Thursday, 2 October 2014

#WorldTeachersDay: A Tribute To Professor John Sani Egwugwu Illah

I never wanted to study Theatre Arts. I wanted to study Law. I didn't have any reason. I just wanted to. When I got admission on merit through JAMB to study Sociology, I thought it was a cool enough course so I didn't complain. 

For some funny reason, I was told while trying to register, that I couldn't. I was offered English as a substitute. I refused. Somehow I ended up with Theatre Arts. I was devastated. I had never heard of the course and being the shy person that I was, didn't see any future prospects for  course like that. My first year was exploratory and I did okay. By the second year however, I had picked enough interest in the course to forget about my intention to change courses. 
All through my 100-300 level, I still felt like I was floating. I didn't think I had the foundation needed to call myself a Theatre Artist. All that changed when I met Professor John Egwugwu Illah - a lecturer that made me, for the first time ever, truly appreciate the art of Theatre. The man would just waltz into the open air theatre of the University and hold intelligent conversations for the duration of his session without any notes. It wasn't what he taught me. It was what he didn't. It was what he made me read and discuss and discover in the piles of text I had to study before class each time. He made me think and I have realised that before him, I had done very little thinking as far as what I was learning was concerned. 

And because he had this habit of making us write tests unannounced, we all learnt how to read before going for his classes. It was too much pressure for a final year student like me when combined with all the other courses and electives I had to study for and all the theatre productions I was a part of. But the pressure paid off. Before long I found myself looking forward to his classes, enjoying the intellectual discourse in an atmosphere that encouraged me to share my thoughts and opinions. Sadly, that was when I graduated. 

Thank you Professor John Sani Egwugwu Illah for opening my mind to the beauty of Theatre Arts. Thank you for helping me think through the maze of information i was bombarded with and for helping me see all that the course allows me to be. I have been, I am, and I am still becoming and I still find it all amazing. And for your part in helping shape who I am today, I say thank you.

I wrote this post to mark The World Teachers' Day which comes up on October 5. The Teacher Development Programme, an NGO based here in Nigeria, is celebrating teachers who have made an impact in the lives of their students. Can you remember your favourite teacher? What made him/her standout? Write a short post about that teacher and end it with the hashtag -  #CelebrateATeacher on Facebook or Twitter.

Go on, lets make teachers trend this week!


©Naomi Lucas

1 comment:

patience Gowok said...

for a moment i thot i wrote this piece. prof is definately d teachers teacher!!