You know how after your BECE you can’t wait for your placement and the feeling that goes through you after all that hard work and prayer gets you into your first-choice school. Then welcome to my first year.
The excitement in packing, the expectations of the new environment and people and then the disappointment when you realize SHS isn’t and wasn’t meant to be as exciting as what you see in magazines and on TV, were exactly the phases I went through.
I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t what I met .
I wasn’t ready to sleep so lightly as to hear a clap as my signal to wake up.
I wasn’t ready to use 2 minutes tops to take my bath.
I wasn’t ready to drink diluted tea and eat half day old bread.
I wasn’t ready for my learning to be dependent on me because second cycle traditional school teachers aren’t as committed as primary cycle private school teachers.
I wasn’t ready, period.
I kept thinking, why isn’t there like a talk or conference on what senior high school is like.
Then there are the seniors.
The fun ones.
The rude ones.
The silent ones.
In boarding School, you need to be smart. You need a strategy for everything. And my strategy to be safe was easy. I was the Dorm Monitor’s corner mate, so I was safe in the dorm. And in the house, my school mother was the prep prefect; she shared a room with the Girls Prefect who in turn became my “godmother”. So I wasn’t bothered by curious seniors who for some reason believe every form one girl has an older boyfriend or the lazy seniors looking for people to be their maids.
Secondary School is where actual character formation takes place.
It’s where you have to obey someone mainly cause of age. Whether right or wrong, it’s obey before complain period.
My first encounter in such a circumstance was during one rest hour. After the cantankerous race to get to bed early so I don’t get “soked ” which is slang for punished, I was on my bed ,oblivious to the many other souls in the dorm, lost in thoughts of my home. When a skinny looking senior walked into the dorm to speak to a friend of hers, she turned her head towards my bed. Looked at me, queerly and asked “Are you aware you are hairier than me?”
Let’s pause for a second.
Take me, a girl with a typical “d-bee” educational background, with my local acquired foreign accent, with a mentality of a leader, fresh out of the position of head girl. In fewer words, I was – no am “too known”
I opened my mouth and said to her “But you are not hairy.” Which was my biggest mistake; apparently she prides herself in being one of the hairiest girls on the compound.
“Ehn? Me, I’m not hairy? Get down and lie on the floor. ”
My “too known” conscience was still supplying me wrong lines for the scene and I said “Are you kidding?”
She said “Herh, do I look like I’m joking.”
That was all it took for my body to materialize from my bed to the ground.
Luckily enough for me, I lay there for only a few minutes when my corner mate walked in and freed me, oblivious to the seniors comments.
I am in a mixed school. Oh yes, I can see the wheels turning in your head.
Well it’s true, all you hear about form three boys scouting for new concubines amongst the new batch. It’s pretty funny, you know. Like I said you need to be smart. You see some going from class to class just to see pretty girls and start friendships. Like they say, catch them young and they’d be yours forever. Cheers to that cock and bull (story).
All I will say on this is, keep your eyes open.
The first week is the funniest. Of course, when you look back on it.
It’s when you don’t eat because the food tastes pathetic. It’s when you obey every single rule to the letter. It’s when you walk briskly to assembly. It’s when you hush-up at the sight of prefects. But by the second week? Puh-lease I own this place.
Boarding school is fun. I mean when all the pains and torments are in the past. Like the weeding sessions and the trips to fetch manure and the scrubbing fests, oh yes.
My only problem with secondary school is teaching. When I talk to my mates, it appears the condition in my school is way better, but it’s quite appalling how teachers do not come to class, or even when present are lazy in their approach to teaching. Some do not even teach but expect us to do research just by the mere mentioning of the topic. Research? with what materials? There is no internet? The same textbooks the school gives us, the teachers turn around and call them rubbish. What then is the student supposed to do?
I do not know if it’s a working conditions related problem or not. But it is quite evident that very few teachers who teach in the government secondary school are committed to what they do.
I guess the system doesn’t help them too, I mean we jump right into completely different subjects and are expected to have them at our fingertips within 2 and a half years, with teachers who do not “teach” and “rubbish” textbooks.
This is not a plea for a 5-year scheme, just a revision of the system. Because with the packed syllabus it would take more dedication, information, technology and probably a longer duration than what we are made to work with now.
So , to you out there, getting ready for your next cycle of school. There are three things you need to know.
2. Hard work.
Oh and don’t forget, silence is the best answer to that unbearable senior. Please do yourself a favour don’t go reading all the schools magazines and watching all the high school shows they only paint a fairytale. I mean there is fun, don’t get me wrong. You meet new people, you learn new things, and you mature, basically. But there’s no rose without thorns.
My name is Harmony A (Danielle) and I wish all BECE candidates, all the best. Awaiting your arrival so I won’t be a ‘nino’ anymore. LOL!