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Tuesday, 5 September 2017

DIARY OF AN ADVOCATE- EPISODE 8: (THE PUPIL TEACHER) by Ebi Robert







I went home and waited for my result to be released. I was eager and full of anxiety. English Language was the problem. I did not finish it. But I believed that God will help me. Soon, the day came and my result was released. I got the needed credits and passes for all my subjects, except English language. I had gotten ‘outstanding’, for no grade was shown.

I wondered what that meant. I made inquiries but wasn’t too sure of the answers I got. Some said the result had been ceased, some advised me to wait. Poor me, I had no choice so I waited. By then I had already written my first Post UME examination at the Niger Delta University. That was in 2009. I had scored a total of 55 out of a (100) hundred questions. My first Jamb score was about 197. I wasn’t okay with the results but it was a good start, at least, since it was my first trial after staying far from school for almost three years. 
 
I kept on checking the WAEC website to see whether my result had been released. Then the Scratch Card had only a maximum of five times usage after which it would expire. I checked severally and sure exhausted all five opportunities. It was already the next academic session and it was obvious I wasn’t admitted. As for my WAEC result, it remained outstanding. I couldn’t fathom it all, but it was a bit disappointing. I needed to prove many people wrong. But it seemed to some that my decision was simply producing the expected disappointing results. But I never gave up; I knew that God has/had never failed and will never fail. The problem is always from men, not God. So if there was a problem, it was me and not God.

At that point in my life, I was penniless. One Sister Aye Clement then, a student of Law and a senior as well agreed to help me pay for the POST UME form. I was so happy. Alas I would write the exams again. But then, she advised me to get myself busy with a job, no matter how small so that I won’t be depending completely on my parents and the likes. The advice was the best gold I had had in a long time. It was refreshing and directing as well. I thanked her and made up my mind to get myself busy. I couldn’t do the bricks laying job for long, because though, I wanted money, the job was just too difficult for me. So I approached a school close to where I lived; the DIVINE CHOSEN ACADEMY. I applied to work as a teacher after a neigbour left the job. Luckily for me I was accepted and so my teaching journey began. 

My salary was just six thousand naira, but I had to manage it, after all I had no choice. My mum wasn’t okay with the job because she felt I was working more than I was paid. She asked me to return to her to work in the river area. At least, the cash there was reasonable, but I couldn’t, I had my reasons. I loved my job, even though the salary was small.  I was exposed to a new way of life. My joy was that I was placed in a position by God to impact knowledge to the younger ones. It was so interesting, seeing me build others into knowledge bags. It was wonderful and as well challenging when dealing with some kids whose brains seemed to be formatted. Some were so slow in learning that extra efforts needed be put in to get the needed results. 
 
There was one Martha who I guess was brought from the village. The girl was a bully and could not express herself well in English Language. I guess, even Pidgin English was a problem. Not only that she was local, she was dirty as well. Her hairs stood like the feathers of a peacock and her face as firm as the wall of Jericho. The whole class feared her, but for me, I was sure she had met her lot. I believed I could tame her and sure I did. 

With God’s wisdom, I was able to inject in her the right morals and training, and with a lot of advice, she became cultured. After a while, Martha grew before my very eyes, and that young girl who was a local champion turned out to become one of the best in the class. Each time, I remembered the story of Martha, I feel humbled by the wonderful ways my creator operates. I flogged Martha so well, perhaps more than any other student, yet unlike other students, she showed positive responses to my every step. She tended to understand every single action of mine; that everything I did was for her good; not that I hated her, but that I wanted her to be a better lady someday. I do not know where she is today, but I know that the day I left the walls of that school, Martha felt like crying, that is if she did not cry at all. Martha’s case was different, because she never murmured over my disciplinary moves. It is an act not easy to come by amongst kids. Martha should be in her twelve or thirteen by then.

Teaching was a combination of everything exciting and funny. For the DIVINE CHOSEN ACADEMY, it was even more exciting. The kids were so dirty, and yet the parents and the proprietress never cared about them. For the parents, it was: “ABEG GO TO SCHOOL JOOR”, and for the proprietress, it was: “MY MONEY NE EM DEY IMPORTANT TO ME”. But for me, it was different, the kids were like mine, so I decided to change the status quo, and so I stood out. Many of the teachers in the school minded their own businesses because they never wanted to get themselves into trouble. But for me, I don’t care. The best I could get was a sack, so I took the challenge. I made sure the children were properly dressed, and neat to school. Sometimes I would stand by the gate checking them in, one by one. I checked their teeth, legs, and other parts of the body. I flogged those without good excuse and excused those who deserve it and soon, sanity was restored a bit. To my colleagues, I was like a busybody, but that was the needful, so I never regretted it. I was strict and fair to the pupils in recording their exams scores. In teaching I sometimes went outside the syllables to introduce bits I felt were necessary. The school at a point felt they were too difficult for the kids, but I never underrated any of those kids, because that was the same drilling I received when I was a kid. Although, it was wasn’t easy then, but as time passed by, the dividends of my hard work started paying well for them. The students did excellently well and I was gladdened at heart. One of our end-of-year-celebration summed it all, as parents were full of excitement, thanking me for a job well done. Too me, it was all for God because I wasn’t doing the job for me, but for God.
The parents were like a community of the bad, the good and the ugly. While some appreciated our efforts and encouraged us, others saw their kids as untouchable and never tolerated any discipline on their kids. I once had a taste of it. 

There was this set of kids that I am tempted to call, Dummies of the dummies. Two of them, were siblings and one other. No matter how I tried, these kids couldn’t comprehend. At a point I was really wondering what kind of creatures they were. The best way out was to combine teaching and prayers. I tried so much for them, to the extent that extra classes were fixed for them. But the kids failed to improve. I tried my best, on and on but they kept on failing in each of the academic term. 

One day, one of them by name Daniel was flogged by me for something I can’t really remember for now. But somehow, there was an accident; the cane had touched his eyes. He got home to his parents and got me reported. The father came to the School, and without even waiting to hear my own side of the story, he snapped my own eyes. Perhaps, he planned that I must have a bite of what he believed I did to his soon. I was so emotional, because my proprietress said nothing about the incidence, maybe because she was scared of losing customers. I felt bad for the boy because, that act reduced my closeness to the boy. I refused interfering in the boy’s matter, because his parent did not show any form of understanding.
Results came out and the boy and the two other kids failed badly. I was asked to pass the students through, but I refused. I believed, I was doing them no good. How can they cope in a higher class, when the lower class was a problem for them? I was that stubborn and somehow I wasn’t persuaded, because I was hardly antagonized in the school for a reason I really do not know. For the parents of Daniel, it wasn’t that way. They felt I had personally failed their son because of the incidence that got my eyes blank. But that’s not true; I loved Daniel like my own brother and wanted the best for him. But Daniel was not willing to learn. I guess he was a spoilt brat. 

Some months after, I made some money from my petty savings and with the help of my parents I was able to get myself registered for the WAEC and Jamb. I had let go of the previous WAEC result after several failing to see a grade shown on the website. The website kept on showing OUTSTANDING. It was already a year plus. So I concluded that that was the end.

 I registered myself in Bishop Dimeari Grammar School (BDGS), after refusing many people’s advances to go to a village school to do malpractice and pass. To them I was just unreasonably stubborn, and that may be the reason why I was writing WAEC for the third time. But I said NO. I rather not go to school than do that. I will never bend that low, at least not when I have understood God’s words that much.
BDGS was one of the best schools, I have ever seen then. This is because, unlike other schools where students were compelled to write the exams with the help of aids, BDGS was different. The then principal was a Christian and so he refused malpractice in the School. I was at rest there because I was not forced in any way at all. Although some students found their way out to cheat, many of us refused. English was my target; I needed it by all means positively possible. So I worked hard. I wrote my Jamb but I didn’t tick my paper type for Literature. I had been told before the exam that I shouldn’t answer a question which answer I do not know. Other students, had options ranging from TYPE A to D of which each student was to tick which type was his or hers. But for me, mine was different. I had seen options other than TYPES, so I felt that was a question not to be answered, unknown to me that was the beginning of it all. 

Results for the Jamb were released. Funny, I checked the result the same day I was to write English Language in the WAEC. I scored 155 in my Jamb without Literature in English. Failure to tick a question type had gotten me no score in Literature in English. I was so devastated. Why me, I asked? I stayed in the house full of emotions, unknown to me; the time for the English Examination had started. I got to the hall late and wrote the paper but I didn’t finish. Results came out, and I got a D7 in English Language. Lo, for the third time, English Language broke my heart.I do not know what to do. That was the third time I had written the WAEC examination and the second time I had written the Jamb examination. I started looking stupid in the eyes of the people around me. I had told them about believing in God and I had also read hard and yet my result could not prove them wrong. How can I convince them? My elder brother was busy telling me to go to a village where I can make my papers without effort, but I refused it. Though, it was frustrating, I said only one thing to God:
 
“Lord, I may not have been all impressive. I have written WAEC thrice without making it. If I for any reason whatsoever write this WAEC for the fourth time and do not make it, then I will never ever go to School again. I will take it that the School house is not made for me. But be rest assured of one thing: I will never do malpractice. I rather don’t go to school instead of offending you”.

[STAR ADVOCATE OF THE EPISODE-   There will be no star advocate for the episode] 

[Suspense- in next episode, readers will get to know whether my prayer was heard and whether it was answered. This is because something extraordinary happened]


WATCH OUT FOR EPISODE 9


Drop you comments please!!


4 comments:

Deghinmotei said...

Very interesting... Thanks!

Ebi Robert said...

You are welcome. Thanks for the comment.

Koikoibo Jasper said...

fine narrative...

Ebi Robert said...

Thank you sir Jasper Kokoibo. .