the thin line between being rich and being poor is a matter of choice.