# Job Chronicles V

This thought really scared me and

I started to think about what I could

do to add value without first getting

a job.

I began to examine my skills, and I did

not think I gained any valuable knowledge

or skills while at DJL and UNILAG but I

realized I was still good at the math and

further-math I learned at Shagamu and

could teach it competently and so I

decided to teach.

I told my Shagamu principal about it and

she introduced me to a principal friend

of hers at a private high school in Ikeja

who told me she wasn’t hiring for some

reason I can’t remember now.

I started to look for math/further-math

teaching openings online and got an

interview at a private school in Ketu.

I wore my Christmas dress and attended

the interview.

After speaking with the principal, I was

given past math and further-math exam

questions to solve and that took about

2-3 hours.

While it was being marked, I was asked

to teach in front of a class.

After all this, the principal offered me

the job and said the pay was N25,000

per month.

I was in shock!

Why did she not say the salary before

putting me through all that stress?

I told her I wasn’t interested and turned

down the job.

There and then, I decided I would rather

teach for free than get paid N25,000

and end up being resentful.

I also decided I would rather teach

public school students who probably

did not have enough good teachers and

would value my service better than

private school students who probably

had more than enough good teachers

to choose from.

Members of the church I attend parked

at Oregun high school, a public school

on Ikosi road, and that was the first

school I went to and offered to teach

for free.

The English teacher/VP I spoke with

was so happy I was offering to teach

for free and she couldn’t believe I did

not have an ulterior motive for offering

my services pro-bono until I told her

I wanted to keep busy until I traveled

for my masters.

She went on to Say they had no

further-math teacher in the school and

there was only one boy, M, who registered

for further-math for WAEC.

She sent for M and after we spoke,

he said he was interested in being

taught both math and further-math in

preparation for WAEC which was only

3 months away and admitted to never

having been taught the subject.

We agreed that I would come teach

him in the morning at 7am before his

other classes started at 8am.

The VP took me to the principal who

was also enthusiastic and thanked me.

However, she sent for me the following

day and said I needed to get approval

from the Lagos State Education District

at Oshodi before I could teach at her

school.

I Was really surprised as I did not expect

to have to go through all that stress just

to volunteer but I proceeded to Oshodi.

I took the wrong turn twice and almost

passed one way while trying to locate

the District office.

Eventually, I found it and I was passed

from one person to the other and asked

to write plenty super story applications

and whatnot.

Eventually, I was told that it was the

principal’s decision to let me teach at

her school, not theirs.

I went back to the school and reported

this to the principal but for some weird

reason I would always wonder at,

she said I couldn’t teach at the school.

But at this point, I was determined to

teach the student by fire or by force

because he was already excited at

the prospect of being taught and I

too was excited at the prospect of

teaching.

And so I agreed to teach him after

school hours on the school premises

without the principal’s Knowledge.

Since he had never been taught

Further math and it was barely

three months to WAEC, I decided to

teach him with WAEC past questions

and the WAEC syllabus as that would

give us the greatest coverage of

topics in the shortest possible time.

I can’t remember where I got the

Further math textbooks and past

question papers from, but I would

teach him using the textbook for

2-2.5 hours after school every day

on the school premises.

After a week though, I wasn’t satisfied

with teaching just one student for

2.5 hours daily so I went to the next

public school which was even much

closer to my house and the principal

welcomed me with open arms.

She introduced me to all the math

and further-math teachers at the school.

It was agreed that I would teach math

to two S.S.1 classes under the

supervision of their math teacher and

would teach further-math to the

three students who registered for

further-math for WAEC.

The S.S.1 and S.S.2 students had a

further-math teacher so I would not

need to teach those classes.

I resumed promptly at 7:00 am the

following day to teach my first math

class.

The math teacher supervised me for

a few minutes and left.

I taught on my own for the remainder of

my stay at the school.

On my first day, I was teaching the total

surface area of solids and was building

up the formulas from the area of plain

shapes rather than just putting up

the formula and expecting them to

cram it.

One of the smartest students in the

class, D, (I found out that later) exclaimed,

“wow! I am learning a lot”!

Honestly, that single statement validated

me and would forever stay with me.

I observed there was something different

about D.

He was always very neatly dressed and

carried himself with confidence.

One day, I engaged him in conversation

and that’s when he told me he only

recently transferred to the school and

attended a private school from JS1-3.

I asked him why he transferred to the

public school and the reason he gave

was because his father could no longer

afford the fees.

When he told me the amount per term,

I felt terribly sad for him.

I initially thought he said N90,500 but

he corrected me and said it was N19,500.

It was my experience teaching at the

school that made me believe the

statistic that said about 80% of Nigerians

lived on less than a dollar a day.

Prior to that teaching experience, I

actually believed that statistic was

false and mostly exaggerated as I

did not know anyone in my circle

who fell into that category.

(GSW's note: Firecracker is a buttie)

One day I woke up in the middle of

the night and decided to cook for

some of the students at the school.

Granted it wasn’t my ingredients, it

was my mum’s but I didn’t think

she would mind.

I cooked a huge cooler of rice and

chicken and took it to the school.

The students rushed the food and

All of it was gone in a few minutes

so I believed I did the right thing.

I did the same the following day but

the principal called me to her office

after I had distributed the food and

said it wasn’t a good idea for me to

give students’ food as the students or

their parents could attribute any

ailment they had to my food and I

would be held liable.

I took her advice and never gave

them food again so that I dont

get into trouble

Unlike D, the majority of the students

were not as enthusiastic as I expected.

I tried my best to explain as simply as

I could repeating myself several times

but I only got answers to my questions

from the same set of students.

I taught the three S.S.3 further-math

students during their normal further-math

period and 2 of them understood well

enough but the third one wasn’t coping

as much as I expected.

No matter how many times I explained,

he just wasn’t getting it and I did not

have the heart to tell him I didn’t think

he should be taking the subject so I

kept trying but without much luck.

Let me just say that Fashola who was

the then governor of Lagos state was

doing a decent job of trying to improve

public school education.

The classrooms had wooden chairs and

benches similar to the locker I had in

Shagamu, some classes had fans

and we didn’t even have fans in our

classrooms in Shagamu until much

later, and the textbooks for 5 compulsory

subjects were given to each student at

the beginning of the school year but

they had to be returned at the end of

the school year so they could be given

books for the next school year.

The problem with that though is that

J.S.3 and S.S.3 students also needed

the textbooks for their previous two

years to study for their external

exams.

The S.S.1 science students were

much better behaved and more

interested in learning than the art

students though as per standard

procedure

Most of the art students had zero

interest in learning and I think after

a few humiliating incidents, I

stopped teaching their class.

But I offered to spend time after

school teaching any student who

came to me.

It was at this after hour class I met

the most interesting characters ever.

They were the trouble-makers of their

set but they were hilarious and you

know me I love to laugh.

One time I asked them what they

wanted to become in the future and the

responses were very poorly written.

Some of them wrote “Olamide the rapper”.

When I probed further about their

background, I found out none of them

had any family or community member

who was a University graduate.

Some of them had part-time jobs and

I know 2 of them worked as tailors

after school and during the weekend.

Olamide was the only symbol of

success they could relate with as

he grew up poor in a community

similar to theirs and became successful. T

hat’s how I asked 2 of them to rap for

me and I Spent the rest of the afternoon

laughing at their attempts.

And that’s when it occurred to me that

exposure is very important. It is necessary

for one to see the several career

opportunities and possibilities of success

available to one.

One of the reasons why kids in private

school get taken on tours to multinationals a

nd successful companies on career day is

so they can see the various career options

available to them.

Anyway, I decided I wanted to help the

smartest students in public schools get

scholarships to very good private schools.

The students would benefit from; the

good quality of education available in

those schools, the exposure to the

lifestyle of their well-to-do classmates,

and various career opportunities.

The school would in turn benefit from the

excellent grades the students would

make in their final exams which would

improve the school’s profile and attract

more paying students to the school.

Firecracker Toyeen

Instagram: @firecracker_toyeen

Blog: www.fire-cracker toyeen.com

Twitter: @firecrackertoyn

## Comments (0)

## Facebook Comments (0)