The role of teachers in nation building

Mr Francis Agaba who scored aggregate 10 at Rwentobo High School receives gifts from school directors. PHOTO | PEREZ RUMANZI

What you need to know:

  • Teach him to listen to everyone, but teach him also to filters all that he hears on a screen of truth and take only the good that comes through.

Dear teachers,
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained, you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” Sun Tzu stated.

Before and during the colonial era, teachers were the most respected and influential professionals.  

During the struggle for Independence, teachers took a central role to liberate their countries. 

This was possible because teachers were not cowards. They had influence over the parents, students, fellow teachers and the communities at large. I strongly believe that teachers can still have the same influence. This can help to shape the nation.

This is equally revealed in the letter below.   

The 16th US president Abraham Lincoln wrote a beautiful and insightful letter to his son’s teacher. Words used in the letter are so powerful. Lincoln hoped that teachers would help to build the nation with quality human capital.

“My son starts school today. It is all going to be strange and new to him for a while and I wish you would treat him gently.

It is an adventure that might take him across continents. All adventures that probably include wars, tragedy and sorrow. To live this life will require faith, love and courage. 

So dear Teacher, will you please take him by his hand and teach him things he will have to know, teaching him but gently, if you can.

Teach him that for every enemy, there is a friend. He will have to know that all men are not just, that all men are not true. But teach him also that for every scoundrel there is a hero, that for every crooked politician, there is a dedicated leader. 

Teach him if you can that 10 cents earned is of far more value than a dollar found. In school, teacher, it is far more honourable to fail than to cheat. 

Teach him to learn how to gracefully lose, and enjoy winning when he does win. 

Teach him to be gentle with people, tough with tough people. Steer him away from envy if you can and teach him the secret of quiet laughter. Teach him if you can – how to laugh when he is sad, teach him there is no shame in tears. Teach him there can be glory in failure and despair in success. Teach him to scoff at cynics.

Teach him if you can the wonders of books, but also give time to ponder the extreme mystery of birds in the sky, bees in the sun and flowers on a green hill. Teach him to have faith in his own ideas, even if everyone tell him they are wrong. 

Try to give my son the strength not to follow the crowd when everyone else is doing it. Teach him to listen to everyone, but teach him also to filters all that he hears on a screen of truth and take only the good that comes through.

Teach him to sell his talents and brains to the highest bidder but never to put a price tag on his heart and soul. Let him have the courage to be impatient, let him have the patient to be brave. Teach him to have sublime faith in himself, because then he will always have sublime faith in mankind, in God.

This is the order, teacher but see what best you can do. He is such a nice little boy”                Lessons learnt:

1. As human beings always have faith in whatever you do. For as long as it is right. “You have no reason to get angry when you’re right and you have no right to be angry when you’re wrong.

2. In every bad person, there are some good aspects. One needs to keep the smile high amidst the challenges faced. Keep going.

3. Discovering the greatness of a person is a very important aspect of life. Hard work, faith, money, courage, losing gracefully and love can make one thrive through this world with ease.

4. Treating people with respect regardless of their tribes, religion, education level, political affiliation, kindness, harshness and cruelty can put the nation to another level.

Let us play our vital role in nation building. Take the mantle and drive the young generation to the Promised Land.

Kangave Mudi, National Chairperson,  Private Teachers Platform [email protected]