OpEd, Politics

A letter to my dear teacher

Nyak Lam


Dear Sir

Many people in our country have wrong perceptions about you. They have given you names and titles, clothes, food, drinks, hairstyles, salary, rooms, toilets, weekends, parties, wives/husbands, and children, among others, which I don’t like. The letter I have written is a declaration of my war with them if they won’t change their perceptions of you. Please read the below paragraphs and mark my words, not their words.

They said, “You are just a teacher.” I always grieve when I hear anyone say that. My teacher, in that way, perceives you. But this is how I perceive you. I perceive you as the savior of our nation. His Excellency, Salva Kiir Mayardit, became our president because he first went to school. Imagine if he didn’t go to school. Do you think he would travel to America or other English-speaking countries? Do you think he could plan well for the country without you? The president couldn’t make good decisions for the country if you didn’t teach him. He can’t earn the respect due to him from all the citizens in the country if you haven’t helped him before. I believe the president will agree with me that you made him the president, not himself.

My dear teacher, you can’t be called “just a teacher” when you make everyone a leader. Is it not a requirement that one be a leader with no compromise to his or her education history in our country? If education is required from every leader, who should be respected? Of course, that is you! I hope my leaders will read my argument. They have to join me in the fight for teachers’ acknowledgment in the country. Why should they forget you when you made them the way they are today? Even in public gatherings, they can’t introduce you. They give you the last seat. You eat after everyone has eaten. People take greetings as a curse. A mere greeting is taken as a curse!

One thing you need to know, dear teacher, is that what matters is not what people say about you, but what you tell yourself. They think that you have no value. But you know you have value. Since you know you are valuable, what they say will never affect you in any way. You are the father and the mother of all. Between a parent and a child, who is valuable? Who can’t live without the other? Who depends on whom? Every living soul will answer perfectly that it is the parent who is valuable, and the child depends on the parent. Please, my teacher, your value is unimaginable.

I heard them say that they devalue you because of your salary. They say that your salary isn’t valuable. It is true what they say about your salary. I agree that your salary doesn’t help at all. I surely affirm that you have a lot of debt because your salary can’t cater to your basic needs. You are not married today because your salary can’t make you marry the woman you love. Almost a quarter of the workers in the country are paid in dollars, but you are paid in pounds. Oh, aren’t you proud that you are paid using your own money? Yes, it is true that your salary is nothing, but…

But who pays you? Do you pay yourself? If a child fails, who is to be blamed? Isn’t it the mother or father who is to blame? You are paid by the government; can’t that blame go to the government? Isn’t it the government that is to be devalued? There must be something wrong with their judgments. I don’t think their judgment is correct. If there is a problem with the message, it is the sender that should be blamed, not the receiver. If there is something wrong with this letter, any logical being will only blame me, not my reader. If they think you are devalued because of your salary, I will prove them wrong. They are wrong now, and they will be wrong forever.

Besides that, dear teacher, what makes a person? Is it what you have or who you are? Definitely, you are who you are. You cannot be judged based on what you have. What differentiates a fool from a wise person? The fool judges what you own, but the wise judge your character. It is because they lack wisdom that they judge you based on your salary. Salary makes no person. You just need to take them for fools, my teacher. I see you as a rich person despite your low payment. You will make it, sir. I am very sure that your main objective is not money but the education of your people. You are serving your nation. The joy of every honest parent is the success of his or her child. Likewise, your joy is the success of your learners. Take courage, my teacher. You are richer than anyone in our country.

Also, I once learned from a person of great mind. I learned that what makes one rich is one’s mind. My dear teacher, you need to use your mind, please. The money you get is enough for a great mind. You don’t need to see the quantity of the money, but the quality of it. You can save some of it and start a small business after some time. It is sad that I sometimes hear you complaining about your salary. It is not good, sir. Complainers never do anything good for themselves. They waste all the time they can spend planning and complaining. Don’t complain, my teacher. Please plan with that little money, and you will soon see yourself as a very rich person. You have a great mind. Please make use of your mind. It will make you richer.

Please, my teacher, forgive me if I provoke you to anger with this. I am not happy about how you dress and live your life at home. See how you dress, my master. Why do you put on one shirt every school day? Please, your learners are tired of your red T-shirt. I also need to tell you that I was not happy when I visited you last week. I was shocked to see my teacher sleeping on a mat. I always ask myself why you couldn’t buy bed or clothes.

Yes, my teacher, I know you are trying to manage the crisis. I know many people depend on you. I know you assume the responsibility of all your family members. But, my teacher, do you think it is right to live miserably because of others? I don’t think God will condemn you for taking care of yourself. Imagine yourself drowning in the water with your friend. Do you help yourself first, or do you help your friend and drown yourself? I believe you will first help yourself. It is the same scenario, sir. Help yourself first. Buy clothes for yourself. Sleep in a bed, please!

My dear teacher, don’t also forget that people judge a book by its cover in our country. They only judge your physical appearance. They don’t understand your plans since they judge the present, not the future. You may be saving for a better life tomorrow, but they only conclude that you are living miserably. Please save, but don’t live a miserable life.

My teacher, I also know that you were shocked when I was brought to your office for an indiscipline case last week. You had known me as a very disciplined boy before that incident. Please, I need you to know the story now.

It was when we had gone for our launch that I got some girls discussing you. You know girls can discuss boys and men like nothing. They were making jokes about you. Some were saying that they admired you, but they hated some other things about you. They love your teaching. They love how you freely interact with all the students in the school. Despite your good teaching and character, they hate your dressing. They said that you always put on torn shoes and torn clothes. They nicknamed you because of your dress. I wasn’t hurt severely until they mentioned that your mouth often smells. They were laughing at the fact that you don’t often brush your teeth. That forced me to slap one of them. To me, that was an allegation because it is taught right from lower primary school that one should brush his or her teeth twice a day.

How can the father of the whole nation fail to brush his teeth? Though you are always busy scheming and planning for your class, it can never be true that you don’t brush your teeth.

Their other joke was that you won’t get married because they don’t believe you can keep a woman. They said a woman requires a lot of things. She must plait her hair weekly, eat expensively, and sleep in a good room. According to them, they don’t believe you can do that. They also said the dowry is a sealed story.

Dear teacher, I fought those girls because I don’t take you the way they do. I know you will marry and manage your wife and children. The good news is that marriage today is not how it was in those days. It is not a must that everyone marries. You will marry because you want to. Take your time, master. There are still girls who are dreamers and would prefer to marry a dreamer like you. You will one day meet a dreamer meant for you. Leave it all to the Creator.

In conclusion, dear teacher, you are our oxygen. I love you so much. We can’t breathe without you. The country can’t prosper without you. There must be no development without you, my teacher. There will be no good leaders without you. I believe my president will give you $1,000 after reading this article. I believe he will if he parties with me. You have great value, and your contribution to the well-being of our country is unimaginable. Who can pay God? If people cannot pay God, please know that nobody can manage to pay you. Serve your nation because you are called to. Be blessed, my nation’s savior.

Tr. Nyak Lam Wuol Liep is an English and Literature teacher. He can be reached via Tell: 0922534953Email: nyaklamc@gmail.com

Comments are closed.