Another beautiful day is here again for an NSS teacher. That’s the thing about my new neighbourhood where I wake up to a beautiful display of nature. Today, like every other day, I stood on my verandah to receive the cool morning breeze, scented with vegetation freshness. Even the sun comes up in grand style—carefully shooting out its rays, hitting the trees, and reflecting on the leaves. The result is a set of beautiful patterns on the ground. Then carefully, it rises into full roundness, as if to say “Hey there, Good morning”!
Ready for School Today
I am seated on the Okada (motorcycle, bike), once again with a wide-eyed kind of expectation for the day. Ermm….for the classroom sounds more like it.
Whisking past houses and passengers seated on okadas, it occurs to me how my fantasies about rural areas play before my eyes each day. Ha!
The school children here have to travel long distances to school, especially. It is not that there aren’t enough schools on this side of town. Here, I have realized it is a matter of preference. Parents enrol their wards into the schools in the main towns even though there are schools close by. So some trek, while others use motorbikes. The Volta Lake runs in these parts so some students paddle their way to school by canoes. It is not so much of an issue to them (they have to attend the ‘big schools’ too).
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There are other things my fantasies could not capture. Like how food vendors in motorbike -prone areas transport the food. It is interesting what I have seen in this regard. For instance, there is this waakye vendor (I prefer seller) I usually come across. Her waakye sits in front of the bike guy, then she carries her stew, shito (hot pepper sauce, usually dark brown or black) and all the other ‘waakye accoutrements’ (you know them), on a pan, on her head. Charlie, it is not a joke o. She must know some Physics to be able to keep the pan still on her head against all that wind one feels when a bike is moving. And her hands too, they are able to hold on the whole time. Such tenacity!
I guess that is enough information. Try and imagine what it will look like for other food vendors. Oya, go ahead!
A lot of the times, I can’t believe the things I see are really happening. I mean, I saw and heard them on the news; but the closeness! Traffic free roads, no car speeding off anywhere (how many are there even?), pregnant women and toddlers on a motorbike. Wow, city mouse comes to countryside!
I even enjoy it and sort of look forward to it each day.
Introductions (NSS Teacher & Pupils)
But my day is not done yet; this is not the end of the matter; it’s just the beginning. I am a teacher. National service personnel (NSP) teacher, with a class to my care. Not entirely though, I assist. I am on my way to the basic school where I have been posted. [And just so you know, I am in the main town so you should know the calibre of my school. O yeah, it is something to be proud of!] There I will teach, conduct exercises, mark; go through the right answers with my pupils and mark their corrected exercises.
That was a long sentence, I know. It’s intentional. It is not meant to exhaust you how it did. It is to make you know – perhaps feel, how burdensome the task is- at least to my untrained teacher self.
And lest I forget, I punctuate these duties with intestine vibrating shouts of ‘keep quiet(s)’. Hmm. Do not worry. I will not make you hear that. Haha!
I am in school now. My pupils are in, well not all of them. Now, my eyes dart across the classroom. Standing in cliques, with their dry bodies but shea butter glowing legs, (if you are wondering how they get that combination, I might have to arrange a meeting for you) they seem to be catching up on each other’s weekend. From the profits they made from selling at the Sunday market to the pranks they successfully pulled off on their siblings, and then to their all-time fun part – their getaways at the lakeside!
It’s the first school day of the week, so I am quite lucky. Most of them are fully dressed- I mean ironed uniforms plus a pair of sandals or shoes, plus socks plus school bags. Even those who will give me a thousand and one excuses why their uniforms are not ironed are trying to make an impression of a sort. The girls have pinned their belts on their uniforms in the prescribed style and the boys have tucked their shirts neatly into their shorts (See these ones playing smart o). So Yeah! So far so good. Only, by midweek, shoes will suddenly become uncomfortable to wear, sandals will develop wings and fly to places unknown, and dirt will have the better part of the uniforms. Hmm!
Heads turning and mouths gaping at the presence of their teacher already, they round up their little chats and the cliques become boys and girls, hurrying to their desks.
As the day commences with me checking home works and notes, the reality of another school week dawns on these boys and girls. Whatever is left of the weekend, in them, gradually wears off. By the end of our early morning reading, every one of their minds is psyched and I have receptive pupils ready to learn.
This morning this is what receptive pupils look like…
I have begun the lesson. Eyes are looking intently at me from all over the room. But within a few minutes, some of these eyes have found a new object of interest, something about my outfit. That is normal, soon they will lose interest. O yeah, they have. Only it is a replacement of interest.
This time I think something just tingled their ears. Ok, I see what it is. The clanking sound of a trader’s bell announcing her presence and that of her wares. Hmm. This too shall pass. After all, she will keep walking.
Certain pairs of hands are also busily sneaking under desks. For what you say? They are frantically searching for a toy or something they brought to class for entertainment (yeah if need be). I cease them all the time, but that seems to only fuel their naughtiness.
A class of 40 + pupils, only a handful of them are nodding. WOW!
At this point, I have thrown my hands up in the air and my teeth are gritted.
ALL IN MY HEAD!
Beginning the school week on this note, it is just great huh?
#NSS2018 #NSPinsideInsideShaiOsudokuDistrict #ACNSPstellsnotales
NSS Teacher Story By Margaret Blankson
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