Remembering My Teachers
How are you today, my dear reader? Hoping that you are feeling as bright and cheerful as I am, I have decided to share with you some reflections on teachers who taught me along the way in my schooling journey, right from primary school to the university. Let me begin with Noru-Moru where I began my nursery school studies in 1993.
The teacher I most fondly remember at Noru-Moru was one Mr. Mureithi, a handsome and charismatic young man who taught us Science in Standard Four way back in 1997. He enjoyed taking us out in the fields during our Science lessons held before lunch. And you know what? At the end of the lessons in the field and just before lunch break, he would gather us together and release us one by one for lunch by asking us questions. Like he would ask, "What is chlorophyll?" And the first pupil to answer the question right would be released for lunch.
Fortunately for me - and I thank God for this - I was among the brightest pupils in my class, so I was always among the first to be released. I wonder what used to happen to my dim-witted classmates.
At Kunoni Educational Centre where I finished my primary school career in 2001, I was lucky to be taught by a more dedicated lot of teachers who honed us for the KCPE exams. Among them was one Mr. Oketch who taught us Science. He had a passion for the subject that used to shine through in his lessons. And he regularly digressed from Science stuff to regale us with stories from his life which we all enjoyed.
At Starehe Boys' Centre where I had my high school as well as college education, I was fortunate to be taught by devoted teachers most of whom I remember to this day. I would have loved to tell you about them all but in the interest of time, let me just mention two. Only two.
The first was my Form 1 to Form 3 Swahili teacher named John Mwaura (JM) who was creative at devising novel ways of driving Swahili lessons home. Like at one time in Form 2, he had each one of us tell the whole class something we had learnt in the subject that would be of interest to others.
But what I remember most about JM were the class sessions he used to call Chemsha Bongo during which he would split us into two groups. Then he would take turn asking each group questions which carried some points. At the end of the Chemsha Bongo session, we would tally the points and the group with the highest points would be declared the winner. I am ashamed to admit that for whatever reasons, I can't recall whether I was ever in the winning or losing group.
The second teacher at Starehe Boys' Centre I will mention today here is Mr. Martin Moore who I have already told you about in the caption of the photo above. He had a habit of beginning his lessons with interesting fun facts that broadened our knowledge beyond what was required in the curriculum.
Some of my classmates in 2F remember Mr. Moore for the extra marks he used to award for well-answered questions. But if at the end of term a student happened to score more marks than required, Mr. Moore would truncate his score to 100%. Oh, how I miss those good old days!
And finally at JKUAT where I matriculated to pursue a degree in Electronics & Computer Engineering in 2007, the lecturer I most fondly remember was one Prof. Paul Njoroge who taught us Communication Skills in our first semester at the university. We were quite a large class of more than 200 students but I captured Prof. Njoroge's attention when I gave him Tony Buzan's The Speed Reading Book. After that, we became good friends.
And guess what? Prof. Njoroge in turn ended up lending me four books, two of which I never returned. The books were John Marks' Science and the Making of the Modern World, the biographies of Nelson Mandela and Joseph P. Kennedy (patriarch of the legendary Kennedy family) as well as the autobiography of Bill Clinton.
Yes, that was me remembering some of my teachers. As I finish my story, let me share with you the following observation by the great inspirational figure and educationalist William Arthur Ward: "The mediocre teacher tells, the good teacher explains, the superior teacher demonstrates, the greater teacher inspires." Adieu!
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Some Mischievous Acts I Liked
A few years ago, I was having a haircut at a barbershop in my home-town owned by my friend Goldine when I spotted a sticker glued on one of the barber-shop mirrors with a quote in Agikuyu language written on it. The quote went something like this: "Nie nyedete ciana; wana niguo itedaga."
In Swahili, that quote translates as, "Mimi napenda watoto; utoto ndio sipendi." And in English, it translates as, "I like children; it is childishness that I don't like."
Though that quote tickles my fancy when I think of it, I don't agree with it entirely because I like childishness to some extent. Or rather, I like mischief provided it doesn't do any bodily harm or frighten the weak. Let me tell you today of some mischievous acts I liked.
There is this friend of mine I met at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi who I call Jack the Jackal. I came to like him during one Bible Study session we were having in the church when he started calling some of the attendants with his phone and then ending the call just as the receivers were about the receive the call - what is popularly known as "flashing" but my dictionary has no such definition of the word "flash".
To give a clear picture of how mischievous Jack the Jackal was, imagine you are in a Bible study when your phone rings. And when you take it out of one of your pockets, you discover that the caller is Jack the Jackal who is seated just opposite of where you are. Haha, how I liked Jack the Jackal for that mischief!
By the way, when I first befriended Jack the Jackal, he used to tell me that he was from Jamaica, the birthplace of reggae music and the Motherland of Bob Marley. I came to believe him given the pride with which he said he was from that country. And he promised me on several occasions that he would one day take me to Jamaica.
But then, I at one time asked Jack the Jackal, "What is the capital city of Jamaica?" He didn't know.
Another mischief I liked was of the students of JKUAT where I matriculated in 2007 to pursue a degree in Electronics & Computer Engineering but dropped out in 2009 after repeating and failing my second year. I visited the university later on in 2012 to reconnect with the classmates I befriended when I repeated my second year who were finishing the degree course then in 2012.
When I visited the university in 2012, I was impressed with how beautiful it had become.. And I was taken aback as I was strolling around the campus that night I visited the university on seeing a neon-lighted signboard that read "FAR HO TEL" pointing to a hostel which was for girls during my days in the university.
Surprised to the core, I paused and asked one of the guys passing by, "You mean they converted this women's hostel into a hotel?"
And the guy was like, "O man, where has this dude been?"
I can't recall what the guy told me but I quickly pieced the story together and learnt that the university had named the hostel as FARASI HOSTEL. Then some mischievous JKUAT students removed some of the characters on the signboard; that's why it read FAR HO TEL.
As to how the JKUAT students could remove some of the characters from the signboard without fear of being caught by authorities or getting an electric shock is something I have never understood. All I know is that I liked the mischief.
Yes, I like mischief provided it doesn't do any bodily harm or frighten the weak. That's why I am a big fan of April Fools' Day. And should I ever get lucky to have children, I will encourage them to be a little mischievous. So help me God.