There is truth in the statement that teaching is a calling
I was unwittingly drawn into this profession over the weekend. It was a near death experience to say the least. Before i proceed any further, I have made a conscious decision to support the demand for teachers to be remunerated which is in tandem with the amount of work they put in. A ton!
It started beautifully enough; polite sunshine, clear blue skies, timely public transport and a cake to celebrate my sisters birthday. What I am about to share is protected by the ‘’teacher-student privilege’’. Is there something like that? Moving on swiftly, little did I know that the day was to borrow from a scary movie? Sorry I didn’t notice I used the word scary twice; now thrice. This could as well be a testimony. I have always wondered where these ‘’this- morning- I-am-saved’’ and “Jesus-is-my-personal-saviour” types got their scripts from. ‘He who has the son has a testimony’ and the church shall say?
The church service was superb only up to the point the speakers decided to tear into me and my student-to-be but that’s a different story. What I remembered during my ordeal was that I should have taken to the pastor’s wife’s silly idea to place our hands on our heads as we repeated a prayer after her. My student dutifully fulfilled this task as she asked to be filled in the Holy Spirit as she embarked on systematic torture. Where is the civil society when you need them?
At first I thought she was the personification of calm only to wake up to the dawn of truth. As any good teacher you give assignments and maybe take your student through a few worked examples. When the student’s confidence storms through and decides to ask for the examination you are happy your effort is bearing fruit.
Coolly she asks for the car keys,” Let me drive “. From now on every time I’ll hear those words; it is singed into my brain to start intercessory prayers. You will notice omissions in the prose and you know why because. The Holy Spirit gives peace as you stall across (!) the middle of the road and start wiping your hands or when you decide on hands off the steering policy at ten kph. Not forgetting feet off too as oncoming traffic approach with intimidating bright headlights on. She turns sweetly to ask something that the trauma won’t allow me to recall. The teacher’s breathing is laboured and all he sees is the student’s contented smile. He’s thinking,”I almost died!” and tries to smile back only managing a horrified look. This is the day I really pay attention to the detail of the ‘L’ sticker. It’s red in colour!
The rewards of teaching go beyond the monetary and there is a deep satisfaction when your student succeeds in life. There is a saying ‘ukienda kijiji usisahau kijiji’ i.e. when you go to the city do not forget the village. I have the best student any dedicated teacher would ask for and I felt like Jesus when one of the ten lepers he healed came back to thank Him. The last time I was at The Junction, I had to walk all the way back to school after a poetry and spoken word event I had attended. I used to school somewhere near Uhuru Park. I had heard of Java in a Sauti sol song. Did you know there is a practise called ‘tipping the waiter’? Ok, enough lest I disappoint my handlers.
All in all it was a beautiful Sunday well spent. The most important lesson of the day I draw from my student; to take life easy and have fun. Thank her for me and give her this:
I’m sorry I can’t make it to next week’s class. It’s not anything you did or didn’t do. It’s just a little post-traumatic stress counselling and I’ll be back soon! Be a good girl, finish your homework, and study.
I believe in you,
For Yolanda Odida