It was one of her dresm to travel out of the country. But when it came true last Sunday, Vivian Ifeagwu, a Primary Four teacher at Imperial Gate School, Lekki, Lagos, did not believe it.
She will be travelling to Dubai as part of her reward for winning the first-ever Teachers’ Reality TV Show last Sunday.
She beat 14 other teachers to win the first prize of N1.5 million and a trip to Dubai in a keen competition which lasted for two weeks. The first runner-up, Oladimeji Olawale, won N1m while the second runner-up, John Ojonugwa Attah, won N500,000. Also, the schools where they teach will each receive N500,000.
The Reality Show, an initiative of Anub Media Limited, with the support of the Federal Ministry of Education and Teacher Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), was for teachers aged between 21 and 45.
Seven male and eight female teachers with the highest votes were initially shortlisted to be in the ‘House’ located in Abuja from August 10. They spent two weeks in the house, performing various tasks and assignments. The housemates were evicted until they were whittled down to six at the finale last Friday. They were awarded marks on how well they performed their tasks by the judges, a jury and the votes they had.
Speaking on her win, Ms Ifeagwu said: “I was speechless.”
She continued: “I had mixed feelings. You know when you have prayed and then God answered your prayers. Earlier this year, I did a vision board and I talked of travelling out of Nigeria because I’ve never travelled out.”
Ms Ifeagwu said she heard about the reality show on the social media and shared the message before applying.
“I heard about the show when someone, Barry Ifedi, posted the link on a WhatsApp group, ‘Thinking School’, I belong to. I was sharing with others before I realised that I was yet to apply.”
While in the house, Ifeagwu said she loved the drama tasks the most. Unsurprisingly, when asked what she would have done had she not been teaching, she said it would be acting.
“I would write my scripts and also be an actor of that script. Drama flows from me. I love dramatising to teach my children. Creativity has always been one of my strengths. In fact, it is the number one strength I have acquired as a teacher. Most of my topics in class, I try to dramatise, I try to use stories for the children,” she said.
Ifeagwu started teaching in 2008 in Bayelsa State, during her National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) year. She studied Biochemistry at the Imo State University, Owerri. And after realising that teaching was a “calling” for her, she obtained a Post Graduate Diploma in Education at National Teachers Institute (NTI). Presently, she is rounding off a Master’s in Planning and Administrative Education at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) and intends to go for a PhD.
She, however, thinks it is dire how teachers are treated in the country. “In my society, teachers are looked down (on), especially when you say you are a primary school teacher or a nursery school teacher. They feel you do not have anything upstairs, that you are just working with children and jumping up and down with them. That really gets to me sometimes. And I keep asking God, how can teachers be appreciated as they should be appreciated because they really do a lot as the foundation for children, not only at the foundation, but at the secondary school, not to talk of our lecturers.
“Teachers are nation-builders. And if they are nation-builders and they make other professions, I think they should be appreciated more than they do in my country.”
According to the show convener, Ubaka Enuagwuna, the show sought to highlight the life of teachers. “Our aim was to create a paradigm shift in the way teachers are perceived in the country,” he said, adding: “We want teachers to be first class citizens just like in the developed countries of the world. Teachers make other profession possible. Why can’t they be given the right recognition and supported?”