My English grades all through primary school were great. Come the main exam, my results were good, as expected. Of course my mother, an English teacher herself took all the credit even though we both knew who did the donkey’s share. Obliviously joyful, I had no idea high school would kick me to the curb.
Why are we never told about the things that really matter? Like how high school is an unending roller coaster of bad and poor decisions without forgetting that these same years are to determine who you become and where you end up in future. Whoever sat down and thought children going through puberty with all the physical and emotional changes clouding their judgments are best suited to decide their futures was just a diabolic person.
Anyway, my issue today is with puns. Don’t get me wrong, I love puns but the thing is I just don’t get them as fast as I ought to. I strongly believe if I had gone through a different maybe even better high school experience, I would probably be acing these things like crazy. But as the saying goes man plans God laughs, my fate had been sealed.
My series of bad luck began when I joined high school, late of course, I had already missed a whole week of orientation. And like a train that had left the station catching up was as hard as hell doubled by the fact that I was fresh meat and new to boarding life.
On the second week of school, basically my first, that man… Sorry, our English teacher made me his subject prefect, I didn’t want it but my grades were what they were and apparently that is how subject leaders were chosen, I wonder if this lousy system works for other schools.
This man after giving me hope of a wonderful four years with his impeccable teaching skills, after only a week maybe two I don’t remember decides he was better off teaching campus students. The audacity! Just walking out on us like we meant nothing to him.
And here is where my problem officially began, guess who replaces Mr. “too-good-for-us”? A French teacher! Yes, we were going to be taught English by a woman who was hired specifically for French. All because the school system dictated that teachers should teach two subjects, I think. There, she walked in tired on her first day of class, where had she been? It was going to be a tough year, no scratch that, it was going to be a tough four years.
This new teacher, she was all smiles, rosy and sweet, it was annoying. She wasn’t here to be a rose for us to admire and love, she was here to teach us English, my favourite subject. And as I had predicted, that was the last thing she ever did in class. She was so ever punctual to come waste it all dozing off on that chair. I hated that chair. I once tried to get rid of her chair and she shamelessly asked for it and demanded it be there every lesson.
To date it still baffles me why she was always so sleepy. Was she also in boarding school somewhere and had to wake up at 4 A.M every day to finish her sleep on a cold desk? Or did she have a night job? We will never know. As you can imagine being the English leader cost me. Thanks to Mr. “I am-a-campus-lecturer-now”, I had to push the syllabus for our teacher while she slouched and slumbered away to God knows where. I could swear one time she mumbled something in her sleep, she even had the nerve to dream?
Even with all that I couldn’t afford to hate her. How could I when I had to endure her through French lessons too. Although most of the time I wasn’t getting what she was saying, at least during these classes she was awake and teaching. I envied those who were enthusiastic about French, they had something I lacked, a teacher.
For three years I taught our class English, not taught like impart knowledge per se but I was merely ensuring the books assigned to us were all read. To some extent I missed gossiping and sleeping like the rest of the class did during these lessons.
And even though playing teacher was hard; it also had its perks. Once a day every day I got to be on a pedestal and rule like a dictator. Sometimes it was unfair but hey that was the much fun I got from being their “teacher”. My best moments were always shaming the sleepyheads emulating their lethargic teacher.
Come my last year in high school, I had had enough. Frankly, I was just scared by all the time I was wasting “teaching” while everyone studied for the unending tests we had every evening. Besides, the main exam was around the corner and like any other student I was scared to the bones. I dramatically quit my “job” and my replacement was the only person in class with a guilty conscience to take up the task. Everyone else simply thought I had left them to hung out to dry.
After a few more months of the student-to-student based learning, the class had had enough. Exams were nearing and I guess exam jitters had started kicking in. Well it was about time! After a confab , we were all in agreement that we were going to report our English teacher for her incompetence. Her soft nature and rose smile weren’t going to save her, time was up. We needed a bulldozer to take over and help us catch up on some areas we hadn’t covered…like puns.
As expected, I was bestowed with the daunting task of reporting our English teacher. The nerve of those girls! I was to report our teacher to one of the harshest teachers in School. The price I had to pay for being their leader, not only was I constantly thrown under the bus but now I was going to leave a tainted legacy of being a snitch, just perfect!
On that fateful day, as I walked towards the staffroom like a lamb to the slaughter house, I still remember how fast my heart was beating and to say I was sweating is an understatement, I was drenched. I still couldn’t believe I was going to report a teacher, I was not those kind of students. I was one of the comrades, but again the comrades had spoken.
This was what teachers were going to remember me for, the girl who snitched on one of them. They were all going to hate me, especially my English teacher. Did she really deserve this? But again what option did we have? Wait! It wasn’t we it was me, what option did I have?
As I made my way into the staffroom, a five minute walk that seemed to take forever, there she was innocently seated scrolling her phone probably waiting for some lesson. As I intertwined my way passed her desk, we made eye contact. Great! She signaled me to come to her desk and it was there and then that I knew it was game over. I was sweating profusely and I swear I could see the room spinning and she didn’t fail to notice, ‘ Lolita is everything okay?’
Why did she have to be so sweet, today of all days. I feigned sickness and I could see the sympathy in her eyes. I was now a liar and soon to be snitch, I had to abort mission. Before I could make a U-turn and go back to class, she bombarded me with yet another question: ‘Are you girls free? I wanted to come talk to you’. Of course we had no classes lined up, exams were around the corner and most teachers had completed their syllabuses and even said their goodbyes, except her.
I ran back to class and reported she was on her way. That is what I had been reduced to, reporting. I guess it makes sense why I am a reporter now. Like the Judases they were, they still looked at me expectantly waiting for the ‘other’ news, which I quickly informed them I was unable to deliver on, not just yet. Those ingrates couldn’t even hide their disappointment.
Anyway a couple of minutes later, our English teacher walked into our class. As usual she was all smiles but on that day she was livelier than ever and in her hands were red roses and chocolates for each of us. How had I missed that detail before? Her last words were so well thought and organized, she really loved us and wished us all the best. After handing each of us a rose and a packet of chocolate, it was checkmate, our hearts had been melted away by this gesture. We were that cheap, we had sold our souls to dying roses and packets of chocolates.
Only a heartless person could snitch on her now and I was sure as hell that person wasn’t going to be me. How could I betray the sweetest memory I had made in that hellhole of a school. I didn’t follow through with reporting her and obviously no one else could, and like the warriors we were we went into the battle field raw and unprepared.
I still wish I had a better teacher though, one who could challenge my intellect and seriously teach me puns. Honestly I don’t blame teacher roses, I blame the other one, Mr. “ lectures- start-at-nine.” We could have gone places maybe changed the world but here I am still grappling with puns.
As usual my outfit has nothing to do with the post but clearly the orange blazer means I was treading on dangerous grounds. And the skirt is way out of my league but this year it’s all about pushing boundaries and it starts here.
Outfit: Rage Craze