Dear Nigerian Social Studies Teacher: 10 Reasons Why You Must Step Up Your Game

1. Because there are not 3 ethnic groups in Nigeria, but at least 371 (if not even more); and should there really be a majority and minority when each ethnic group is just as whole and valid as the other? Wise up.

2. Because we do not have 2 religions in Nigeria. Do I even need to explain this? No.

3. Because Daddy does not "go to work" and Mummy does not "cook in the kitchen and take care of the children." Not in 2017.

4. Because in our textbooks, all photos of Nurses must not be women and all photos of Engineers must not be men. If the textbooks don't change, bring your own photos to class. Don't be lazy.

5. Because the rainy season does not "last from March to October" and dry season "from November to February." In case you missed the memo, our weather's fucked up now, so best get with the program.

6. Because the Police Is Not Your Friend, and neither is a soldier or navy or air force personnel. Don't teach them to love and trust the police or any sort of government force, because they will be oppressed, abused, raped, maimed, bombed and killed by the same people you have taught them to trust. Maybe try Stranger, Danger (while also including "uncles" and "aunties" within this bracket, mind you). 

7. Because your kids must know their rights as humans. I hear you teach about civic duties a lot, but what about rights? Do they know that, for instance, they're not to be touched without their consent? Or do you leave that part of your job solely for the parents?

8. Because SOSAN (The Social Studies Association of Nigeria) does not do enough to update the curriculum, so too many children grow into a Nigeria they do not recognise: a job market that does not exist; a government that doesn't exist; tribal, racial and gender divides they cannot navigate. Take your time to do the updating for SOSAN.

9. Because you must tell the bitter truth about our nation's history, present and future. You must engage Nigerian children with stories and help them navigate this complicated space from an early age. You must help them orient themselves, know who they are, how they got here, and where they can go from here.

10. Because teaching is not just a job. I know the harsh economic climate has caused you to succumb to this school's invitation. But you have to understand that being a formative teacher is akin to being a seedling farmer. You hold the hope of the future in your hands. This is a mission, dear teacher, and you must treat it as such.

Photo: Pierre Holtz for UNICEF

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