Memories of a Young Man as a Teacher (13)

Previously on Memories


I always tell people I don’t have a hot temper and that is the truth. I usually think through my actions and consequences even in a time of serious vexation. I usually think quickly so the answers do not always come out perfect. But I think.

With this boy not going to stand up because I am not Jesus or the governor, I was faced with a dilemma. My authority was questioned and if I let this slide, my respect would be gone. News travels fast in the mountains and it wouldn’t take long for everyone to hear that Uncle K was defiled by a boy and got away with it.

Three things came to my mind:

One, throw the boy out of this second-floor window.

Two, give him a brain-resetting slap.

Three, break his leg, take out his shinbone and beat his skull with it.

But each of the above had problems of their own and the most outstanding is leaving a piece of evidence. If I threw him out, he would break his waist. If I broke his leg, there would be blood. If I gave him a brain-resetting slap it, would leave my fingerprints in his face.

People would not understand. They would say because of ordinary not standing up this evil teacher broke a boy’s spinal cord in Nnewi. People are wicked o. Is the teacher even Jesus?

I need to give this guy a serious resetting of the head to maintain my authority without overdoing it and giving the authorities evidence to minimize his insubordination.

I decided to buy time. “Everybody, sit down,” I said. “You”—I pointed to the goat—“leave my class and never return as long as I teach in this school.”

I turned and faced the board. I wrote English on the chalkboard. Then as I made to write the topic, the spirit of madness hit me and I turned, dropped the book on my hand, rushed to the desks. The students scattered and I reached the boy, grabbed him on his collar and jerked him up. And threw him away and he fell in a mess of desks, books, and his idiocy. He made to get up but I was in time to kick him in his bottom and he fell on his stomach. He made to get up again and got another belly-to-the ground kick.

“You don’t dare get up. Crawl out like the amoeba you are.”

I wanted to hit him on the head but held myself. I turned to one of the students. “My cane, now!”

When the cane came the boy was already in the balcony nursing a small would in his elbow. His uniform buttons were off. I wasn’t mollified, I rushed at him. He ran down the stairs but the cane landed on him twice, the second hitting him on the back of his neck.

“Don’t wanna ever see you in this school,” I shouted as he passed through the small gate into the primary school section. “If I do, I will DESTROY you.”

The rest of the day went on mechanically for me. I toughed, marked classwork/assignments, and marked the register like a robot. There was no life in me for this work. I thought about going home or just sitting around and doing no work, I was that upset. But if I didn’t do my work, the boy would have won.

In the early afternoon, I received a text from Obioma. “Hey dear, what happened in your section this morning?”

“Just a normal day in the office,” I typed and texted back.

On my way to the last lesson of the day, Literature in SS1 I think when a boy from the primary section came to me and said the director wanted to see me now now.

I dropped my notebook with SS1 with the promise to return in no time.

I saw a young woman seated before the director. She looked like she overdid her makeup and I elected to dislike her.

“Good afternoon,” I said to everyone in the office and no one in particular.

“Good afternoon,” she said.

“Afternoon,” he said. “Sit down.”

I did. “What happened?” he asked me.

My chest rose with annoyance. “There was a stupid boy,” I began.

“That was harsh,” the girl said.

“And you are?”

“She is the sister of the boy you chased out of the school.”

“So I am being interrogated before her?”

“It is not an interrogation,” the girl said. “We just want to know what happened.”

“Sir, I would be glad to talk to you later… alone. I have a class and it is important I finish it up.”

“You said my brother should never come to this school again.”

“Yes, there is law and there is order. Which one is a problem?”

“None. We don’t want problem, uncle. We just want my brother back to school. If he doesn’t, my father would hear about it and there we be trouble.”

I rose to my feet. “Too bad.”

“I didn’t say the trouble would be for my brother alone.”

I looked at her. “Go to hell,” I said softly.

“Wait, Uncle,” the director said. I stopped at the door. “We are here to resolve this. The boy made a mistake but we cannot throw him away. You beat a boy with the right hand, you console him with the left.”

“One white cock, seven tubers of yams, and a keg of palm wine,” I sad.

“What about them?” the lady asked.

“These are the things your brother would bring before he enters my class again.”

“Hmmm,” the boy’s sister said; “because you are who?”

I took a step closer and faced the girl directly. “An oracle.”

She stood up and faced me directly. We stood eyeball to eyeball, forehead to forehead, she been an inch shorter raised that close by the power of high heels.

“I am also a graduate,” she said.

“You have made your point, dear. Now, choose your next words carefully because an oracle who asked for a goat would demand a full human if you go to him asking for another hearing. Have a nice day, nwa.”

To be continued