Last week, I decided to surprise my children, by visiting them in their school without their prior knowledge, I decided to do this, when I realized I knew little to nothing about the children school. I was too busy with work that I could hardly interact with my kids during weekdays, not to talk of helping them with their assignment, even on weekends, I am tied-up with church commitment that I hardly find time for my children. My wife had always preached against my proxy role in the academics of our children, all I do was to doggedly push the blame of my laxity to work, without giving a thought to her area of concern. I was however challenged when I saw and noticed how seriously my colleagues took their children, so I decided to visit,
I visited my last child in the nursery school, I was amazed to see what this under 4 were made to learn, I still remember those days when I was still that young, I was still holding on to my mother’s apron, not with my hand, but with my teeth, in fact, at that age, I still demanded that my mother should breast feed me, she bears me on her back to the farm, while my elder siblings attended school, I was surprised to see my daughter and her classmate sounding and spelling four letter words, the word “face” particularly stirred my concern, I remembered that I was unable to spell these word that this young student spelled with ease, as though they were chewing gum until I was in primary four. Other things caught my attention, the school compound seemed stuffy to me, there was no space for children to play continently. The school was fenced like a prison yard, there freedom to exploit their environment was not there, and all I saw was a Rehabilitation Centre where pupils were forced to become adults by all means. I was force to compare their experience with my time in primary school, how our school environment made learning an experience you will always relish, and not one you wish you never experience.
I asked her teacher when she would be through for the day, the plumb and all smiling teacher said the closing time was 3 pm, but she would be waiting another section of evening lesson for an hour, this made my blood to ripple for a moment, “what would she learn to that very time” I asked because I wonder of the children would be attentive all through this period. I know that even grown-up complain of being exhausted even before noon in various seminars that I have attended. Obviously, unlike the adult, the children may not be able to inform their teacher about how tired they were. Personally, I am of the opinion that if as a teacher, you are unable to impart knowledge on these kids from the time school opens to 12 noon, then, I don’t think any knowledge can be gained after these learning.
I turned to look at the pupils, and I sensed the longing to be free. They were like the poet persona in the 18 century poem by Williams Blake “The School Boy, lost and curtail by the restriction of the classroom wall, not allowed to innocently play out the curiosity of their fragile mind. My nostalgic faculty re reminded me of how I contrast of education when I was at their age. I remember I was age ten when I got to these level, I remember my experience, like a nectar, I can still recall the solid experience. How massive our school compound was, how we were call to nature, I remember how we cultivated our teachers farm, and the raw experience it afforded us. We were not forced to learn, our interest accumulated automatically. Well, I would not deny the fact that the children making this generation are extraordinarily and digitally smart, but then, school was not a military zone with bookish routine; it was a mixture of experiences. I know I would one day raise my discontent on some modern educational issues, but not today.
I hurriedly left for the secondary school my first son attends, according to the school’s magazine that I squeezed out time to read, the school is “a real citadel of learning; an institution where education meets success”, though, these magazine was engorged with photo-shopped pictures of the students, with their mind blowing achievement, I was also surprisingly impressed by the structure, and facility the school flaunted on the magazine, it was massive, with this, I understood that the fee I pay was justified. Co-incidentally, the school was having her sport week, and a lot of sporting activities was to be carried out, but, with what I saw, I was far from being impressed. I was surprise that they had to do most of their sports was done on the street in front of the school compound. I felt betrayed when I realized that the school did not have a space in the compound for sport, I was greeted by a compound, not more than a full plot choked by two four story buildings that is almost hugging each other, the little space that lays between these building would obviously not be enough for the usual morning assembly. The compound was inspiring, but it was deprived. I wondered why this big school cannot afford space for sporting activities for their students.
Even though the street was blocked in order to reduce the hazard of the dusty road, I was still far from being impressed. I disliked how the dust risen by the feet of these student hung in the air, triggering series of sneezing as a watched absent mindedly, these scenario triggered another series of nostalgic playback of my secondary school day, and how contrasted it is with what I can see now. Despite the fact that I attended a public school, I can say confidently that I still had a mature secondary school experience which I relish. At that time, my school in Akure boasted of two standard pitches, volleyball court, lawn tennis court and other important sport, no wonder sported strived during my days than now. All I see this days is education that is forced down the throat of this children, without the freedom nature gives and without sport to water it down.
I, still recall how playful I was during my secondary school days, how I trained and played for my school time, how my white shirt usually become a shade of brown and green trouser become a shade of purple before I left for home, and how all these playfulness did not in anyways affect my studies and performance in school. I remember how schools compete for laurels in the area of education and sport, and how I was a vanguard in my school teams to beat and shame competition. These exploit in sport did not limit me, it only gave me a winning, mental makeup, it also tamed me in a way that I really appreciated, sport prevented me from being lost into the unfortunate world of social vices, I remembered, back then, when I got home from school, I would be so tired that I would not be able to visit friend who would have introduced me to atrocities. Any time I travel, memory line I smile to myself, because I know school those days was an ideal one, I realized that there was balance at that time than that the present could not afford. By the road side I stood watching my son hopping for the finish-line with his lower limb buried in the sack, I heard the sporting event is called sack race, this my first time of experiencing one. With a deep regret, I felt for my son for not experience what I had experienced during my days. But I hope that there is something I could do to remedy this education deprivation.
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