It is a Monday morning in Nightingale Academy, they had just completed their Midterm test the week before and the principal was not impressed with the performance of some of the students. That faithful morning, they were about marching into their classroom when the principal stopped them.
“We are marching to our classes
To receive understanding
for learning is better than …”
They chanted joyfully.
“Halt”, the principal commanded. They all stopped marching and singing at the same time
. “Good morning students”, he greeted.
“Good morning sir”
“It has come to my notice”, the principal began. “That some of you performed woefully in the just concluded midterm test”, he paused and looked around for a few seconds. “Especially students of JS1 B”
“Please Mr. Dammy, do something about it”, the principal instructed facing the class teacher of JS 1B. “And I want you to discipline them appropriately”.
“Imagine, the highest performance in your class is not even close to the lowest in 1A and it’s very disappointing”, the principal added. “I expect to see changes before the exam
. That’ll be all, you can proceed into your respective classes”.
The students resumed marching and chanting. Students in JS 1B held their head low until they had marched into their classroom.
After the assembly Mr. Dammy went straight to JS 1B. He entered the classroom angrily. When they greeted, he refused to answer and started to speak from the depth of his heart.
“You know it’s so disappointing the way you all failed. I didn’t expect this from any one of you especially Ore and Ayo. Yes I know, this class is termed class of dullards but it doesn’t have to be. You can change that. You can be your own selves”
The students murmured and exchanged glances with one another.
“Quiet everyone!” he commanded visibly angry. “You all have to put in better performances. Henceforth, this class can’t remain the class of dullards as long as I am your class teacher. And …”
“Excuse me, sir”, a student interrupted Mr. Dammy.
“Yes, what is it?” Mr. Dammy asked with annoyance.
“Sir, the principal asked you to see him in his office”, the student announced.
“Okay, tell him I’ll be with him shortly”, he dismissed the student without further delay. “As for you all”, he said now referring to the students in the class.
“I will be back”. On this note, he left the classroom.
As soon as the teacher left, the class burst into an uproar, paper flying here and there and everyone moving about shouting at the top of their voices. Students from other classes could hear their noise. Ayomide wasn’t involved in the uproar, she just sat at a corner unperturbed by the noise. She was deep in her own thoughts.
‘How could I score so low in the test? It’s unlike me. In this manner, I’m putting my mother to shame and her money to waste. Why would I repay her this way? I use to be the first in Lizben. What happened? I’m disappointed in my own self. I need to be better. I have to be better for my Mom’s sake?’
*I need to be Better*
Ayomide was not always like this in her primary school days. She used to be one of the best in her class but now she seems to be the worst in her school. She has no one to blame but herself. She couldn’t even blame it on her father’s death nor could she blame it on her lazy friend and present class. She had chosen to study less and play more both at school and at home
. She and Bukky are always playing instead of doing their assignment. Ayo threw caution to the wind and no one was there to pull her back. But after listening to Mr. Dammy that morning, she became sad and disappointed.
Amidst the chatter, Bukky noticed that her friend has been quiet since their class teacher left the class. She immediately walked up to her friend to find out what happened.
“What is wrong with you”, Bukky demanded from her friend.
“I failed”, Ayo responded.
“Mtcheew”, Bukky hissed. “So did everyone in this class. Is that why you are now beating yourself up?” She tried to pacify her friend.
Ayo just looked at her friend not knowing what to say”.
“Bukky come, let’s finish this game while we can. The teachers will soon be back”, a girl called from the front seat.
“I guess their meeting with the principal will be over soon”, another said.
“I’m coming”, Bukky screamed back. “Let me…”
“You don’t understand”, Ayo started and Bukky stopped talking immediately to listen
. “I used to be among the top 3 positions since my primary one”.
“You scored higher than most of us in the class”, Bukky said. “Better count yourself lucky”, she advised and turned to leave.
“Idiot!” Ayo shouted and spoke angrily. “With this ridiculous mark”. Every student in the class diverted their attention to where Ayo was sitting. Bukky remained rooted to a spot. She couldn’t move forward nor turn back to face Ayo. Though, she kept listening to her friend and actually felt for her.
“I do score higher than 30 in all my test score when I was in primary school”, Ayo kept saying with tears rolling down her cheeks. “And now I’m scoring 16 as my highest score, that’s ridiculous, Imagine 16 out of 40 marks”
The class was quiet now, they were all listening to Ayo. Ayo didn’t care less nor did she stop. She was concerned more about herself.
“If you are all happy with your score”, Ayo continued. “I’m not. It clearly means I don’t belong in this so called ‘class of dullards’. She concluded and left the class hurriedly crying her eyes out. Bukky ran after her.
After Ayo left the class, the students became dead silence. They too felt the pain from Ayo’s word. It’s not as if they also wished to fail but they believed they can’t do better than their mates in 1A. Maybe it’s time for change, time to be better.
* * * *
Meanwhile, in the conference room. The teaching staffs had just concluded their meeting with the principal and were leaving the room one after the other.
“Mr. Dammy”, the principal called. “I hope you do remember that registration for State mathematics competition will commence in two weeks’ time?”
“Yes sir, I do remember”, Mr. Dammy responded. “I’ve selected three students each from JS3 and SS2 who would represent our school in the competition in both junior and senior category”, he explained further.
“Okay, good”, he praised. “What about the school’s annual mathematics competition.
You are yet to select a student from your class. Other class teachers in junior school have submitted the name of the student to represent their classes”.
Having listened to the principal, Mr. Dammy concluded in his mind on whom to pick. The reason he hasn’t submitted a name was because he didn’t know who to choose. Now he does.
“Yes Sir! I will submit the names to the secretary today” Mr. Dammy said.
“Okay, thank you”, the principal thanked Mr. Dammy and dismissed him.
Mr. Dammy did not return to JS1B after leaving the meeting. Instead he went straight to the secretary’s office to register the student’s name for the school annual’s mathematics quiz. The student was none other than Ayomide Cole whom he believe could make a change.