- Posted by Edith Ohaja
- On March 1, 2016
- 24 Comments
Hello everyone! Many people have asked me why I chose teaching over broadcasting, print journalism, advertising copywriting and related fields. The answer to that question is contained in the story below. Actually, there are two stories on this: one written by me and the other by one of my younger colleagues, Diane Ezeh. Mine will precede hers. Here we go!
In the early years of my stay as staff at the Mass Communication Department, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, (UNN), it was a pattern for students to urge me to leave when they were about to finish their studies. Some would say, “You have a beautiful voice, a great command of English and good looks. You are built for the camera. The broadcast industry is where you belong.” Others would tell me that Nsukka does not deserve me, that I should travel out of the country or, at least, go to Lagos. (Abuja was not much of a big deal then unless you were a building contractor because it was largely under construction.)
People were also worried about how I’d cope with living expenses because of the pittance we were paid then. Many left town saying the remuneration we got made it seem as if we were shovelling dirt here. All who advised and prodded me to relocate had good intentions, they were concerned about my welfare and job satisfaction.
But I told them that I feel that this is where God wants me to be. Perhaps, after reading this piece and the one I’ll post soon written by Diane Ezeh, who was once my student and now a colleague in the department, you’ll see that I was right. I cannot begin to share how many people have told me they were encouraged, enriched (intellectually, I mean) or blessed in some other way by my being here. You don’t know what it means to face a group of young people, some of them hostile and apathetic, and to have them become so enthralled by your classes that they give an unpremeditated chorus, “Thank you,” or a rousing ovation when you leave.
But more importantly, to be a sister, friend, mother and mentor to so many has been a privilege greater and more fulfilling than anything else I can imagine. To see straying young people find their way, to help them dig into themselves to unearth unique strengths and abilities they didn’t know they had and to inspire them to strive to become something when they didn’t give themselves a chance has been awesome.
And as in the case of Diane, to show them how captivating and important journalism and other facets of Mass Communication are has been my pleasure, all in a day’s work. And I couldn’t have done it without the Lord. Diane writes about my not being bound to notes and one alumnus once spoke of the showmanship of my classes. Nothing is taken for granted. I earnestly pray God, always, to help me reach the young ones. I am not interested in blowing hot air to bored and disenchanted youths. I ask Him to give me the words, the gestures, everything. What seems choreographed is God using various avenues to excite and capture young people of fleeting and indeterminate interest and to Him alone, I return all the glory.
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