#Journey after school is a weekly series that captures Nigerian youths’ life, struggles, ease, unemployment, and employment opportunities after graduating from universities, polytechnics, and colleges.
Our interviewee is a school owner – she shares an inspiring story about her journey after school and her ups and downs. Her story is truly inspirational.
Can we meet you, ma?
Yes, my name is Olushola. I studied primary Education – Yoruba at Ijagun Tai Solarin College of Education; it was then a university. I graduated in 2006.
Wow. That’s 14years ago.
Did you go for your NYSC then?
No, NCE graduates don’t go for service. It was a three-year course.
How has life after school been?
Hmm… it wasn’t a rosy one, but I was able to pull through eventually.
Please share your journey with us.
I started teaching after I graduated at a private school. The pay wasn’t okay, but I endured because I didn’t have any other livelihood source to rely on.
The stress was much too, but I didn’t have a choice. Changing workplace is like jumping from the frying pan to fire.
Were you eventually able to do other things alongside teaching, or were you based solely on teaching alone since you graduated?
No, I relied solely on teaching till I started my startup school.
What year did you start your school?
I started in 2015.
Please share your journey with us. I know it’s quite expensive to own a school, and judging from the pay you got from your teaching job, it couldn’t have amounted to a considerable amount, or did you get a loan?
Well, I started with lessons first before I changed it to school after two years. I used to take some small children for whom I charge their parents 50naira per day.
After two years, I realized my students are getting many; I decided to start school. I rented an apartment, employed few teachers, and things have been going smoothly ever since.
Although I still have many projects in mind for my school, we take it a step at a time.
Is it a nursery school?
It’s a nursery and primary school.
Well done ma, what has been your experience with handling a school?
I have had both good and bad experiences. The good thing is, I’ve surpassed my dream of becoming a teacher by owning my school.
The other experiences are unavoidable – like parents who are owing School fees refusing to pay on time and getting annoyed when you send their wards home for owing and the likes.
But so far, it has been a wonderful experience.
I hope you’ve been making your gain from the school also?
Hmm, compared to when I was working for someone, it’s much better.
At least, I have been able to live a bit more comfortably.
What made you stop working at your former workplace, and why did you decide to have your school?
Initially, I didn’t have the intention of starting a school. But there’s always a story behind everything, especially when it comes to success stories.
When I was working at my previous workplace, the proprietor gave an account of each teacher’s conduct and appraised them.
When it got to my turn, he mentioned that I only love to work when I notice him or other people around; he used the term ‘eye-service.’
I was unpleasantly surprised because I never expected such backlash. I was an underpaid teacher who’ll clean the classroom after school hours, mop, and wash the students’ potties.
Before he mentioned that point, I have been equally stressed out about the work. When I went to the hospital, I was asked to reduce my stress.
The stress level of the work, coupled with the fact that my efforts weren’t appreciated, made me think of what I could do to survive.
I thought to apply somewhere else, but fortunately and unfortunately, it didn’t work out.
Then I thought about hawking some goods. When I told one of my friends, she said it isn’t appropriate for a graduate to hawk.
She (my friend) was the one that called my attention to how good I was with students and that I could start my lesson, so that was how it all started.
My school is over five years now.
That’s a very inspiring story; thanks for sharing this with us, ma.
What’s your advice to young graduates that are looking for employment opportunities?
My advice is to focus on what they love doing best to make a livelihood.
I’ll also advise them to learn a hand skill – Once you’re able to package your skill, people will patronize you.
Many graduates with hand skills are now seeing that it pays off in the long run.