(Part 1: “No!” to teaching or education)
(This school is even better than the time I’m talking about!)
As a child I was always told that I would probably study Law or Education. I didn’t like either. Sorry Lawyers, my take (as a child) was ‘all lawyers are liars’ and I didn’t want to be a liar all my life, so I disregarded that line of thought. As for the Education suggestion, I was not going to be caught up in something so boring when I could be acting and singing and having a time of my life.
See here is the thing with Education, specifically teaching and school, I didn’t enjoy school, I was flogged by a teacher in front of the whole school once for bringing an ink bottle to school, which was against the school rules, but I always ran out of ink, so what choice did I have. Yes ink and pen, that was too many years ago, before the advent of the biro (the ball point pen). I wasn’t the only one who disobeyed this rule, in fact as I prefer to remember it, we all did, it was just that I was one of the unfortunate few who were unlucky enough to allow themselves to get caught.
When I got into Secondary school, I was in boarding house for the first two years, where I remember too many unwanted experiences, including having to study Yoruba which I had just started speaking (a story for another day). Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the language, or Yoruba as a subject, but how on earth can you give an 11 year old child ‘Ireke Onibudo’ to read when I couldn’t even say the alphabets in the language. Since Yoruba is a tonal language, the alphabet would have been enough to kick start my learning to read the language with joy and understanding.
What can I say? Expecting me to read Yoruba was a joke, both for me and my classmates. They especially had fun at my expense as I was the only one in the class, who came from a background that had not had Yoruba as a subject in Primary school. So everyone else could hold their own. I on the other hand read Yoruba texts as if I was reading English. Goodness everyone came along to class when it was my turn to read. Come and see girls rolling on the floor in laughter at my awful attempts. I was determined to get marks for effort if nothing else.
Then horror upon horror I had to repeat the class! The main reason for my having to repeat Form 1 as JSS1 was known in those days, was because my knowledge of Yoruba and French was so low and it was hoped I would pick up if I spent another year in the class! There was also the issue of my nose bleeds. I was sent home just before the final exams because it got really bad. No reprieve, I had to repeat. Added to all this, I had to deal with classmates laughing and jerring at me because of the serious nose bleeds. It was awful and all I got was abuse. I got labelled ‘The girl who has her period through the nose’. The teachers were aware of this but did nothing so really why would I want to work in a school and be a teacher?
Each time my grandfather would say “This one will study Law or Education” I would say,”No way!” My experiences at school were not fun so why on earth would I want to make some other child’s life boring?
We always had to cram (memorize) information which I did not understand. If that was what teaching and education could offer then it was not for me. I wanted to make a difference impact the world. My answer was to study Drama. Which I did. I will tell you next time how a Drama Graduate ended up a Montessori Educator and advocate. Look out for the next update of “How Montessori Home Started”