Teacher Feature: Teacher Akeem
Undeterred by challenges, Akeem Alao has been passionately involved in the teaching and learning space for the past 10 years and has continuously upskilled himself and engaged in a range of activities. He teaches us that you can be anything as long as you have the self-confidence, drive and passion, and so it is imperative that students not only believe that they can succeed, but that they are given avenues and resources through which they can succeed.
I am Akeem Alao Babatunde. I am a graduate of English, and I earned a bachelor’s degree in English Education. My passion for English Language prompted me to study English and Yoruba Education at Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education and earned the Nigerian Certificate in Education. After that, I went ahead to Ekiti State University where I earned my Bachelor of Education in English Education.
After my NCE programme, I amassed a wealth of experience as a teacher at various tutorial centres and schools, and I have taken further self-improvement courses in grammar, phonetics, and writing. I started my teaching career at Eko Boys High School where I did my teaching practice in 2006.
I have been teaching for more than a decade. I have successfully taught at various levels of education. At present, I teach junior students English and Yorùbá Studies at Landmark College, Ikorodu Lagos.
In addition to my teaching experience, I have benefitted from refresher courses from foreign and local educational agencies, such as the British Council and Corona Schools. I have also worked on some publications, which include Kith and Kin Younger Learner Series 1 where I serve as the chief editor.
My knowledge of English grammar has considerably aided my writing skills. I write on academic and contemporary issues. I am also a freelance journalist. I work as an Editor at http://www.edugist.org . I am an Assistant Editor at Muslim Media Corporation and Parkchester Times, New York City. Apart from my qualifications, I possess enough pedagogic experience needed to execute any teaching task assigned to me.
My goal as a teacher is to make a difference— “persistence makes all difference”. I am always delighted when people make reference to me that I did this and that for them. When I was in secondary school, my academic performance was terribly bad. It took the intervention of a step sister, Habeebat Adegoke, to rescue me and place me on the right path. Today, I give thanks this God-send sister. And I am determined to impart knowledge and make meaningful impacts in the life of every one of the students around me.
My passion is to always add value to any academic environment I find myself. Hal Elrod states that “When you live your life in alignment with a purpose that is centered on selflessly adding value for others, opportunities become abundant and your life becomes fulfilled.”
I am passionate about grammar and writing. I am passionate about teaching. I derive joy in teaching these two aspects of English.
As a passionate teacher, one thing I do differently is to ensure that I facilitate understanding in the classroom. To achieve that is beyond sheer rhetoric. One has to put in action. To achieve that, I concretize my teaching. To me, it is a pedagogical abomination to teach in abstract. Even if instructional materials aren’t available, a good teacher will improvise. What do I mean by concretization? I make sure I use an audio-visual material to explain every concept I teach my students. With that, they see what I teach them, and it remains indelible in their memory.
I had lots of favourite teachers growing up. I will mention Mr Adeniyi Musa Usman and Mr Adeyinka Omoniyi. I received foundation knowledge through them until I stumbled on other scholars who still remain my favourite teachers. I have linguistic and journalism teachers. In the area of linguistics, I have to acknowledge the efforts of Mr Bolaji Ezekiel in the department of English Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Prof Farooq Kperogi, Dr Mutiu Olawuyi and Dr Henry Hunjo in the department of English LASU. Talking about my teachers in journalism, I can’t forget the significant roles played Miss Abigail Ibikunle, also an Editor at Edugist, and Dr Mutiu Olawuyi, Editor-in-chief at both MMC and Parkchester Times.
I have had lots of meaningful teaching experiences considering that I have taught at all levels of education. I started teaching at secondary school level Jss1 – SS3. When I transferred my services to a second in Ikorodu, I was tasked with teaching Primary 4-6 pupils, a class I had never taught before. It was a herculean task at the initial stage. But I later got used to teaching these kids. I developed so much interest in teaching them. My experience at the primary school level has helped me develop an interest in teaching lower classes. The reason I love these sections is that they are easy to control. You can easily mould and groom their character.
My best teacher resource is the internet.😀 I get lots of useful information from the internet.
My favourite food is rice and beans. My favourite snack is plantain chips, and favourite drink is water.
On a non-school day, I read and write. The only thing I read is opinions and editorials.
My advice to a first-year teachers: Do not lose focus. All you need is determination to achieve your goals.
My teaching mantra: Don’t teach today what you taught yesterday.
You can find me on Twitter @Alwaysakeem; Facebook @Akeem Alao Babatunde.
Dear Teachers, it is critical for success that you do not stop learning and upskilling yourself – lifelong learning is key to leading a meaningful life amidst all and any challenges and barriers in life and in your profession.