You will all remember how, last week, I promised the students and teachers of Mwisho wa Lami Primary School that we will be having Half Term this coming week, despite Bensouda’s opposition to it, a direct contravention of the Ministry of Education circular on this.
When she reported in school after an absence of over two weeks, Bensouda called for a staff meeting last Tuesday.
“I pray that you all grow to become HMs one day,” she said. “So that you can understand how many meetings I have to attend out there fighting for you teachers – most of whom are thankless.”
Only Kuya responded, thanking the HM for always putting the school and teachers first. “We really appreciate what you do for us,” he said.
“How are we with the syllabus coverage especially for class Seven and Eight?” she asked.
“We are doing well,” said Kuya. “If there are no interruptions this term, I am confident that we will finish before mid-July for Class Eight,” he added: “Then we can start preparing for KCPE seriously.”
“Interruption like which one?” Bensouda asked.
“Like half term. One teacher here has made the pupils believe that we will go for half term, yet we all know how half term will take us back,” Kuya answered.
“It is just one week,” said Saphire. “Just five days. That can’t have a major impact on syllabus coverage.”
“You have no idea what you are talking about,” said Kuya. “When did you last step in class?”
“We are talking about half term Kuya,” Saphire answered angrily. “And it is a directive from the ministry of Education that we have no option but to follow. I will be following it.”
“Keep quiet the two of you,” Bensouda silenced them. “Can I hear from other teachers as well?” she asked, with a serious look on her face.
Lena, who last week supported Half Term, spoke first. “I know there is a circular about this,” she started. “But remembering how we performed in KCPE last year, let’s all sacrifice half term so that we teach, and improve the performance this year.”
“I also support Lena,” said Nzomo. “The only problem is that I have already made travel arrangements to Nunguni next week, but I encourage my colleagues who have no commitments to teach. It is a sacrifice guys.”
“Allow me to thank you all for the privilege to contribute to these important deliberations,” started Alex, in his trademark good English. “In my alma mater, we used to break for half term, even last term, but this never stopped us from performing, so I would suggest that we proceed with it, but I will go with whatever will be decided.”
“What is alma mater?” asked a surprised Lena.
“Oh, sorry for using too much jargon,” answered Alex. “Alma mater is a Latin word that means my immediate former school.”
“What do others think?” asked Bensouda, “Speak your heart. No one will victimise you.”
Mrs Atika and Madam Ruth said that both resting and teaching were important and sought a middle ground with some interesting suggestions.
“I suggest we take half of the half term, we break for two and a half days instead of five,” said Madam Ruth.
Mrs Atika, who does not teach class Seven or Eight, suggested that the school take half term, except for the two upper classes.
“Thanks for your considered suggestions ladies,” said Bensouda. “I like creative thinkers like you.” Then, looking at me she said. “Dre, what do you think?”
“My view on this matter is very well known,” I said. “I have nothing useful to add.”
“For the benefit of everyone,” said Bensouda. “What is this opinion of yours Dre?”
“I am sorry, but I can’t have an opinion on a matter that the ministry has clearly pronounced itself on,” I said. Sella also supported me and said we should just follow the circular. “You people don’t know Magoha.”
“Thank you all for your views,” Bensouda said, and closed the meeting, promising to give direction before the end of the week.
She appeared back on Friday morning, arriving early enough to find parade on, the second time this year. After Kuya had spoken, he invited her to share some good news.
“Good morning and how do you do boys and girls?” she asked.
“How do you do madam!” they answered back!
“We had a staff meeting the other day, and all teachers felt that we should not go for half term, since we are so behind on syllabus.”
There was disappointment on the faces of many pupils, who were eagerly looking forward to half term break.
“However, Kuya and I discussed this further, and we decided to allow you to take half term next week,” she announced amidst applause from the pupils, and silence from most teachers, except Kuya, who joined in clapping.
Looking at me, she said. “Mwalimu Andrew I know you and others are disappointed since you really wanted to work next week, but Kuya and I believe everyone should rest.”
There were cheers all over as the pupils went to class happily. I was upset and left school immediately. Bensouda and Kuya may have grabbed the half term idea from me, but I still have a brain, I will soon catch them on something else!
Visa Interview: After we successfully got passports, a few villagers and I have been invited for Visa interviews at the UK embassy office in Nairobi. Anyone who has ever attended such an interview who can give me some leakage?
I have read all about Princess Diana and British Royal Family; Tony Blair and the UK government structure; the cold British weather; Manchester United and The English Premier League among other important UK things. Anyone who knows what else I should study as I prepare?
You see, for budgetary purposes, we need to have as few people as possible passing the interview.