Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania: The Teachers We Remember

column

Just the other day I was at my son's school to check on his progress at school. A day was set aside for us parents to meet face to face with the teachers and discuss our off springs progress or lack of it.

In my case my little 'sharobaro' artfully dodged the exercise claiming there was no school only to be asked by some of his teachers why I had not come with him. Now I know much better! For the varying comments I got from different teachers I could see my son is an aspiring strategist.

Waiting in line to see the teachers, I recalled my school days and started remembering which teachers stood out in my academic life. The one teacher I will never forget is my one of my French teachers in my "A' Levels. First of all I was one whole term late so of course we started off on the wrong footing.

Actually her very first words when I stepped into the class of three students were, "You will fail." I think being a teenager helped as I decided to ignore the welcome and concentrate on mastering the language. To make matters worse she had a favourite amongst the four of us who was good in the language and never failed to rub the fact in our faces.

A family friend who knew her rather well offered to intervene and talk to her about me and I flatly refused. I told him I would deal with the situation my way and that he should leave her alone. When the results of the national exams came out I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that I was the best in our class.

Poetic justice I would say. Another teacher I remember well was one of our primary school teachers who would offer all sorts of free advice that had nothing to do with school work but a lot with life skills. It was from her that I learnt the golden rule that a quarrel is basically between two people and anyone trying to sort out the mess was only interfering.

At the time the advice was given it was rather timely as we were going through a phase in our class whereby girls were causing a rift by ganging up in groups and heckling each other over petty issues. The other advice I recall vividly was when she told the class that Sexually Transmitted Infections are not got from toilet seats before giving us the low down of how they really spread.

It is one thing to get 'book knowledge' from our teachers but what they say do or do not do sometimes leaves an everlasting impact on our minds.

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