I remember one of the times I gained admission into an Indian university. They were so excited to have an African, Nigerian come to the school and even when I didn’t go eventually, they kept calling to know how I was faring and all.
One of their goals which they shared with me is – Unity in Diversity.
In my previous class I had the three major ethnic groups represented in my classroom (Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa) and it was fun.
The fun didn’t start just like that. It was a process.
One day, I overheard them arguing and didn’t get involved until I heard ‘Don’t mind him! He’s even Hausa!’
When did that start?
What has tribe got to do with what’s happening in my classroom?
So I called them together and asked questions.
The usual 3rd graders fight. One tent against another. Nothing serious but it could lead to- with what was just uttered.
Apparently, the girl who said it had heard some adults say something along that line. It was in the news during that time so she overheard some adults analysing the country so she thought it was cool to say that to earn points.
Not in my classroom.
I asked for their states and showed them the map of Nigeria on my then laptop. What do you see, I asked.
One saw the beauty.
One saw the states. Etc
But no one saw the thin line differentiating all the states.
No one saw how close we are to each other on the map.
They forgot how they use to stand up for each other against other classes (especially those kindergarteners who can’t forget that I’m no longer their teacher 😂)
They didn’t remember how we would hold hands to pray before and after each day
They forgot how they would sulk and be sad at intervals when one of their friends falls ill or is absent from school
So I reminded them.
Before I left, the way they support each other is out of this world.
If they keep it up, not forget or are constantly reminded, I see those ones becoming a powerful united force ready to take the world by storm.
I’m proud of them.
Before I became Nigerian, I am human.
I am a Teacher too.