Diary of a Teacher (DoT) with Titilope Ogundele

DoT: Wrong Counsel On Career Choice

In the post I made the previous week, I mentioned how the bias for the Arts class pushed me to the Commercial class; despite knowing I was to be in the Arts.

This bias has been a thing of deep concern for me over the years. It pains my heart when I hear people telling brilliant students that they must go for a course in the sciences.

Teachers, who are expected to know better, seem to be the guiltiest in this matter. The level of teachers’ insensitivity in this matter baffles me. It’s always like- ‘You’re brilliant, go to the Science class, you’re a dullard; go to the Arts and the average student; go to the Commercial class!’

Pardon my use of words. But sincerely, I find this thinking very myopic and insensitive.

This myopic counsel has misled many children into making the wrong choices. I would have missed it too but, just as someone told me, I was lucky. I agree I gambled with my destiny, too.

On very few occasions have I seen students who put their feet down and insisted they would go to the Arts class despite their brilliance. These ones are very few, many others are pushed into making wrong choices.

I taught in a government secondary school in Ibadan, Oyo state for about two years. Although the school had a counselor, the teachers took it upon themselves to judge those that would be in the Science class and those that would go to the Arts. Once a child is lazy or dull, they would tell the child immediately he cannot go to the Science class. When they see a student they perceive as a dull student making a move to go to the sciences, they are quick to tell her she cannot cope. What baffled me most was the fact that, the so-called Arts teachers were also partakers of this insensitive judgement.

It was really a pain in my heart, but I didn’t speak up. That was an error on my part, too. The teachers were mature women I respected.

Pupils should be given the right counsel on career choices early. And teachers need to be educated on this matter too; this is very important as we cannot underestimate the influence of teachers on their pupils/students.

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