What are you doing differently?

Source: Charles Aiyegbusi.
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Charles Aiyegbusi.

In September 2012, I got a job with Kingdom Citizens’ College in Jos. My job description as a science teacher included teaching computer studies to junior students.

I have always loved computers, and I was looking forward to having fun teaching it.

I picked up the materials (textbooks and curriculum guide) to prepare for my classes, then it hit me.

The design of the curriculum was only going to produce outdated computer users. Apart from the Microsoft office package suggested in the book, every other software program in the book was no longer in use. I was horrified!

I couldn’t imagine teaching game packages without the mention of PlayStation, Xbox, and even Sega.

I thought the problem was from the school, so I walked into the principal’s office to ask if I could lay my hands on a newer curriculum, he confirmed my fears what I was holding was the most recent from the government.

I started teaching the curriculum, but a piece of me was in serious revolt.

I felt we were cheating the students.
I mean, the government, the ministry of education, the schools using the curriculum, and the teachers who will stand before the students and teach outdated technology were all preparing the students for the past, not the future.

No, I didn’t sign up for that.
With the help of my principal, I tweaked the curriculum to be able to teach exciting topics such as programming, web design, and real graphic design. I was feeling fly!

Then I saw it.
I realized that one of the reasons for the loophole in our curricula at different levels of education in this part of the world is the issue of teachers’ capacity.

Can you give what you don’t have?
I saw that the only way to be able to inspire my students to break boundaries was to show them by breaking boundaries while they watched.

Who send me market?
Apart from programming with FORTRAN that I did as a theory course in the university, I have never touched a line of codes before. I didn’t even know where to start starting.

Long story short, I took a deep dive – I learnt programming with BASIC, HTML, CSS, C++, Javascript, and Python (with different success rates). I learnt the basics of Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, and I mastered website and blog creation with Blogger and WordPress.

In the process, I started and abandoned three blogs (TeenRiseAfrica.com, eduFortress.com, and charlesaiyegbusi.com ), I developed four mobile applications both from scratch and with drag and drop tools. I also designed some graphics for personal, professional, and commercial purposes.

Yes, lemme brag small abegi, do you think it is easy to start programming and designing at 26? It took every inch of passion and endurance!

Like I wrote in an earlier post, my education started after school, and I am grateful for that opportunity.

Why am I telling you all these?
You see, almost ten of my ex-students went on to study computer science, computer engineering, and other related courses.

Did I tell you that about three of them (still teenagers) have been running their graphic design businesses?

Mission accomplished!
I couldn’t be more proud.
However, I realized something magical, the students had benefitted immensely from my journey, but I was the greatest beneficiary. The process had improved and expanded my capacity. I was an updated and evolved Charles.

How does this apply to you?
The good book says that “whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might.”

Open your eyes; there are opportunities around you to reinvent yourself so you can be of improved value to those you serve, but it is going to require you to stretch and grow. Do it anyway, because you will be the ultimate beneficiary.

The path to fulfilment starts with taking responsibility for the things and the people around you. My digital exploits over the past couple of years began with the desire to offer better value to my young students.

What are you doing differently?