My journey began with the famous NYSC (for non-Nigerians here today, it’s an a.k.a for National Youth Service Corps). You could call it the extra year that comes with that extra grace just in case you passed through elementary school, high school, tertiary institution and you still had no clue what you wanted to do with your life. Surprised? Well, I was one of those people. I mean, I had several ideas of who I wanted to be but for what I wanted to do, I was pretty much clueless. Most Nigerian youths like myself breezed through the mandatory one-year service to our country where we get posted out to other states other than the one you know as home and more often than not, the ‘dreadful’ teaching job posting was one almost anybody would avoid.
Which I did. I’m not proud of it now. Little did I know though, life had major plans for me. Shortly after NYSC, the favorite job hunt search began. I was one of the lucky few who got one or two offers almost immediately. Which sadly isn’t so common where I come from (a subtle note to our dear government). So here I was between a rock and a hard place. Rock because the banking sector was lucrative and paid decently but the horror stories I had heard about it was worse than walking into a haunted house. Hard, because the teaching job was one I never envisioned and yet I could feel a gentle tug in my heart in that direction.
But I never went to a training college, I hadn’t the faintest idea what interacting with kids was like. They would become my responsibility in and out of the four walls and I would have to be an example they could look forward to. What would I say, would I be a good or a great teacher, what can I impact that they haven’t already gotten, what will be my prospects during and after, would I get stuck, how would I convince my parents. . .and what was “worse” for people that would term it so, was that here I was – a Christian, getting a job in an Islamic school in the deep North Eastern part of Nigeria. That would be a major culture shock for anyone who hears this and understands my country’s terrain but for some reason, I packed my bags and off I went. Almost whistling off, almost, because I can’t whistle to save my life!
A petite 5’4” girl with a voice quite tender and tiny, you wouldn’t naturally hear in a crowded room but as I walked into my first classroom seeing those several pairs of bright, slightly confused eyes peering up at me, I knew in that moment that this was exactly where I was meant to be. I was the superhero her younger self had always wished she could be. . .