So everyone seems to assume that just because teachers were on strike, they were in bed sleeping. Well, they were not. At least the ones I know were not.
To them, teaching is a calling . Whether people think lowly of the profession, whether the government decides to treat them as lesser people, whether no kid growing up today wants to be a teacher, it still remains a great vocation. (OK, slight exaggeration. There are kids who want to be teachers when they grow up. My six year old sister is one.)
I was and still am raised my two high school teachers. They met in campus (I always smile at the idea of meeting my lifelong partner in campus. Clearly I did not pick that particular gene).
Every day, mum and dad leave the house to go give their all in school. Every day, they come back with interesting stories. Other times it is loads of papers to mark. Once upon a time, I spilt a glass of water on some papers dad had left on the table. I do not even want to imagine what dad told his students; all I know is that I did not even get punished for it.
Mum is the listener; the teacher counsellor. She wants to help and she always helps in whatever way. Mum bonds with her students. So much so that she has been maid of honour at a former student’s wedding.
Dad is the funny man. Once he taught me geography during some holiday tuition sessions. He is the guy who will teach about rotation and revolution of the earth and demonstrate it. Yeah, in this case, he assumes the role of the earth. He spins while at the same time going round in a circle. Get the picture? I would say I laughed at the demonstration like the rest, but I really did not. Inside, I was thinking ‘Oh God, dad is embarrassing me’.
Well, when I come to think about it, it is not always about me. I bet none of the students in that form one class ever forgot about revolution and rotation. He made it fun.
Through all this, I have always known that teaching requires sacrifice. Even when you are transferred to a school you did not want; even when you have to work with students who do not seem interested. The joy comes when you bump into them in future, full grown men and women, successful citizens, who still remember you.
Somehow, a teacher always remains a teacher to me. That teacher who took me home the day I puked all over the classroom floor. The teacher who ensured I could write and gave me the confidence to do so. The teacher who made a bet with me, that he would do something for me if I passed my exams.
A teacher remains a teacher to other people too. Many people do not even know my dad’s name. He’s simply ‘Mwalimu’. I may never be a teacher apart from the Sunday school teaching I do, but I appreciate teachers. I never thanked them enough though, maybe someday I will.
I celebrated when the government agreed to hike the teachers’ salaries. Not because I had something to gain from it. Maybe I wanted the kids out of the house soon. Whatever I wanted aside, the teachers deserve every coin. Even when you think that they already have enough from the tuition fees and all, they deserve the raise.
By the way, the teachers I am talking about woke up every day to go to school. Even with the strike, things had to be kept in check you know. Now that’s dedication.