The recently formulated National Teacher Education Policy has as one of its eight principles, the need to provide adequate incentives to attract competent people into the teaching profession. An in-depth understanding of what makes Nigerian school teachers incompetent will form the basis for the kind of incentives to be suggested. Loss of self esteem appears to be a major reason why teachers abandon teaching at the least opportunity. Incentive strategies for retaining competent teachers must therefore aim at enhancing their self esteem and ensuring societal respect for them. This paper presents some workable incentive strategies for managing teachers self esteem. Among the strategies discussed are statutory regulations of the teaching profession through licensure and Teachers’ Conditions of Service that are in line with the 2000 ILO/UNESCO Joint Declaration on the status of teachers. Finally, it is hoped that any African country with similar historical background can adapt the principles discussed here.