Tale 5: Of Teachers and Terrors (looongish)
Matamba, Thatcher, Tessiwaju!
My journey through High school was filled with highs and lows, joys and suffering (being a teacher's daughter - a strict one at that) compounded by home being a mere 107 steps up the green high rise in front of the Home Economics building.
Memories of having my ears pulled assailed me - and not for what I had done but said teacher Mrs. (slim, Social studies ahem!) gave me a tongue lashing and loads of pinches for a crime committed and no respect. She finally heard my tiny wails saying no I am not Toyin Akisami. Kudos to her she pulled me close and rubbed my ear saying sorry - but she still chided me (I was reading an Archie Comic in her class - sigh I told you I skirted the lines).
Recollections of Mathematics class taught in a manner that froze up my neurons no matter the teacher (well in Naija then, only one mode of teaching only - not sure that has changed much giving room for students varied learning methods). Again I got to go for extra lessons in Maths this time with an at first single deeper lifer. Till date my memory serves up more of pictures of her many pleated patterned skirts and puffy sleeved high necked tops than any theorem or formulas she tried to afix in my brain. :-) Me and Mathematics sha!
Conversely Geography I loved to a fault- so loved I never got less than an A - ever! Mr. Gboyega I see in my mind's eye rhapsodizing about longitudes and latitudes and painting pictures with words of the beautiful vistas - of mountains and deserts; of rainforests and Savannahs. Of Rivers brimming with tales of those long past - Nile, Niger, Senegal, Congo, Orange, Limpopo, Zambezi! I longed and vowed to see the world for myself. Thank you.
Economics and the joys of demand and supply I bore - the teach Mr. U. was not a hard one to look upon - many teenage eyes appreciated this! And he most definitely knew it - knew the effect he had on us students. WAs there rumours of a liaison or my memory writes a story here?
Memories of falling behind on note taking and not catching up to complete them - but still passing albeit averagely. I had dreams for a long while of trying to catch up with missed notes from Intro. Tech, Geography and Economics. Biology haunts!
With fondness I recall Mrs. Kehinde, Mrs. Bickersteth, Mrs. Shoda and a whole lot more (recall the terror of being summoned to staff room, the English department or even Music. Memories of being smacked because I dared to tilt my beret like the French - those things were wider than the National Theatre on my pointy pixie face! Thank you.
My foray into ‘formal’ writing from encouragements by my mums colleagues - one that saw me write in Pidgin and publish in the school Mag. Ouch. After decades I just outed myself! The gossip column Pidgin corner was written by yours truly. Decades later the rate at which I still slip into pidgin … (‘make you no go dat side yet abeg Titi’ - said to self).
And speaking of languages - Yoruba period and Uncle Tessiwaju - a nickname so well earned I cannot recall his real name beyond it starting with an F! Uncle Tess as we cheekily and affectionately began to call him and the reading of ‘Iyan ogun Odun’. Such an effusive love for his role as a language teacher - we would forgo lunch breaks and have the Hausa and Igbo students join us as he read in a theatrical voice. ahhh. Thank you.
To Mrs. Onuzo for encouraging me when I froze during Oral French in senior school. I don’t freeze up anymore ma. Je parle, ecrit et lis francais tres bien. Hee hee - and I made more chin chin to pay for evening classes at Alliance Francaise once I graduated University. Thank you.
And then there was Mrs Aganga my biology teacher. She saw beneath my decision not to exert myself beyond average then - and she challenged me to be the best version of me I can be. I determined to show her I could “*if and only if* I wanted to excel (stubbornness ehn!).
To each of these and many unnamed I say Thank you.
For giving yourselves to a profession that shapes and moulds us ,for our future but which is more often than not unrewarded and uncelebrated.
Merci, E she, Danke, Na go de, Dalu so, Thank you