The learner turned to a classmate and said: “We didn’t even add water but there is foam. We are going to fail at the end of this year.”
The “Class of 2013” academic year officially kicked off on Tuesday this week.
While visiting some of the schools this week on an assignment, a grey cloud descended over me when the principal of one of the schools I visited told me that no learners were in class and that everyone was scattered on the school grounds. I thought he was joking but to my surprise the corridors were teeming with unruly learners inappropriately dressed in their uniforms.
To add to the confusion, the principal’s door was closed while he sat in his office doing what we like to term as “administrative” work.
During our days in school, we never knew of principals closing their doors and I’m sure you will agree with me that such behaviour was unheard of.
A practical example of how fearful we were back in the days compared to the class of the 20th century is when I was in Grade Six. I was part of a group of classmates who were like brothers and sisters.
That was probably the only year that I can think of that our parents or guardians never complained about us taking too long to get dressed for school.
See, we had this mathematics teacher called Mr Hartung who was also the principal of the school. We hated him with a passion because of his belief in corporal punishment. In short, he was the type of man who came to class on time, had a cane hidden in a custom made pocket only designed for that cane and to make matters worse, he always knew where and with whom he stopped his arithmetical interrogations the previous day.
In the mornings when we got to school, we as a class usually went to this drain near the sports field. The drain had water but that never bothered us and we never viewed it as a drain.
We called it the wishing well. When we got to school in the mornings we gathered at the wishing well with pebbles in our hands to say a morning prayer and then whole heartedly drop the stones into the drain and say: “Please let Mr Hartung die in a car accident on his way to school,” or “Please let Mr Hartung die from a heart attack.” Occasionally, we kept it simple by saying, “Please let Mr Hartung forget that he has to come to work today.”
By the time the last stone dropped however, our mathematics teacher sped past us all, heading for the main gate and at that moment, we knew that the sixth period on the timetable was booked.
In any case, that brought the best out of us.
As for the principals who close their office doors (unless it is due to the air conditioning in the office) while the school ground looks like a “disorder zone”, the old disgruntled man on the side of the road would say, “government must look into it.”
Schools have opened for the 2013 academic year and I speak under correction when I say that all the six-year-olds born in 2006 and 2007 are now in Grade One.
A teacher at one of the Primary schools I visited was so delighted to meet me that she invited me introduce myself to her Grade One class. My inability to hide my stage fright was however short lived when these bundles of trouble addressed me as “Miss” and “Teacher” and put an end to my short lived youth.
But that’s not the point. I could not help but laugh when I came across two little boys putting the pieces of a puzzle together. When I asked them what they were doing, the more vibrant boy sprung ahead of my question and before I completed it, he answered it.
In my mind, I told myself that I guess I knew then who the boss in that relationship was. I too had a relationship like that as a sod.
On my way back to the office, my colleague said, “look at some of these parents who just wake up and take their kids to school, with pantyhose on their heads. But I am sure they are happy that schools have opened again. Shame, they must enjoy it because time flies.”