HOD! Nkechi “Auntie Obiakpor” Mba, HOD!
I just insulted a woman whose authority I was directly under. I don enter be dat.
Doing the sign of the cross in my mind, I approached her desk in the staff room. She took one look at me and knew why I came. She leaned on her chair and gave me an evil smile.
“When a termite has finished flying around, it perches for the frog,” she said, smugly.
I swallowed. “Erm… I’m here to introduce myself as the new English and Literature teacher for SS1 and SS2.”
She looked at me up and down like she was sizing me up for butchering.
“Go and collect the syllables from Bunmi. I want to see your lesson note on my desk first thing tomorrow morning.”
She merely looked at me like I was a disgusting parasite. I continued. “I’m traveling tomorrow for a two-week break as part of NYSC policy.”
She snapped. “Does this place look like NYSC to you? You’re not the only Corper. All the teachers including myself were once Corpers. So don’t let this your khaki you’re wearing enter your head. Ask around. I’m not the kind of person you want to make an enemy. Go to Bunmi and collect the syllables my friend or you won’t like the rest of your Corper days!”
Normally, I would have told her my mind and damned the consequences. But I didn’t know how the spirit of calmness descended on me. I stared at her for a second and I said, “I will see you in two weeks.”
And I walked away.
I spent a month. One very short month. I would have spent more but I didn’t want wahala with my CDS plus the Dracularess that was waiting for me in the community school. So with a heavy heart, I found my way back to that village hell.
The first person I saw as I reached the lodge was Dami crying into her phone and hugging that tree with the only network in the village.
“Bae…” she cried.
I rolled my eyes and moved on. Then, Debbie and Bunmi came out to greet me. I had hardly dropped my bags when they started telling me about school in my absence and how Aunty Obiakpor was ranting and raving and threatening to deal with me. But I already knew that, duh. And I was prepared.
The next day, I stood in front of her. She glared at me. “You’re late.”
I rolled my eyes in my mind and replied calmly, “I overslept. I just came back yesterday.”
“You were supposed to be here two weeks ago. But I don’t have your time now. Where is your lesson note?”
“Ah-ah,” I said. “Shebi I told you I just returned yesterday. How did you expect me to prepare a lesson note?”
That flipped up an automatic knock-out.
“Look here, be careful o this girl. I don’t like the way you run your nonsense mouth anyhow. I’ve been keeping quiet for you because I’m a peaceful person. But don’t push me. You will not like it”.
“I don’t have a lesson note. I didn’t have time to write one,” I said.
“I’m your HOD. When I tell you to bring your lesson note, you bring it without question. And for your information and necessary action, you were supposed to teach SS1A twenty minutes ago.”
“What am I supposed to teach them?”
It took everything I had to hold my temper. I simply walked away.
As I made my way through the classrooms’ corridor, I glanced at the classes. One teacher was mumbling to herself in the name of teaching. The students stared at her with supremely bored eyes. One student was snoring with his eyes wide open. In another class, Debbie was backing the students and writing on the board. She wore a sexy dress that showed off her Mercy Johnson curves. The male students, most of them too old to be in secondary school, were drooling over her. One of them literally had saliva dripping from his open mouth. As I made to pass another class, a student ran out, hotly pursued by a male teacher who caught him and began to flog him like Fulani herdsmen and their cows. I cringed in sympathy for the boy but it wasn’t my business. I moved on.
Finally, I paused at SS1A. Shebi them talk say make I teach? Oya na, teaching here I come. I entered the class. The students rose to greet me.
“Good morning, Auntie!” They chorused.
“Good morning. Sit down,” I replied.
They sat and I addressed them.
“My name is Itohan Godswill. You can call me Auntie IT. I am a Corps Member and your new English and Literature teacher. Before I start, here are some rules you must know.”
I paused and scanned the room.
“First, as your English teacher, you must address me in English only. I no wan hear another language, not even pidgin. Second, I’m allergic to noise. I don’t want to contract any diseases from your mouths. Third, I hate flogging. It makes me sweat. But I will deal with anyone who annoys me in another way and that person will wish I had flogged him or her. Do you understand?”
“Yes, Auntie!” they chorused.
“Good. Class dismissed.”