Hello everyone and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! This year promises to be amazing; I’ve got lots of interesting and enlightening posts planned out for you.
Today’s post is my interview with a remarkable woman who is not a stranger to the blog. I bet you remember Angela , the force behind Oakbridge Foundation in Abuja. I am excited about this post because of the growth Angela has experienced. TODAY is also her birthday; HAPPY BIRTHDAY Angela!!
Enjoy the interview and remember to comment and share!
TEYL: Kindly re-introduce yourself to us again, who is Angela?
AO: Angela is a passionate woman who went on a journey to change the world and found herself experiencing positive changes too. I’m still a teacher, a humanitarian and advocate for education.
TEYL: Thank you, Angela! What can you tell us about Oakbridge Foundation?
AO: Oakbridge provides the opportunity for indigents to access education that they can’t afford. We also provide scholarship links. We are raising globally relevant citizens who would look nothing like their social background owing to the opportunities that our programs present to them.
I need passion to drive me, but I need an open (pliable) mind to keep going and to make meaningful impact.
AO: A lot of LEARNING…haha. a new location with more children (we had about 10 pupils, now we have 52 across four grade levels), more resources, more partnerships and prospective ones. Might I add, a website and school uniforms that give our children a sense of identity and oneness.
TEYL: Wow, this is amazing! A lot has happened in 3 years. Well done!
TEYL: I am sure you have had a lot of lessons in your journey, can you share your most profound lessons till date?
AO: That identifying your passion is the starting point, the rest of the way is a lot of learning, the need to embrace new ideas (strategies) and to let go of those that don’t work. I need passion to drive me, but I need an open (pliable) mind to keep going and to make meaningful impact.
TEYL: Hmm, this is profound! So, would you choose this path given another chance?
AO: Yes! In a heartbeat! But I’d request to start (be armed) with all the lessons and experiences I’ve gathered…hahaha
TEYL: Hahaha, smart request! What are your memorable moments on this path?
AO: Hmmm…this may sound funny, but meeting people who knew me as a child or in my late teens and they say, “you talked about this when you were younger” “you always knew what you wanted to do with your life”. I don’t have it all figured out, but I’m grateful for consistency even in times when the challenges get so tough. Another is seeing my children do things that I pictured years ago, one of them is watching them guide and supervise other children during our Reading Improvement Drive, it’s fulfilling seeing them play roles that would bring change to them, their community and a ripple effect to the world.
…meeting people who knew me as a child or in my late teens and they say, “you talked about this when you were younger” “you always knew what you wanted to do with your life”.
TEYL: Interesting. You had a picture in your mind, talked about it, put in the action and it is manifesting!
TEYL: So, with your experience, what advice will you give to a new teacher, a tired teacher and a passer-by (people who teach until they get something better?).
AO: To a new teacher, collaborate and be open to learning even from your pupils,
To a tired teacher (I’ve been tired 600 millions times…hahaha);
- You are doing more than you give yourself credit for! Go on inspiration haunt; get something that inspires you, new inspiration shows you a different way of doing things and a beautiful view of how well you are doing.
- GRATITUDE, you see things differently when you are grateful for your journey (even in difficult times), appreciate the small victory, the calling, because nothing blurs vision like ingratitude.
…you see things differently when you are grateful for your journey (even in difficult times), appreciate the small victory, the calling, because nothing blurs vision like ingratitude.
To the passer-by:
- I hope you one day realize-as has been with some people I know- that teaching was what you were meant to do, otherwise I’d say, give it your best while you’re at it, because teaching equips you for life.
TEYL: Thank you for sharing these gems! You have been a teacher and now an employer of teachers, tell us what skills are valuable to you as a teacher and employer of teachers?
AO: For the teacher, effective communication of goals, new ideas, principles and the likes is important. Also, creativity and spontaneity; every teacher is blessed with that to some degree.
As an employer of teachers; proper structure and management skills. Then influence; the ability to transfer my passion and inspire my teachers to give their best even when I’m not there.
TEYL: What do you do to keep yourself at cutting edge of your career?
AO: I study, I make the best use of training opportunities (always an active participant) and I collaborate.
TEYL: Podcasts, book, YouTube or blog, which do you prefer for a knowledge/skill top-up?
AO: YouTube! (please share you favorite YouTube channels)
TEYL: Hahaha!! I see a visual learner here! Alright, what book has made a huge impact on you?
AO: “The Winning Attitude” by John Maxwell
TEYL: What is the bigger picture for you?
AO: A place of global relevance, not for show, but as an indicator that we have made meaningful impact beyond our immediate community.
TEYL: I love what you said right here “not for show but as an indicator that we have made meaningful impact”.
TEYL: Where do you see Oakbridge Foundation in the next five years?
AO: I see us on our property, with a state of the art learning environment, I see us raising children who are entrepreneurs and innovators even while in school, I see our students go on exchange programs in other countries and sharing their culture and knowledge with others. I see our children as recipients of scholarships for secondary education, locally and internationally. I see us having a standard that attract “the haves” to want to enrol their children and pay for our services.
TEYL: Yes and Amen to this dream!!
TEYL: From your experience, what practical solutions can be taken towards solving our education challenge in Nigeria?
AO: First I would say, we should see it as a challenge that affects us all, because one way or another we would get a taste of the outcome. Three words come to mind: Curriculum, Budget and Accountability:
- We need qualified and open-minded people to thoroughly revamp the Nigerian curriculum to meet the needs of the 21st century learner.
- The budget on education needs to be increased to at least the minimum 15% recommended, this includes teacher remuneration, because teachers need more motivation than they are getting.
- Lastly, ACCOUNTABILITY (not witch haunting). We need to infuse this in our value system, all stakeholders in the education sector should be taught the need for accountability and proper measures put in place to ensure its actualization.
I have to say the overall best way to achieve these is, for the key players in any of the above mentioned processes to be educators, education consultants and organisations whose focus are on education policies.
TEYL: These are important and thank you for mentioning them. Finally, do you have any closing words for the readers?
AO: Here goes:
- To those who have lost hope in our education system, please don’t. Start conversations if necessary, find out ways that you can support the improvement of our education system.
- To partners of Oakbridge Foundation, THANK YOU.
- To people who in their little corner are doing things to help our future generation, especially those who do not have the opportunities the need, your good work will not be wasted, you would see how these children turn out and you would be grateful you did not hold back.
Thank you all for reading; and thank you very much for doing this, Tobi.
TEYL: It has been an absolute pleasure Angela! Kudos and more grace for the work ahead!!
I hope you enjoyed this interview and picked up some relevant lessons. One thing I am taking away from this chat is the need to keep an open mind “pliable” while maintaining my passion on this journey of making an impact! Do let me know what your key takeaway is in the comment section below and remember to share!