Hey y’all, so in staying true to the Gentleman’s creed by keeping to my word, I’m bringing to you the first instalment in The Mallam Chronicles.
First off (seeing as it’s still October 5th in some parts of the world), I’ve gotta say Happy World Teacher’s Day to all the teachers out there (past and present). The world would certainly be worse off than it is without certain members of this class of heroes. While I do realise that the world is also worse than it should be because there are some in the fold who shouldn’t be here or who have misused their influence, I am grateful that for the past 3 years I can hit my chest with pride and say that because of me, several lives have had value added to them. It is a humbling experience and one I will forever thank God for.
Without further ado I bring to you today’s post.
If you’d rather not read my nippy narrative it would be wiser if you closed this page now. If however you would love to, then please carry on. This is more like a memoir/auto biography on my journey so far as a teacher. Enjoy. Arigatou.
The Mallam Chronicles: Genesis
“In the beginning, God created heaven and earth.”
Errr, sorry, I lifted from the wrong source. Let’s try that again.
Thing is though, there really isn’t a beginning per se. I’m not exactly sure when the desire to teach entered my heart. All I know is sometime between 2007 and 2008 I made a decision that I was going to teach for my NYSC* But I’m getting ahead of myself. Many people who have known me for years seem to believe that it was always gonna happen eventually. With hindsight I guess I kinda agree with them.
Growing up I was exposed to A LOT of stuff. One of the perks of having parents who themselves are voracious readers is that you’re never in want for knowledge. In this regard I was the quintessential last child of the family. Acquiring knowledge and wanting everyone to know just how much I knew (aka ITK). I remember this book called “Know Power”. It was a general knowledge book with presentation so wonderful I could read it for hours on end without getting bored. Mehn, I devoured that book. Eventually quite a few arguments were settled in my house once I said “I read it in Know Power”. Although sometimes it did turn out that I had misquoted the book, quite a few times it turned out I was right.
My teen years weren’t different. Thanks to older siblings who were interested in a wide variety of things, added to my personal Philomath inclination, I continued to acquire information that quite a few people considered seemingly useless. To me though, the joy was in acquisition itself. Like a big cat getting thrilled by the hunt. I LOVED getting new knowledge regardless of the field. Of course my pedantic streak also developed as well. I didn’t understand it as such at that time though. At this point I should add that I’ve ALWAYS had a way with people. For as long as I can remember I’ve always been able to relate with people without any stress, regardless of whether they were older or younger than me. I was always the guy who talked to or knew everybody. Who could relate with people from the different cliques without necessarily being part of one. In some ways I’m still that guy today.
The first memory I have my future being intertwined with teaching was in 2002. Just after our WAEC n NECO results had come out and we were going to different teachers to sign us off for clearance. Many looked at me with scorn when I said I wanted to study Physics in university (The reactions I get now when I tell people I’m a Physics teacher are the exact opposite though. Lol). The only person who was happy about it was my Physics teacher Mr. Opigo. I do remember that one lady in particular, Mrs. Nnadiekwe (God rest her soul) sat me down in her staff room and talked with me. She wanted to know why I, of all people (as per head boy n tinz), would want to study Physics. It wasn’t like I didn’t have the aptitude or temperament for medicine or engineering, so why “short change” myself by studying a “single honour course”. Especially because of the discrimination and lack of respect such a course had in the eyes of folks. And then she said “you’ll end up teaching o”. And I remember answering her with “No problem”.
Truth be told, back then I knew they were all being myopic or plain ignorant. Besides, I had HUGE astrophysics dreams; starting with a Physics degree and ending up in NASA after picking up my masters and PhD by the age of 25 (Hilarious right? Considering I’m 26 now and I still don’t have my masters). So the idea of teaching wasn’t even on my radar. Of course I didn’t mind it, but I didn’t think that would be my JOB. Let’s just say life and maturity had a couple other things in store for me.
I’ll end this instalment here. Thanks for staying. Hopefully, the next bit should come up in a few days. Please pick up a drink by the right hand side of the page as you leave. Tainzabunsh. Oyasuminasai.
*NYSC: National Youth Service Corps – A one year national service program.