Mrs Fausat Adegeye has become a star of sorts for holding online classes despite the COVID-19 pandemic that forced the closure of her school, Ebenezer Primary School 1, Agbado Ijaiye, Lagos and over 9,000 others nationwide.
The Lagos State government runs radio and television programmes on various primary and secondary school subjects on select radio and television stations. However, the English teacher went beyond the call of duty to use personal resources to engage her pupils remotely.
Eight weeks ago, she began teaching her subject on Facebook – taking one class level daily for six days of the week.
Mrs. Adegeye’s efforts came to the notice of the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board (LASUBEB) and last Thursday and she got a commendation letter from the board.
The 42-year-old mother of four told The Nation she was inspired to start the classes when she considered what parents must be going through trying to educate their kids.
“School closed in the last week of March. On Friday of that week, my kids were disturbing and I was worried about how to teach them because they are in different classes. Then I thought if I as a teacher was worried, how much more parents who are not trained to teach. I created posters and shared online about Facebook classes. I got encouraging feedback from all the groups I shared with so I started teaching March 30,” she said.
After downloading the scheme of work for the English Language for Primary 1-6, Mrs. Adegeye started her classes teaching her children along with many of her pupils and others for free.
To make the classes interactive, Mrs. Adegeye tells the pupils (assisted by their parents) to post answers to classroom exercises in the comments section. She also gives homework to the pupils after each class enough to last them till the next class.
“I teach one class per day – Monday to Saturday. The primary one to three classes for about one hour 20 minutes; but other classes, like Primary six can last up to three hours because we treat past questions. It is quite interactive and they answer questions,” she said.
Mrs. Adegeye said she spends about N3,500 weekly on internet access – which comes from her savings or her husband’s or from public-spirited people who recharge her phone line with data in appreciation of her efforts.
“Nobody is funding it. It is just I or my husband or some people who call me to appreciate my work and recharge my phone with data. Many pupils join my classes. Some private school owners even share the videos on their schools’ Facebook pages but do not bother to call to say thank you,” she said.
Indeed, Mrs. Adegeye’s videos get regular traffic – with many of the videos recording over 250 views and over 100 comments from participants answering questions asked during the sessions.
Presenting the commendation letter to Mrs. Adegeye at the LASUBEB headquarters in Maryland, the Chairman, Mr. Wahab Alawiye-King said: “As a mark of recognition of your efforts, LASUBEB wishes to commend you for the selfless service at ensuring that pupils in primary 1 to 6 acquire English Language proficiency during the period of school closure.”
Mrs. Adegeye told The Nation that the commendation and the appreciation of her pupils and their parents meant the world to her.
“Even before the recognition came, the response from people; the prayers from my pupils saying, ‘I love you’, ‘thank you’, ‘God bless you’, made me very happy. When SUBEB recognised me, it was the icing on the cake. They gave me a letter; people were saying there was no money but to me, money does not matter. This recognition can bring more money later,” she said.
Many of Mrs. Adegeye’s pupils and their parents commended the SUBEB’s recognition which she shared on her Facebook page.
A pupil, Bukky Ogunade, noted: “When my mummy saw my online teacher on the net receiving her award, she said: ‘How I wish I am beside her to snap pictures with her.’”