he children shared their dreams enthusiastically both in writing and in class room discussions. 'I want to be a Gynaecologist." I want to be a Geologist! "I want to be a Physicist." I want to be a Criminal Lawyer." I want to be a Police Officer and save innocent people." "I want to be a Soccer Star but just in case it doesn't work out, I would study hard and become a doctor!" (said one of the boys who has a strong interest in the Spanish La Liga!). Of course some want to be entertainers; they are attracted by the glamour, money, and fame. These future leaders were about to graduate from primary school and it was important to enlighten them on some Career paths in Creative Writing.
Well, these chatty students ruled out the prospect of "teaching" as a career because teachers are "poor," they shout, get angry, and always complain about having a headache! In fact, they said they can't tolerate what they do to their teachers, from other children in future! "So who would teach your children?" I wondered aloud. They shrugged their shoulders and laughed....
Pictures of some old and young Nigerian Writers scrolled on the smart board with their names deliberately excluded. There was silence...more silence...some cheers....then silence....With a little fusion of history and some famous book titles and accomplishments of these writers, the children "oohhed" and "aaahed" as they made connections. Most of those books were at home in their parent's library, they acknowledged. The least checked out books in the school library are those books by Nigerian or other African authors, except when it is a compulsory reading text "imposed" by the Librarian! It is often a futile task to engage them in local stories relevant to their environment. They say it is boring and have got no sparks of imagination! However, they still can't "escape" from the tortoise for they must learn folk tales as part of Fiction stories! These young students are huge fans of Western writers and when asked to show the books they are reading as part of building a reading culture, they flash and wave glossy books with attractive book covers...maybe that is the catch! So who knows, they could become engaging writers of short stories or novels that would captivate a young audience!
One of the superb writers beamed with confidence declaring, "I would like to be a doctor and a part-time journalist." Thanks to the hours she spent whipping out articles for her school press club! Another girl was enthused as she already knew she would be a novelist....she was great at inventing characters and planting them in settings that were astounding. Hopefully, that name would ring a bell some day!
Prose, Poetry, and Drama are the branches of Literature that they would encounter in Secondary school if chosen as an elective, even if they are drawn to Science. In retrospect, Physics, Chemistry and Biology (PhyChemBa) were the core subjects for "serious" minded people and any affinity for Art subjects like Literature, Commerce or Government portrayed one as "unserious." However, with Creative writing in the school curriculum, children can be exposed to writing as an Art path to pursue. A lot of these children have sparks of creative talent and somewhere in their journey, writing could become their passion. Hopefully, the writing flame would not burn out.
Corporate Communications, Playwright, Advertisement writer, Writing coach/teacher, scriptwriter, Journalist, Speech Writer, Poet, Novelist etc; these are just some of the Career paths that these young minds could explore in the future either as full time or part-time careers. Our society needs to continue to embrace and encourage more children to pursue Art subjects or at least choose them as electives because even Doctors and Lawyers have stories to tell.....