As the world marks the Teacher’s day, I feel that I need to briefly mention just three teachers whom I can attest made a difference in my life.
1. Mr Wang’ang’a
I have always wanted to do a post about him. Back in Form One at Thigio Boys Secondary School, I wished that I was transferred to Kiambu High School, the school of my dreams and which I had rightly gotten an admission letter from. My English teacher, Mr Wang’ang’a after noting my poor attitude towards Thigio boys promised that he would talk with my father over the matter. With the promise, I would sit down and write my English teacher a thank you letter for having taught me so diligently and his involvement in my transfer from Thigio, a school that I loathed to Kiambu, where my dreams would finally culminate into my success. In the letter, I would pretend to be this 30 year old guy appreciating his teacher for having been such a force to reckon with. Words that I still remember today that were in the letter were, “I present you this magnificent watch which though dear is negligible to what you have done to me…” [I am yet to give him that watch. Someone should pinch me]
The ingenious Mr. Wang’ang’a never talked to my father about the transfer. He knew very well that Thigio boys was equally a good school. Instead, he worked on ensuring that I bettered my attitude. He promised to award me 500shs if I scooped position one in the three streams. I did it and maintained this position upto my KCSE. However, since keeping his word about the 500shs award for every exam I did would be a tall order, he only gave me the prize twice. If I lacked paraffin, I was to tell him and he would gladly give out whatever was in his pocket.
Mr. Wang’ang’a pushed me to write more compositions. Every week, I was to write a composition and present it to him for marking. I did this from form two all the way to form four. Though, I doubt whether he looked at all those stories I wrote, he would always give me a grade—a thing that assured me that we were still sailing in the same boat. This concerned teacher also noted my weak performance in Mathematics and talked to my Maths teacher over it. He continuously pestered me to better my grades in the subject. [I pursued BSc Statistics in campus by the way].
Today, as I reflect over the ingenuity in this man, I can only say that he was a godsend. He made me be what I am today. Mwalimu, I am still writing those compositions. I am trying to write them daily on a piece of rag called Facebook. I also write for money in freelance websites.
2. Mr. Sammy Njuguna
Before I joined secondary school, my English language had already been polished by a passionate teacher at Wamere Wanene Memorial Academy. Teacher Sammy. The man joined the school while we were in class eight but by the time we were doing our KCPE, our language skills were already spick and span. We spoke in queen English and wrote the most flowery of narratives.
Tr. Sammy noted that I had a thing for impeccable stories that strived to stroll out of my composition book, thanks to the many literature books I was consuming. By class Eight, I had already read ‘Things Fall Apart’ by the late Chinua Achebe, ‘Kill me Quick’ by Meja Mwangi and a rather dirty book ‘Across the Bridge’ by Mwangi Gicheru among many others that I cannot remember. Teacher Sammy asked me what books I was reading and after telling him that I was re-reading Things Fall Apart, we started discussing the character Ikemefuna, the lad whom Okonkwo was to act as his custodian after the Umuofia warriors captured him from Mbaino [I started literary discussions quite early]. He borrowed the book and in return, he lent me Potent Ash, a short stories set book that he had tackled in secondary school.
3. Mr. Njenga(My Father)
He is himself an adult education teacher and Kanyayo village folks regard him as mwarimu wa ngumbaru. Very few know his real name. I acknowledge him as a special teacher who always ensured that I had a book in hand from a very tender age. TV watching was only allowed when we were done with our homeworks. Himself a voracious reader, he always brought novels home [he still does so] that I would steal and read even when I couldn’t comprehend most of the parts.
To all the teachers reading this, you do not have to be Mr. Wang’ang’a, Tr. Sammy or Mr. Njenga to be that one unforgettable teacher. No, just do your thing and do it well. Teachers have a noble profession of imparting character into their students. Tell them that they are still important even when they do not do so well in class. They will live to remember you for that.