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Let’s reminisce…

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When I observe how children of these days grapple with homework from school and LESSON TEACHERS, I immediately begin to wonder how some of us that were not as shepherded-managed to hold our own!

In our time, the only time some people ever picked their school bags was when going to school… the next day. Otherwise, once back from school-you drop your bag and get busy elsewhere…especially with PLAY.

I remember our teacher (in primary 2) dividing us into groups- to recite the multiplication table. When she allowed me to go back to my seat, I knew it was probably because my voice was amongst the loudest…

When lost, I simply read the lips of ‘the intelligent ones’ and quickly voiced out what I figured they were about saying.Ain’t no HELL (in my young mind) like reciting the multiplication table…mehn!…especially that table 9.

Surprisingly, those who came out tops in the exams are the NUT heads.One boy (who often came tops in my class) was always caught… either hunting birds or plucking fruits in near-by farms during school hours.Another, who is a medical doctor today, always went straight to the market (from school) to sell fish. We even nicknamed him AZU (fish).When I think of the fact that some of the “very serious cum intelligent” ones did not turn out as expected, I remind myself that, at some point, SELF DEVELOPMENT (irrespective of how you started) has to kick in…if you want to go far in life.

My ‘primary 4’ report card…
The teacher’s remark I only got to understand when my brother came home for Christmas.
‘’She is afraid of Math. Please, help her at home.’’

For real?
That teacher (Mama Chibuzo) sef! Who would help at home?
Grandma (my fair lady!), who did her own ‘reading of newspaper’ by holding it upside down and then staring intently at pictures?
When my brother a budding Engineer then, subjected me to learning math during his visit,
something about the way he communicated the figures to me made more sense-to me.
Has my relationship with FIGURES become cozy? Preferably…if it has to do with an ALERT!

Sometimes it depends on who is doing the teaching… Like my FURTHER MATHS teacher in Queen’s School, Ibadan. Much as my dislike of that math is huge, one probably projected a serious enough disposition to earn her endearments.

So much so that when one flunked the “further Maths exam, she blamed even the malaria that once made me miss school for days.Post-junior secondary, most schools would simply ship those with excellent results off to a science class, as if a good result automatically meant an INTEREST in the sciences.

Yet, some of us also didn’t seem to mind, because our friends were in “science class.”There was always an aura of superiority around one who offers science subjects. Even when someone like me ended up struggling seriously with subjects like Physics and Further Maths.Another time that an ‘Oga’ needed to guide me through some ‘calculations’-for a professional exam, My ‘yeye’ hand was busy SOMEWHERE.

Who told him to wear boxers while teaching somebody MATH?
Frankly, I don’t know how kids of these days do it…they even look forward to going to school, everyday. I am also thinking that school has become a lot more fun these days, with the proliferation of competitive private schools.Cane wielding teachers forms my biggest recollection of my early school days. One picked up books in Secondary school because that’s about the time I began to find school interesting.

In Primary school? Frankly, I had rather stay home and have Mama buy me isi azu (fish head).I HATED school, then. And would often cry my eyes out before leaving home. My happiest moments were Fridays because I knew there would be no school for the next two days. And my joy on such days knew no bounds, that even people that were not within earshot received a loud GOOD AFTERNOON (especially when one is heading home after school hours) from me.

University experience is very humbling. If you carry your “local champion” sense to the ivory tower…you will see.Usually everybody starts out carrying shoulders high…until the first semester result is out and our RESPECT automatically shifts to those whose grades are talking loudly.A friend once revealed that in their own days, they usually went to the farm as early as 4:00am…before heading to school.

And I thought to myself that such folks are the ones deserving of the #real accolades.I can’t imagine still going to school after going to the farm…on the same day! They have to choose ONE o…school or farm.Those are folks that when I think of…I still think that one’s childhood (despite all the odds) was somewhat BREAD&BUTTER.


In this article:
Chukwuneta Oby
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