21 September 2015

OPINION: Why Should Teachers/Lecturers be Given So Much Authority?

By Sicily 

I'm really bothered about this so I will go straight to the point. 

Ahmed has been all over the news, and #IStandwithAhmed was trending globally because he (Ahmed) decided to share his moment of joy and creativity with his teacher--whom he looks up to--and he was arrested for it. Ahmed designed a home-made clock in a briefcase, and brought it to his teacher for appraisal only to be arrested few minutes after because the teacher, with so much authority, labelled Ahmed as a terrorist and condemned him.

Speaking from experience, back here in Nigeria, I have been in a class where a friend has been asked to leave the class because he was putting on flipflops, and was still insulted on top of it. I mean, yeah I know it's good to dress nice to school but does the lecturer know if that's what he (the student) had or if he had a foot injury or something? No. The lecturer didn't care about these details.Using his authoritarian powers, he (the lecturer) just kicked my friend out and insulted him. It wasn't funny but almost everyone laughed--I didn't find it funny. I don't think they did too, perhaps they laughed out of fear. 

Why should lecturers make their students fear them? Respect is more like it! We pay our tuition and our tuition pays your salary it's injustice for me to ask a question and then I am being asked to answer it by myself, If I knew the answer, I wouldn't ask! 

How could a lecturer tell a student to quit and get married to a militant? How could you tell a student he or she is wasting their parents money by being in school? How could you call a student a fool? And how can students acquire knowledge when most of them are scared to attend a class? 

It's not fair to tell a student he/she has failed your course months before the exams even start. Even worse, you have no right to force students to pay a certain amount of money before they pass your so called "exam". If so there is no need to be in school, attend classes or even write exams; we should all just sort[1], since the system is corrupt, and I am a concerned student who is voicing out what others are scared of saying. 

We don't want to speak up against oppression because, we don't want to fail. "who will bell the cat?" or should I say "who will get the F?" 

Something needs to happen! There should be an improvement in the lecturer-student relationship. Lecturers should stop treating us like cows. I will remind them again, we pay your salary literally, and consider it a privilege that we still sit down and listen to you in these days of Google--when all knowledge is on-click away. 

When students behave wrongly they get suspended, why shouldn't lecturers be given same treatment? I once saw a lecturer say nasty things about the parents of a student. How do you expect the student to remain calm in such a situation? 

Allow me to deviate for a while, something else bothering me. We barely have enough classrooms these days in our Nigerian universities. You usually don't notice this until it's time for exams and then you see students struggling; invigilators arguing; yet these same schools build hotels and do other stuffs with our fees while we learn and write exams in uncomfortable places. 

Albert Einstein said "learn from yesterday, live for today and hope for tomorrow", but how can we hope when that privilege is been stolen from us? How can we hope for a good result when we are been told we going to fail before even writing an exam? How can we hope when we are being degraded by the same people we look up to?

Why should teachers/lecturers be given so much authority over us?

From a concerned student,

(Image Credit: learnac.co.uk)

1-- Sorting is a popular slang in Nigeria used to describe the act of paying money to a lecturer to get good grades in school.

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