Rukky Esharegharan is an early childhood education expert and founder of The Teachers Hub and South Pacific Teachers Academy. This is an initiative she founded to help deal with the lack of skilled teachers in the Nigerian education sector.
In less than two years since founding The Teachers hub, Rukky has grown its membership from 1 to 7500 members. She talks to us about her journey building the Nigerian education sector.
How did your journey as an educator begin?
I first began my journey 16 years ago as a nursery teaching assistant while I awaited my university admission. Initially, I wanted to be a doctor and later a writer. For my degree, I studied English and later published a series of short stories, wrote a novel and started a blog.
Teaching was just something I did during the holidays to pass time. Our society does not promote teaching as a lucrative profession for high achievers, so even though I was great at teaching, I never thought of it as a prospective career.
Two things changed me.
Firstly, my quest to play an active role in my children’s lives led me to study more about early childhood care and education. Secondly, my teaching experience in a government secondary school in Warri, Delta State, opened my eyes to the decay in our education sector.
When I met the children, something stirred up within me. Each day I would go home upset and worried about how unmotivated the senior secondary students were.
I wanted to help these children but a 40-minute English lesson three times a week was not enough. Therefore, I decided to fully immerse myself in education.I am redefining education in Nigeria, one teacher, one school owner, one parent at a time - Rukky Esharegharan Click To Tweet
Tell us about The Teachers Hub and the impact it is making
I started ‘The Teachers’ Hub in December 2016 with a singular vision ”to equip parents and educators with 21st-century teaching skills.” Though we have schools for education, we lack skilled teachers.
The Teacher’s Hub community was founded with the aim to network with, and helping other educators. In the past 8 months, I have trained over 350 educators (teachers, parents, school owners and consultants).
The many testimonials have inspired me to keep going. A parent from one of my courses called me to say she had decided to become a full-time teacher after the training with me and I cried with joy. I am redefining education in Nigeria: one teacher, one school owner, one parent at a time.
How has social media enabled you to grow The Teachers Hub brand and what makes it stand out?
The Teachers’ Hub started as a Facebook group a while back, and we’ll be hosting our first of many Early Childhood Education Conference in April and May across 4 states (Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Delta).
Without social media, I won’t have come this far. I have people contact me from different parts of the world and that’s because of the power of social media.
What makes The Teachers’ Hub stand out is that I give of myself so freely. When I first started, I had a dear friend call me to say ” Why are you sharing so much for free in your group?” She could not understand when I tried to tell her that I just wanted to help other educators find their way.Without social media, I won't have come this far - Rukky Esharegharan Click To Tweet
What advice can you give aspiring teacher being held back by the poor remuneration in Nigeria’s education sector?
I like to say that ”teaching is a work of the heart.” Do it, not for the money, but for the love of our children, the love and future of our country. Only quality education can liberate us from the mess we face in our country. Make that sacrifice today so that our children will get a better future.
Money is important because we all have needs. However, money is often the after effect of hard work, passion, dedication, personal development. Be the best teacher you possibly can be and the money will come.
What difference did working with UNICEF make in your journey as an educationist?
My current work with UNICEF has opened my eyes even more to the realities of the Nigerian education sector. When one is a teacher or even a school owner or consultant, they don’t fully grasp the decay or damage in the system, unless you have someone show you a bigger picture.
UNICEF helped me look beyond the symptoms of our dysfunctional educational system to the root cause. And our team’s solution will address the root cause and not just the symptoms. It’s a very big project that would have a national impact.
What lessons have you garnered from your entrepreneurial journey?
I have learned that to be a successful entrepreneur, one must be passionate, committed, focused, hardworking, highly self-motivated and be a lifelong learner.
Don’t be too quick to say I have arrived, no matter how good you are, because there is always something more to add, to learn, to be.
There is this saying that a teacher’s reward is in heaven, what is your take on that?
Yes, I believe the saying to be partly true because great teachers are like mothers: our love and commitment to the children can never be adequately compensated with material gains.
While I will say yes we have a very big reward waiting for us in heaven, we can and should experience wealth in financial terms, also good health, peace, and satisfaction here on earth. All we need to do is work consistently on being the best versions of ourselves.Don't be too quick to say I have arrived, no matter how good you are Click To Tweet
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