16 March 2010 – Today I Shouted at a Class

The day started out very nicely. The morning air was cool. Very refreshing after the heat of the day before. I took my blue plastic chair, my local stool, and my small wooden side table outside to have tea and work a puzzle. As I was sitting Master Amino came by. I rose to greet him and offered him the chair. He took the chair and sat on the footstool.

We chatted small small then the real reason for his visit came. He wanted to tell me that the masters on duty were going to punish 3C. He said that they wanted to send a message that the students shouldn’t treat Madam Vicky like that. I admit that my first internal reaction was “It’s my class butt out!” But quickly I decided to take it as a compliment that they were covering my back. I asked what they planned to do to the students. He said that they would all have to kneel outside. I thanked him and he left.

I went to the classroom block about 9:15 and Master Morris was there. He said that he had made 3C kneel and that he also wanted them to write a letter of apology.

Then I went to 2B2 to give them their class test. All went well during the test. Things broke down while we were marking the exams. I turned my back and I heard students shouting “Who’s got my paper. i want my paper” then other students said “Madam they are tearing up their exams and writing new ones.

I turned and calmly said, hand in all your papers. They did. Then I sent everyone outside. Searched the room and had them come in and pull out their pockets. I was seething. It was the second time that week I had tried to help them learn and some of them were just wicked! Also I hated searching because I knew most of them were innocent and I hated violating their privacy like that. I hated having mistrust sown in that class. Now I would wonder who was cheating and suspect innocent people. That made me angriest of all.

So I shouted at them. I have never shouted at my class before. I told them that one reason I liked coming to Ghana was that the students were very committed to their faith, Christian or Muslim. I see them at prayers and going to church each Sunday. But I said that it was easy to be Christian standing in the field, holding hands, singing feel good songs. It was easy to be Muslim when you were praying in the Mosque. The hard part was the rest of the time. As I talked I could feel my throat tighten and my voice raise in pitch. I told them that outside of church or mosque, that was when it counted. Not when you were in church or the mosque but when you were in the world. I told them cheating was wrong. That when God or Allah looks down upon them cheating He feels bad that His children have gone astray. I told them I felt the same way. I asked do you want to give up your honor and integrity for a grade? By this time I was screeching as I asked what will matter when you get to Heaven? A grade or that you were an honest person.

I stopped talking. Picked up my things and left.

As I was walking down the classroom block I heard Rofina say “Now look what you have done. You have made Madam annoyed with us!”



1 Comment

  1. Beth said,

    May 24, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    I guess it is somewhat comforting that teens are the same regardless of culture, geography or religion – but kind of discouraging at the same time, yes?

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