A glance at the ideal teacher

By  Kapenya the Observer

My belated congratulations to teachers throughout Zambia for their incident-free celebrations of this year’s Teachers Day on Wednesday last week.   The teachers matched majestically, sang and danced very well, ate and drunk whatever during their day. Indeed, this annual event is joyous to the tutors as it highlights the important role the teachers play in educating people who push the development agenda of any country like Zambia forward. And, apart from reflecting on their performance in the previous year, the teachers use their Teacher’s Day to also forgive naughty learners who call them names like Hussein, Hitler, Osama bin Laden, Shokoloko Bangoshe and Mickey Mouse behind their back. The pupils too joined in the celebrations by having mid-week extra hours at home to google, twit, face-book and whatsapp friends despite the day not being declared the official holiday. You see, the mention of a teacher reminds me of a song which goes like this: “Ba teacher menso yabili, limbi lilebelenga libilifwaya Mary”. This Bemba song talks about a classroom scenario in which a teacher would be reading from a book with one eye and scanning the gorgeous body of a school girl named Mary with the other eye. But as if in support of the song, I googled the following story last Wednesday of an incident which happened recently in Texas in the United States of America: “A teacher has been arrested after authorities determined she had engaged in an improper relationship with a school boy, police said.” “An officer observed that Imelda Portillo Dominguez, a teacher at the Monahans-Wickett-Pyote Independent School, was with the named schoolboy last night in the 300 block of Quela Street, according to a press release issued by the Monahans Police Department.” “Authorities said the officer was responding to a “suspicious vehicle call” and saw the pair in a parked vehicle around 21:00 hours.” “An investigation revealed the teacher had engaged in an improper relationship with the student, police said, and an arrest warrant was promptly obtained for Dominguez.” “She surrendered herself the following day at the Ward County Jail, officials confirmed.” “Dominguez has been working as a Spanish teacher at Monahans School since August 1994.” “School Superintendent Kellye Riley placed Dominguez on administrative leave pending an investigation by Monahans Police and the Texas Rangers, authorities confirmed.” According to the local media which reported the incident, the boy is said to have been a wizard at playing football and featured regularly in the school team. It was further reported that the boy’s soccer prowess had charmed the mistress into becoming his mistress. Well, new Chipolopolo coach, Wedson Nyirenda might as well travel to Southern Province and check on this charmer of female teachers, Zambia may just shoot down the low flying Green Eagles in the next return match with the boy in the team.   A teacher is also human and also has ticklish feelings, you may say you see, it is no big deal for a bank teller to fall in love with a client who maintains a fat bank account. Likewise, no one cares about a bus conductor loving a female passenger just like there is nothing worth raising eyebrows about a reporter befriending a news source of the opposite gender; after all, it is said that after interviews, interaction follows. But the same cannot be said about the teacher-pupil relationship because this would be breaking the trust parents have in teachers who are granted the responsibility of looking after their children during school hours. One can only hope that the tutors, who are in the habit of or are harbouring such unbecoming habits, repented and cleansed themselves during the observance of their Teacher’s Day. As already stated, the teaching profession is a noble one because any activity of human endeavour hinges on it. To be a good  accountant and defraud some unsuspecting employers, one need to have some form of education and the same could be said of a parson in order to woe many lost souls, fill the church and of course collect high value bank notes in British pounds, dollars and Euros during every church service. You already know that in Zambia, it is now mandatory for anyone to become president, member of the national assembly and of a chamber pot, pardon me, of a district council chamber, to first flash a genuine Grade 12 certificate. This writer is able to write this prose and lampoon the teachers themselves because of some form of education acquired over a couple of years. Now, wait a minute, by teacher, I do not mean the one who imparts skills to the learners about how to make a banana boat, weave a net and cast it on a lake to ensnare some innocent breams and kapenta which do not know would be chewed and swallowed. Not the one who shares skills of digging the ground and lashing at frightened mice bolting out of the burrow or he who specializes in trapping monkeys for the pot. This reminds me of a foolish tribal cousin who mistook a baby gorilla for a monkey and tried to snatch it only to be slapped straight in the face by its mother who sprung up from nowhere in defence of its infant. Yes, we are talking about a professional who stands in front of a classroom comprising girls and boys, ruler in one hand, chalk in the other and scribbles A to Z and ONE-PLUS-ONE-EQUALS=TWO on the black or green board. This is the teacher we are talking about who, in modern times, may use the power point projector to disseminate information and impart knowledge to the learners. This cadre of the teaching profession must be ever smart, spotting neatly pressed pair of trousers with razor-sharp lines (londo), a tie or bowtie at the neck of a spotless clean white shirt with well polished and shinning black or brown shoes for a man. This teacher must also have well trimmed nails and hair smeared with tonic and combed.  In some instances, this male teacher would leave the hair separation line commonly called the ‘shade’ on the side of the head like that of the late Nelson Mandela, which I do not see in teachers of nowadays. Not that  teacher who walks into class wearing a t-shirt with questionable colouration and bearing ‘Never give up’ inscription of wrestler John Cena, tight and faded blue jeans with the belt seemingly dropping down the waistline in the name of contemporary fashion. Not that teacher who when he or she is teaching keeps the learners squeezing their nostrils at the stench emanating from the armpit when he or she reaches out to write on the board. Similarly, a female teacher should not be the one sporting leggings in class and exposing body contours to the learners and send blood in boys to run a little bit faster against their will. Although this type of wearing might prompt the learners to start developing a liking for studying human biology – reproductive system in particular – this type of dressing must be discouraged. Luckily, I have not seen this so-called elegance in our schools and if you have, please let me know for documentation purposes. A teacher is a respectable individual in any society whose character is expected to be always above board and not one who lives on debts of kaloba months on end, a drunkard  who is carried home in a trance on a wheel barrow by his own caring pupils. In our not very long ago days, a teacher knew the parents and the locations of their homes. This teacher-parent relationship stimulated the learners to work even harder, lest the educator  visited and informed parents about their child’s shortcomings, which might be accompanied by a few strokes of the cane from the bullying head of the family. This was part of the disciplinary measures which is now alien to this wild era where children have the audacity to report teachers and their parents to the Zambia Police Service Victim Support Unit for abuse and the law supports. What no-sense is this? Not very long ago, a teacher would met out punishment on a pupil from any school found drinking beer, smoking tobacco or ganjah and the community accepted this gesture. Apart from strokes of the cane, erring pupils swept the school surrounding, dug litter pits, cleaned windows of classrooms and washed sports jerseys, among others. However, it is the type of punishment and how it was meted out which usually led pupils to call teachers names like Hussein, Hitler, Osama bin Laden, Shokoloko Bangoshe and Mickey Mouse. That said, I encourage all our dear teachers to teach the children well and let God mould them into educated individuals equal to the task of their own choosing.