Skip to content

Taking Responsibility

November 2, 2011

Aaaaamaaaan it’s been another rough week.  My 12th graders had their junior-senior prom last week so there was no class Friday.  As their sponsor, however, I had to reach to campus at 7:00am to sign for their dishes.

Speed walking the deserted road I had a bad feeling about the situation, so I was not surprised to reach an empty campus.  No one in the classrooms.  No one in the outer buildings.  Six girls throwing a kickball.  I poked my head behind our principal’s house, but Annie had no idea what I was talking about so I thanked her and started a slow walk to the market.  I needed a few ingredients for a friend’s German choco-lalla cake and I was sure I’d see some students along the way.

I reached all the way to motorbike parking before spotting Youhn Paul… or was it Konah?  There are twins and one of them is in 12th grade, the other in 11th.  At school Youhn Paul wears a tie so it’s easy.  “Konah?  Never mind.  Sorry yeah.”  But before I could cross the road again I heard, “Ms. RB!” and Melvin, another senior, ran out from behind a house in a football jersey and cleats.  I asked him why no one was on campus and he shrugged.  “I’m on my way now.”  I told him I’d come after going to market.

I crossed the street and went into Ronnie’s shop.  “Morning-o,” I said.  He turned, “Where’s Krista?”  I ignored him.  “Ronnie, can I come back and look at some bottles?”  He shrugged and returned to what he was doing.  I wanted brandy but picked out a small bottle of whiskey to replace the vanilla and bought a big pack of margarine.  I can only imagine what he thought I was doing with that at 7:30 in the morning.

I made a loop through the market and slowly made my way back to campus.  The ghost town had been replaced by at least three raucous games of football/kickball and students swarmed.  Thank goodness seniors wear ties!  I found Mercy, our Financial Boss, and asked her where to go.  We got a total run around then half an hour later someone finally showed up to unlock the primary school (and let the students inside!).  We were ushered into a small back room full of bags of donated rice and giant tubs of bowls and spoons.

“You can have 50,” the woman said.  I started counting them out in stacks of ten and put my hand right in a bowl of gray goop.  The dishes had been thrown back in the bins without being washed in the least.  I made a mental note to eat before prom and excused myself.  I’d told two 11th graders they had to reach to the house at 9:00am to retake their quizzes.  Both had been caught spying and deserved zeros, but that doesn’t satisfy me these days.  It doesn’t help them learn math: it just teaches them that I’m mean.

One of them, Ephesians King Dalm (that is a name) stares blank and terrified in my class.  He often turns his papers in blank or badly spied.  I need to have a serious (private) talk with him, but that’s impossible at school.  “If you don’t reach to my house the zero will stand.”  I didn’t really expect to see him, but as I turned from the main road, carrying all my bags and three dozen eggs, I saw him.  “Ephesians!” I called him over.  “I reached to the house, but you weren’t there,” he said.  I smiled.  “I’m reaching there now.  Le’go.”

I tried to crack his thick shell the entire fifteen minute walk and made only small progress.  Once home I never mentioned the quiz.  I tutored him for an hour on solving equations and couldn’t get the grin off my face when, after the tenth try his eyes lit up.  It was painful to watch up to that point.  He’d sit for five to ten minutes, pen hovering just over the paper, face blank, mouth slightly open, eyes scanning in all directions as if answers floated through the air.

“Ephesians, you’re too afraid of making mistakes,” I said finally.  “Just do something.”  I went inside and dug out the pouch of pencils I brought from America.  “Here,” I said, handing him one.  “You can’t solve problems without making a few mistakes.  Now you can erase them.  Please.  You have to write something.”  He smiled shyly and took it from me.  We worked some more problems and I sent him away with an assignment to bring to me Monday morning.

I finally had my coffee around noon and rolled up my cake baking sleeves.


“Likely as not, the child you can do the least with will do the most to make you proud.”
Mignon McLaughlin

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: