BY MARK ITSIBOR
For a country whose education sector hardly merits the headline for good prowess or standout performance, Nigeria has a reputation as a country with one of the world’s poorest education sector. That has been the case for years. The understanding is that the lackadaisical attitude of both government and private stakeholders (including teachers) to the quest for quality education and capacity building is the bane of Nigeria’s backward position in technology, health, and other aspects of human endeavor.
No matter how hopeless or absurd the situation seems, a chartered accountant and writer, Babs Olugbemi is one of the patriotic Nigerians who believe the situation can be remedied through a crusade he calls “movement of Teachers and School Leaders of Impact”. He believes that a crop of skilled school teachers at the helms of the sector is a sure part to get Nigeria’s education right.
This, Olugbemi reflected upon in his book titled: “The Teachers’ Fortress”. In the 159-page work, the writer hopes to inspire teachers to take deliberate actions, develop into a teacher and school leader with great influence and make an impact on their students. The finely coloured book was edited by Ifeanyi Omeni. Published in Nigeria by Mentoras Multimedia in Ogun State, Nigeria, the book is segmented into four parts.
Part one and two have seven chapters each featuring: Who’s a teacher, wisdom to be at your best, teachers as parents and teachers as nation builders, among others. Under the title: ‘the student’, part three of the literary work has five chapters, while the fourth part has four chapters.
Babs used his research prowess to draw in the efficacious postulations of models of Threshold Theory, The Competency, The Law Of Delayed Gratification and The Story Of Push in his vision of a more motivated teacher to weave the facts on workable guides for teachers to tailor their journey to strength as mind and future builders.
The writer reflected on why our educational system is in a poor state. He identified low government funding, over concentration of educational administration power in the Federal Government of Nigeria, ineffective quality assurance/monitoring system, poor teachers’ training and recruitment and high students-teachers ratio as some of the reasons for the poor outcome.
He believes that reading the book; teachers “will develop more interest in your students and go the extra mile to ensure that they succeed in life. You will be more than just a teacher. You will be a REAL TEACHER.”
Babs cited one Mrs A. B. Amodeni who remained a teacher in her approach to the job even as a principal in a particular school. He urged all teachers and principals to emulate Mrs Amodeni by treating their role as teacher like a sales role. Salesman is rewarded for sales pitch.
In his introductory remarks, Mr. Babs posited that a real teacher uses mentoring ‘relationship’ to ’empower’ the students for the opportunities and challenges ahead of them. He mentioned that such a teacher develops and improves the right attitude and leadership skills in the students. The book assured that a dedicated readership of it will help teachers perform the teachers’ functions and be the following to their students.
The book was well written and edited with little grammatical gaffe and punctuation errors and word omissions. The binding and printing are good enough to withstand the test of time; even in the long and short of times.
In a general view, “The Teachers’ Fortress” is a recommendable piece of instructional guide not just for teachers, but parents and guardians.