There were times in my life when home wasn’t the safe haven that it was meant to be. Those were terrible days and I wouldn’t have made it and become the person that I am today if it wasn’t for teachers that took time from all the workload to talk to a student, me, and see the good in me that nobody else ever saw.
Those are the words of Esther Kiazolu, an ABCU education student. As I expressed in an earlier blog, my holiday gift to you in my November and December postings is sharing with you about women, young and old, who are choosing to make a difference in this fallen world. Esther wants to touch the lives of others through teaching.
Sometimes when I look at Esther I think of the old fashion cinema, where American kids use to go on a Saturday afternoon and watch movies about exotic places such as Africa. Esther would have been able to play the part of the regal African queen because she is a polished young woman who carries herself with purpose and grace. When conversing with her, you can tell that she has had the privilege of a good education and has the potential to succeed at whatever she does.
I am telling you all of this because this young woman could choose any profession and succeed; yet she has chosen to become a teacher. As an educator I am thrilled, but in Liberia many people would be shaking their heads and questioning why she would ever choose such a profession. The life of a Liberian teacher can be difficult for a number of reasons:
- Low salary and lack of respect,
- Difficult school environment (overcrowded classroom, lack of school material),
- Overworked, having to work two jobs to survive, and
- Sexual favors often expected from a female teacher to get a position.
In a paper that Esther wrote she explained a number of reasons why she has chosen the teaching profession. Here is one:
Another reason why I want to become a teacher is because of the needs in the educational sector of Liberia. Liberia’s educational sector is one of the worst in the world, and I personally attribute this to the numerous years of civil crisis. The classrooms in post war Liberia have become more like a business arena than a place of learning. We find people calling themselves teachers exchanging grades for money and sex and what is really discouraging is that the students are the worst victims, especially females. During the Liberian civil war, we saw our mothers and sisters being mishandled and abused in all sorts of humiliating manner. Now that the war is over and the community of nations are helping us put back our shattered lives, it pains me greatly to see women still being taken advantaged of especially in the classroom which should be a place of stability. It is because of this burning desire to change things that I want to become a teacher. I believe that nothing satisfies teachers more, than to see a life fulfilled through them.
Esther has given me permission to share all of her paper with you, just click on the link below. It is only two pages and I think you will enjoy reading it.
Esther is one of many remarkable students with whom I have the privilege to work. She, like the other students, sees education as a calling to reach out and serve her nation. Teaching is a challenge wherever you go, but teaching in a third world country that has been torn apart by a civil war offers additional hardships. ABCU education students are being trained to meet these challenges and encouraged to go into schools and make a difference. This will be an uphill struggle for them, but with prayer and the belief that God has called them to take this professional path, they can and will make a difference.
Please pray for Esther and our ABCU education students.