The University erupted my teaching skills. A teacher is like a candle that burns itself to illuminate others.
Just four (4) months in a land that I only knew through the Nigerian map, either on the Google or on the atlas map. I was born, breed, nurtured and grew to my level; up the Eastern part of the Igbo speaking State of Imo. I only knew Ibo culture while other peoples cultures were read on papers.
I came to Benue state, the food basket of the nation) as they claimed; the very first time in my life during my service year at Wannune permanent orientation camp Tarka L.G.A. That faithful Wednesday, it wasn’t funny because I arrived Wannune camp at about 10:30pm as a result of traffic and first experience.
The three weeks in camp was a whole lot of experience where every dime activity has its own lesson to teach even as man progresses. The early morning wake-up giggles blown by the military for morning exercise was quite confronting and discomforting, but man must adjust to avoid extra. Life inside the camp was worthwhile.
Leadership came to me. I was appointed the leader of my platoon. It was a room to learn and study individuals with different view, mind set, academic background, culture, orientation and philosophy about life, ideology, and especially people with different attitude.
I was posted to an academic environment of higher learning, UNIVERSITY OF MKAR, MKAR GBOKO L.G.A. I was accepted and directed to meet the Head of Department of Biological Sciences in the person of Dr. (Mrs) M.N. Ishuwa who assigned me an Assistant Lecturer to the Dean Students Affairs of the University to handle GENERAL BIOLOGY (BIO 1301) for year one students of the University. It was a worthwhile experience.
MY AREA OF INTEREST AS A CORPS MEMBER
Man by nature, have the tendency of likes and dislikes. My concept and ideology about things have developed, yet maintaining my life, concept and definitions, thus my interest is summarized:
- RESEARCH: my immediate environment really triggered me to keep finding. I developed interest in research especially course works by questioning the cause of nature. The environmental hazards caused by burning and endemic widespread of diseases in my location fostered by epidemiology. Knowledge would always build on itself. I was helpful to (Mr. Nwanne) one of the PHD researchers in my department to carry out some of his laboratory activities, also to my immediate boss in the lab. Mr. D. D. Akosu (PHD in view) who also taught me the everyday Biology laboratory equipment and uses. Their dedication and research lifestyle enhanced my love for research especially MSc work on PUBLIC HEALTH EPIDEMIOLOGY AND PARASITOLOGY.
- TEACHING: The University erupted my teaching skills. A teacher is like a candle that burns itself to illuminate others. As a University lecturer, my teaching interest has increased.
- PICNIC: My area of interest with picnic is in the monumental MKAR MOUNTAIN which is one of the natural edifices including the all known RIVER BENUE. The significant thing about the HILL or the MOUNTAIN is that it has some natural features like, football pitch, different species of trees, soil samples different climatic condition, species of animals, different activities which people engage there like retreats. All of these attracted my interest.
MY IDEOLOGY AS A CORPS MEMBER IN GBOKO
Ideology is like a doctrine, philosophy, body of beliefs or principles belonging to an individual or group. Mine centers on ‘’WITH CONSISTENT WALK IN CHRIST JESUS, I MUST OVERCOME’’. My life principles were ‘life is the outcome of what you put in it no matter the duration of time given’. I had different definition for everything and that has kept me going.
To NYSC, my ideology is that ‘it enhances national integrity’ but am afraid, because there is no means of sustenance. To my immediate environment, ‘’THE UNIVERSIY’’, maximize every opportunity no matter how little or big it is. This opportunity came as a lecturer in my service year, I grabbed and maximized it.
MY BENEFITS AS A CORPS MEMBER IN GBOKO
No man (especially IGBO) man engages in any business that does not fetch him gain or experience directly or indirectly. My little time in Benue state as a corps member has benefited me in some ways and areas which are summarized thus.
- ENHANCED PROFESSION: As a corps lecturer, I have been able to use more than one teaching skills or methods at a time while discharging my duties.
- ENHANCED COMMUNICATION SKILLS: I have benefited from this scheme in that, I have been privileged to address students and settled communication issues.
- ENHANCED MY READING AND STUDYING HABIT/CAPACITY: It became my habit to read and study in order to equip myself. You cannot give what you don’t have, this platform made me become more inquisitive to know more in order to defend myself.
- LEARNING OF ANOTHER PEOPLES CULTURE: I have been able to learn what brings about passion to citizens of Benue in their culture. They have the TIV, IDOMA, EGEDE and other tribes with different culture but specifically, the Tiv’s are predominant in Benue. I can now speak Tiv language as a second language aside my native IGBO language.
- A CORPS LECTURER: Not every corps member got such admired opportunity. I benefitted in the scheme as a lecturer in a university.
- HAVE AFFECTED STUDENTS’ LIFE: I had the opportunity to instruct the students on some dangerous effects of malpractice, I shared my life experience with them in some cases where necessary in order to motivate them. I also had the opportunity of hearing from some students who were having issues with their academics then proffered solutions to some in my little capabilities. As a corps member, I was privileged to access any place of my choice without obstructions and questions. This scheme also fetched me free method of preaching CHRIST to my neighbours especially during and after our discussions. It also gave me access to free lifts in most cases.
MY CHALLENGES AS A CORPS MEMBER IN GBOKO
The time frame though little but a whole lot of challenges and experiences. ‘Life is always in a process’. I was exposed to an unusual and unfamiliar atmosphere and Language, as a result posed a challenge though enough to impact and teach me new lessons. Others include;
FINANCE: This work is incomplete without finance as a challenge. The availability of resources in the country as at time of this report was quite obvious and noted. I came to the state with little or no money with the hope that the Federal Government and my PPA would comply to my financial need in time but they disappointed, I was able to minimize my expenditure from aids from brothers, uncles, church members, immediate native environment and maximized my means of livelihood.
LIFE OF A LECTURER: I was challenged by my new profession as a result of the required efforts. Although an already established system in me, preparing my lesson or lecture notes and lecture delivery were all tasking. I aspired to be a lecturer, and when such opportunity came, I grabbed it, utilized and enjoyed it. My first day in the class in front of over hundred students was like Oooow. Possession of the class with ‘GOOD MORNING STUDENTS’ and ‘ GOOD MORNING SIR’ response from the students after my formal introduction by my coordinator made me take in charge.
My benefits, ideologies, challenges, interests, challenges and my life as a corps member, science educator, Biology lecturer, BIOLOGIST and an EDUCATIONIST cannot be over emphasized, and may not be contained in this volume. It was quite a whole lot of experience in the first four (4) months of my stay in Benue State as a corps member. But my greatest is that
I HAVE COME TO ENJOY CHRIST THE MORE.
Author’s profile: Gift Chikezie Okorom is a Biologist as well as Educationist presently serving as a Corps member with University of Mkar, Gboko Benue State as an Assistant Lecturer. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org
NB: Contributions are welcomed from fellow Science Educators/Teachers/Lecturers, students, interested members of the public passionate about harnessing appropriate skills and competencies in learners.
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Onwukeme Ijeoma is a passionate Science Educator, Researcher, Academic Counselor and Consultant.