Onyinye Ubah

“I always wanted to be a medical doctor. As a teenager, every academic move I made was towards the medical field. I had no inkling of ever going into the teaching profession. Besides, there was no teacher on the social media space I could look up to. The twist came when I gained admission into the university. I applied for Medicine and Surgery at the University of Benin but was offered Education Biology. In a bid for some independence from home, I accepted it. It was just an escape from home. Somewhere at the back of my mind, I had some hopes of reapplying for Medicine and Surgery in my first year in the University. I sat for another university entrance exam (JAMB) as an undergraduate but I was offered Fisheries. I declined the admission without thinking about it twice.

The spark for teaching began in my 300 Level during my Teaching Practice. Every day of my teaching practice was worth my time. It was as though I was ushered into a whole new world. During that period, I had a dream where I was conversing with a voice. The voice told me to remain in the teaching profession. At that point, there was no doubt about the field where I had found myself and eagerly pitching my tent.

Being a village teacher was a journey I suddenly found myself in my professional sojourn. Resuming at Ezemu Girls Grammar School, Ubulu-Uku in Delta state, Nigeria came with some mixed feelings. You can imagine moving from the city of Abuja to a village but then, passion and focus overrode every fear. On the other hand, it was an opportunity for me to taste it all in the adventures of Teacher Chike.

While engaged in my regular teaching job, I took a leap of faith into creating content on social media. The content creation for teaching profession was quite low. I plunged into Tik Tok with a video of me and my students. It all started with a “100 days of uninterrupted motivation” in July 2022 but I stopped on the 42nd day. It was on the 28th of November that one of my videos with my students went viral. In less than 24 hours, it garnered over 200 thousand views. Next, I took my content creating into Twitter and Instagram and Facebook, the viewership soared until it went viral and was carried by bloggers and news platforms. With that, I knew I had made some lemonade from the lemon I had in my hand.

My goal is to change the face of teaching in Nigeria by inspiring other teachers through my content, thereby making people celebrate the role of teachers in a student’s life. So far, it’s not just about creating content online, it’s beyond that. It is about being an advocate for teachers especially when it comes to welfare. Welfare for teachers in Nigeria is quite low and discouraging. The essence of my adventure is about indoctrination of values into learners. It goes as far as sacrificing our lives for our students as well as telling our stories ourselves. I see teaching as a profession for saving lives. Just like doctors or any other professionals, teachers are dealing with lives on a daily basis and need a high level of carefulness because any mistake made can mar a generation. That is why I am of the opinion that teaching is not just a form of employment but a calling. If you are not called and well trained, it might be a struggle.” – Azuh Chike Emmanuel

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