The Raw and Unscripted: Pt.2

In the classroom, everyone is equally treated, but of course there is always ‘an apple eye’ of the teacher amongst the student folk. Like a herd, the teacher is the shepherd of the class. But even in the jungle, the herdsmen do not dwindle the welfare of the bulls, and the grazing of cows. The former for protecting the herd and conjugal duties, while the latter for milking. Inevitably, there are always those that will lead the class in exams, in tests and even in disturbance, the important thing is not be caught on the wrong footing all through your time in school.

In reaction to this incident, the entire class revolted on their colleague for being so indiscipline. “You must leave this class, and apologize to the teacher” the class prefect vehemently told him. Henceforth, the teacher enjoyed a full-blown respect from the entire class, but also neither absent nor late for that class. After all, his insolence paid dividend. To be rude doesn’t really benefit, but to be critical does. The student might had acted rudely but he was being critical too. Perhaps he should had done it politely. Often, teachers and school administrations are overlooked, overrated, and seldom hold accountable for their shortcomings. Reasons for this may varied but an unchecked leader is prone to legion of failures. “Our Headmistress is an iron lady,” one of the student told his colleagues from another school. “She reprimands teachers for lateness and undue absenteeism” he continued. “Likewise the students, she never hesitate to send you home to call your parents” interesting narratives as students gathered to gossip about the earlier incident in their class. The moment students approach Upper Basic, Junior School as popularly known – everything changes. As students become more exposed, more inclined, and more studiously curious, their lives are stuffed ranging from what they’re passionate about to what they find important.

“I can recalled, my first day at Junior school, I was a total stranger, everything and everyone look so different, and new at the same time. But, all of a sudden I belonged, and never have I ever dream of today, that everything would come to past”. Teacher told some students who where all newly intakes into the seventh grade. “You will make friends, foes, families and love ones too, probably. And It will be a long ride, sometimes smooth, other times hard like a rock, and most times interesting and worth the while. Like all of us, you would be face with challenges, disappointments, and failures – as well, there would be blissful moments and exciting ” She added. “Now it would be your ultimate task to remove the chaff from the grains, and whatever that means to you”. She concluded her speech. Although, students in the city do have constraints just as those in rural setups. E.g. some students in the city struggle to secure transportation to school, particularly children of the middle class, while those in the rural areas trek to their schools, except for those lucky to own bicycles, more like a dichotomy. Thus, stories untold, the raw and unscripted life of students in this part of the world is overwhelming. Learning is a fulfilling experience, but a bitter sweet journey too for many that undertake it. You ever wonder why people who are so learned seldom pompous? because true knowledge calms you; you become collected, thoughtful, and less of a talker.

Students in the seventh grade may still be a little premature compare to those in their tenth grade. But just as a recruit in a military, you remain the subordinate to those that senior you, in the case of the school system, the seven is subordinate to the eight, nine, eleventh and twelve grade. At this stage, you’re more like a baby, who is being nurtured into becoming an adult until such time that you’ve also climb the ladder. You will be bullied, discriminated, made foolish, and maybe unsolicited to sit with your seniors. “I got chased away the moment I sit beside them, in fact, anytime I sit beside them” a student complained to a fellow in the school. However, these discriminations, the biasness, and all that in between is not insidious, neither belligerent nor prejudicial but an antic of school life. The anti school subcultures; the stubborn, the wild, the rude, the aggressive, and the self-upright students are like ingredients that spicy up the raw life of a student – as it brings out the worst in students.

In the classroom, everyone is equally treated, but of course there is always ‘an apple eye’ of the teacher amongst the student folk. Like a herd, the teacher is the shepherd of the class. But even in the jungle, the herdsmen do not dwindle the welfare of the bulls, and the grazing of cows. The former for protecting the herd and conjugal duties, while the latter for milking. Inevitably, there are always those that will lead the class in exams, in tests and even in disturbance, the important thing is not be caught on the wrong footing all through your time in school.

All that matters through all the years spend from Lower Basic, Senior Secondary, to Tertiary level, boiled down to how much a student score in a test or examination, which remain the sole target of our teachers, and the students, rather than preparing students into becoming real life problem solvers. Hence, the search for knowledge mostly become significant to most students when we’ve become matured learners. i.e. when we begin tertiary education, as it is when we realize our individual potentials, carrier goals, strengths, and weaknesses. It is the target at Lower Basic (primary level) qualifying to Upper Basic. Likewise at Upper Basic and High school, although there are few exceptions, those that will be left behind for numerous reasons, those that would always fail, those that would always dropped out, and those whose parents are constrained to meet their financial commitments. In hindsight, no matter the size of your dreams as a student, often your goal is trimmed down to a passing grade to the next level. Notwithstanding, there are students, who would not settle for less, who like to win enormously, and excellently. Just as in real life, there are those that aim at wealth accumulation, and they would hustle and struggle for every penny and dime to make that million. Tertiary education provide an opportunity for students to horn their career goals and prepare for the changing world ahead. At this stage, most of the students already approach growth, puberty, and maturity with a carrier ambition. Suffice it to say, most students now days realise the significance knowledge, and its centrality to their livelihoods, upon enrollment at a tertiary institute.

However, tertiary education, for example university, is the highest learning institution in any country. Students at this level of their education are expected to be matured, responsible, and more proactive towards education. To be enrolled into university education is one thing, and to graduate is another. Some attend university to grab a certificate for promotion at work, others go to university to become a graduate, a specialist, or an expert in their domain, while others are just entice by the hype (even though that’s little among the lot who sign up for University education) of University life. For whatever reason, life at university is a more complex, demanding, and multitasking endeavor in the entire educational cycle of any. You would meet your father’s agemate, some your agemates, and others older than you – all struggling to get a degree in a bid to elevate their selves and their close affinities. “I do not get it what these old folks are going to with a university after they’d exceeded their prime lives” a student engaged his friends in a discourse. “You’re not okay, these old folks as you referred to them, are more conscious of what they want than you probably did”. A colleague responded swiftly. “Some of them have wealth of experience in their domains, they’re here for the paper – the certificate, and not to compete”. He added.

Learning is stages, and the younger you’re, the more vibrant you’re able to learn, more over, this world is a mysterious place. Also, nature is diverse, we all may have similar goals as far as education is concern, our stories are unique as per each individual’s reality. Thus, you’ll do yourself a great deal of good when you ceased to be judgmental, bias, inconsiderate and proud. “Be a bridge and not a wall; be hospital, upright, courteous and discipline at all times and towards everyone you meet in here, because tomorrow is mystery, and only divine power can ascertain the future”. Another colleague admonished him. They retired to their class to attend the final lecture of the day. By end of the day, they were given a group assignment, fortunately for them, the assignment was related to the work of one of their elderly student. Sooner than later, a student realised how he had been arrogant towards that guy. So now, he was forced to either swallow his pride and work with the man or exit the group, he was literally unhinged. It occurred to him that he is neither an island nor an omniscient.

Author: Lamin Njie Jr.

Lamin is a writer; an essayist, storyteller, consumer activist, and a former Writer/Reporter at www.my-gambia.com. He had authored many articles and essays on contemporary Gambian issues. He also taught Literature-in-English in secondary schools in The Gambia for several years. He works with for Consumer Protection Association of The Gambia as Admin Sec and Thematic Working Group Coordinator. He's currently pursuing HND in Diplomacy and International Relations at Management Development Institute (MDI), The Gambia.

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