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Thats My Boy!

April 29, 2012
WAEC Babes Day 1

The math babes take part one of my mock exam. Day one was very organized and behavior was great. There are 85… so about 30 more you can’t see in the picture!

It’s been a whirlwind few days.  I gave my mock multiple-choice test on Friday then turned right around and graded it.  I lugged them down the street to the club and Nathaniel gasped, “WooooW!”  He kept the cold beer coming while I plowed through the 650 some pages, 4,100 some questions.

Most did as poorly as I expected, but the few that I knew would shine exceeded my expectations.  “That’s my boy!” I yelled, knocking the table as I calculated Festus’ curve setting 78%.  If he scores that next week he’ll almost certainly land in one of the top classes, but I haven’t told him just in case I’m wrong.  He’s worked so hard for so long that no one else was even close, trailing by at least ten points.  Even studious, dedicated George fell in every one of my traps.  But that’s why we did this.  The test tricked him.  I’ll show him his missteps and hopefully he’ll sail through next week.

He reminds me so much of myself.  I’m sure that’s why I like him so much.  He’s the kid who works so hard, does everything right, but can’t quite get to the top.  But he wants it so he’ll make it as long as he can endure the heartbreak and disappointment.  Many teachers saw something in me and nudged me along my path.  I can only hope I’ve been able to do the same for George in some small way.

So that was Friday.

I finished the grades around 1:00am then turned around and started putting the essay packets together at 8:00am.  I kept the door closed so I could work undisturbed but the kids did not like this and proceeded to scream, “RB!  RB-o! Where place you at?  I hungry!”  I sighed, “Ma friends, I working.  We’ll dance later, yeah?”  Incoherent squealing in response followed by more, “RB!  RB-o!”

This is my life.

I finished putting stickers on the tests, all of them even the complete fails because, well, 99% of them deserve it, put on my favorite suit and power walked to campus.  Dark clouds hung ominously to the north and raced along with me.  I approached the gate and my students cheered, “You’re exactly on time!  Thank you!”

I directed them into one of the big rooms and as they scrambled for desks the wind hit and threw dust and trash into a blinding wall.  The rain pelted down and the wind sucked doors open and slammed them all around the courtyard.  I tried to hold our door open while they crowded in with desks on their heads and rain swirled in through the open walls, leaving us all damp and chilly.  The room I’d chosen wasn’t quite big enough so I sent some of them next door.  TIA.  We weren’t changing rooms in a rain storm!  Yes, they’d spy, but, yes, they’d spy anyway.  They do it when I’m two feet away looking directly at them.  “My friends,” I begged, “half of you have asked me to write you recommendations.  Do you want my last memory to be you looking off Prince’s paper?”  Laughter, “You are right!

They did it anyway.  I knew they would.

The test was quite difficult and they were tired and hungry: Not in the mood.  As they finished I handed back their part one exams and gave everyone a new pencil and eraser for their real test.  It cost me about $10US but it was worth it to see their smiles.  It was too late for most of them to learn more than a few strategies (like answer all the questions!) and get a little confidence.  We’ve done more math in the last eight months than most have done in three years.  Whatever happens we’ve tried our best.

When we finished I walked in to town with Lincoln, the lone straggler.  I asked why he’d been about 45 minutes late to the test, “Did you get caught in the rain?”  He shook his head, “Yes, but that isn’t why I was late.  My brother died yesterday during the tests and we were burying him their morning as the rain came.”  Jesus.  I told him I was sorry and he just nodded.  I asked why he’d missed so much school the past few months and he told me his father was seriously sick and there was no one else to take care of him, “The man can’t walk or talk.  I’ve been going to Ivory Coast to get food for us.”  I repeat: Jesus.

We reached town and I excused myself at Maima’s.  She fed me jolof rice and I inhaled it.  A man sat on the porch registering Lonestar SIMs.  I needed to register the one I use for my internet so I hurried home to get it.  The kids were destroying my porch and yard.  I couldn’t take the screaming so I packed some books and resolved to have a quiet day in town.  I registered my SIM, changed some money in the market, and spent the entire afternoon drinking 7Up at the club.  I put my feet up, read my book, and tried not to think about school or math.  Miraculously no one harassed me.

It was cold from the rain so I pulled on my sweater and Nathaniel sat down with me.  He’s my favorite so I was delighted.  We talked about Liberia, America, witches, and Twilight (that one was all him).  He “Wow!”-ed at everything and cracked me up.  Man I needed a good laugh.

I headed home but at the junction I saw a swarm of kids screaming in half delight, half terror.  I paused to see what was happening and out of nowhere the wiry ten foot Gio devil sprang up and started striding toward me.  The children shrieked and scattered.  I turned and walked quickly and calmly the opposite direction.  Thankfully he’s learned not to follow me.

At home I lit the candles and the melancholy started creeping in.  I took the radio on the porch, climbed on the railing, and allowed myself to be still and quiet for the first time in weeks.  I sang along with Akon, Rihanna, and Alicia Keys and tried, again, not to think about school or math.

I stayed in bed until 9:00 the next morning then wrote thirteen pages of notes on variation for quizzing at 2:00.  As exhausted as I am right now, I’m going to miss this in a few weeks.  Also, do I really turn 28 this week?  Crazy how life happens.

It’s been a wild year.

Below, I’ve attached mock WAEC exams.  How well would you do?

Mock WAEC Objective Rev

Mock WAEC Essay Rev

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. christina penn permalink
    May 24, 2012 2:09 pm

    I HAd to know what you were talking about with Gio Devil. So I found this link:

    very interesting!

  2. Candace permalink
    May 29, 2012 2:02 am

    If your students have learned to do this is one year you have worked miracles! Congratulations!

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