In my primary school which some people call junior school, we had a teacher who always made school life hard for all the pupils irrespective of anything, say; Intelligence, talent, age, gender, brevity, beauty, stubbornness or modesty –even if you had the cleanest uniform and best behavior around school, he always had a way to get you. To make matters worse, he was teaching two subjects, namely science and mathematics.
Those two subjects were my best, not because I was that intelligent, but because I didn’t want to be punished caned upon failing any of them. I always pushed myself a little more and paid more attention during his lessons. I won’t say I read a lot in primary, I actually I don’t remember any day I opened my book to concentrate and read for a while. Though I remember understanding things as they were being taught and written on the blackboard and maybe, attending extra class lessons or call it coaching.
You see this teacher had a proper strategy, whose objective was everyone in his class had to be caned at one point. And he made sure he accomplished his goals in our class. A quick example is; when he knew you were bright and in his paper you perform below his expectation. That was an abomination in his class.
This teacher had two kinds of pass marks; one for the bright pupils and the other for the struggling or improving pupils (Lack of a better word). For the improving pupils, it was at below 60% and for the bright pupils it was at 90% actually what would happen for a bright pupil, he would subtract the marks he/she got from 100 and the value he got could be the number of strokes that pupil would get.
There was the day I got 97% in his math paper and he came to my desk looked me into eyes and asked “what happened to the 3%?” At that moment, I wished I had teleportation abilities, I looked at him and started trembling and almost peeped in my pants, my blood started to boil as I shivered. Of course I didn’t have an answer, I looked on and waited for my chastisement, because it was about to rain on me –dark clouds all over my skies. Primary school life was hard, but it all past.
Currently I don’t know if these kind of practices are still in existence in primary schools. There are a lot lessons to draw from such a background, but one thing I learnt from this kind of background is that in this journey we call life, no matter who you are, life challenges will always be there, irrespective of their magnitude the real truth there are all challenges of life.
Recently, I have to come an understanding that these challenges pass away and I have learnt to stand firm amidst them, okay I am not fully ‘learnt’ but I try, because I am still under construction. Meanwhile this what Martin Luther King, Jr had to say about challenges and I quote
“the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy”