TT: pardon my English

I have never enjoyed school, not ever. Never ever.

When people talk about school and they have good stories, I wonder what planet these people grew up on and automatically we become enemies.

The sad part about it is, the same problems I had in school growing up, through nursery, primary, secondary, and even university. These same problems are the ones I had when I went back to teach as an adult.

I’m standing in front of my class. The children are making fun of my accent, making fun of my height, making snarky comments in slang and language I don’t understand, snickering to themselves, and throwing shit around behind my back.

It is 1985 again and I am the new student in a school in Lagos, fresh from Ibadan and I don’t speak English.
It is 1990 and I’m in Abeokuta. Emerging from a sheltered childhood thrust amongst people I don’t know and don’t understand.
It is 1997, in New Jersey. I’m nervous and I can’t stop speaking too fast. Everyone makes me repeat myself so I withdraw and stop talking.
Now, it is 2011, in front of the class in rural Kaduna. The students are mocking me in Hausa, someone has to interpret my instructions to the class and I’m wondering again why I volunteered for this.

I’m rushing home to tell my mom I don’t know how to deal with the kids in my class. Only this time, I don’t live at home anymore so I can’t sit at the dining table and toy with my food till she asks what’s wrong.

This time, I actually have to walk down the road through the haze of tears to buy phone credit to call her so I can bitch about my day.

So, no, I don’t like school.

And I’m one of those people who say we don’t support corporal punishment.

I don’t.
I don’t support beating children.

I will support teargassing an enclosed classroom and watch the students cough and sputter as they stagger out.
I will support a tidal wave decimating the assembly hall with the kids swimming for safety as their wet books float out through the open windows.
I will support failing all of JS 2 and making them repeat the year just cos I’m having a bad day.

But cane them? No o, never that.


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