Efforts geared towards promoting the teaching profession in the Niger Delta has gained momentum as the 2020 edition of ‘Teacher and Loving it Professional Development Weekend’ expands into Delta State. The event which holds in August annually comes with members welfare as its main focus comes with the prospects of engaging those in the noble profession to perform maximally.
In an exclusive with The Guardian in Asaba, the Convener, Mrs Susan Charles, said the event was birthed out of a need for teachers to have quality bonding, networking, learning and brainstorming sessions with like minds and also learn from some of the leaders in the education sector.
According to the educationist, “It all started as a Facebook group in 2017; due to the impact felt by the teachers, they requested an offline conference. For three years now it has become an annual conference for teachers in the South-south and southeast. It started small, but we are gaining traction as people from other states are now participants in the annual event”.
“In 2017, we had about 74 participants from Rivers and Bayelsa State. By May 2018, we were able to train over 500 private school owners on effective school leadership in Bayelsa State. By the time we had the annual conference in August 2018, we had over 200 educators from Rivers, Bayelsa, Enugu and Delta State and our online community of about 1800 following online.“This year, we had over 300 educators from Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Enugu and Anambra State attend offline, with 2700 others following online.
With support from our partner organisations, the event is highly subsidised and teachers get the best learning experience for a small stipend”.She said the challenge they have faced has been sponsorship, as so many public school teachers have indicated interest in attending the event, but they are yet to get organisations that can sponsor them as their corporate social responsibility.
However it is not a totally ba situation as she said, “This year, we have had a radio partner since the inception of the Teacher and Loving it Professional Development Weekend., And companies such as EDVES, AcadaPlus, Flour Nuts and Chicken Republic have supported us through the years too, with The Rivers State Ministry of Education has approached me already to partner with us for the next one, while we were are looking forward to their counterparts in Delta, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom as well as other Niger Delta states for partnership.”
The Business Education graduate said her, “My motivation is to change Nigeria one child, one class, one teacher at a time by employing consistently innovative techniques, having worked in a company for a bit and then went back to the classroom full time.
“I got a job there in an international school where I realised that learning as we knew it was almost obsolete at the time (it is now obsolete). So, I would save money, sometimes for a whole year, travel outside Nigeria to get trained, observe teachers and ask questions.Then once I come back, I would teach the teachers all that I learnt.
“I left the school in 2016 when I had to begin training teachers in other schools and states. As my contribution to all the teachers I knew at the time, I would share some of what I learnt on Facebook and tag them. That became cumbersome so I created the Teacher and Loving it group and added all 30 teachers that I knew. That way, any time I share any content, everyone gets to see it. One thing led to another and now we are about 3000 members strong”.