Like many other children in Zimbabwe, I dreamt of one day going to a boarding high school. It was more than just a dream but an achievement. You had to pass an entrance exam and or have good grades in your grade 7 exams for you to qualify. I chose schools that did well on the televised National School Quiz. I only discovered after joining my high school quiz club that to do well in the quiz you had to be good at cramming, nothing to do with your intelligence or smarts.
I wrote two entrance exams, one of which I knew I would not qualify as I am not catholic. The other one was Sandringham and I passed the exam. It was one of the best days of my life. I will forever remember this day. It was also the day of our president’s wedding. My parents were so proud of me. I was so happy that I had achieved what my older cousins had done. I could picture myself with a trunk with books, tuck food and uniforms. It would also be the first time in my life away from my parents for a long time.
I was not sure I would be able to take care of myself. Even more so I was scared I would find school difficult and fail. All my older cousins kept telling me how much more difficult high school work was compared to primary school. I could not even imagine being able to write a long composition or essay in an hour. Or solve complex algebraic equations. Everything seems so much more difficult when no one explains it to you.
The only thing that kept me motivated was that I was going to one of the country’s best schools so they had to have the best teachers as well. That was until I met my first English teacher at Sandringham.
I do not remember his name but he was awful!
First thing after introducing himself to our class. He told us what he was expecting from us. He did not want us to put pictures on our covers that had anything to do with America or Britain. It was very odd to me considering that he was teaching us English. If I met him today I would ask him why he did not teach Shona instead.
He taught us for about one term I think. In that term all that he taught us was the definition of a sentence and a paragraph. He would make us rewrite these paragraph about how names like Pauline were created and how most names were meaningless. He did such a bad job of it all that I can not remember how a sentence is properly constructed.
According to Google, a sentence is a set of words that is complete in itself, typically containing a subject and predicate, conveying a statement, question, exclamation, or command, and consisting of a main clause and sometimes one or more subordinate clauses.
One day during study time, the headmaster came to our class, probably because we were making noise. He then asked about how we were liking the school and such. We told him about the English teacher, how he had only taught us the definition of a sentence and of a paragraph. We also told him that the same teacher was skipping classes. The next day he came to our class fuming that he had told the headmaster what he was doing.
At that moment I lost all respect for him. He could have apologised.
The worst though was they way he treated his wife. His wife was our History teacher. She was the complete opposite, perhaps a bit boring. To be fair I never liked the subject but it was compulsory. One day during our history class he just came into our class and accused her of being in the wrong class. He made her leave. He was actually wrong. It was time for History not English. She looked so scared of him. Honestly I think he used to abuse her, if not physically then emotionally. The wife died later in the year and when he did not come back I did not miss him at all!
If my sentences or paragraphs are not well constructed, you now know who to blame! Hahaha!