No! I am not the first gentleman to attend a girls’ school in Ghana… so stop staring at me as though I am. Haha. And yes! St. Roses is one of the finest schools in the country. No two ways about that.
Many years ago around this time, I was preparing to do my national service in faraway Akwatia― St. Roses precisely. I had not the faintest idea how the place looked like and how teaching girls may ever be, especially when I had been with only guys a chunk of my life.
As fate may have it, I stayed on after national service and those moments are still one of the best in my life. Let me share with you some interesting life lessons I chanced on in my four year stay there.
“Not everyone loves you. Not everyone hates you!”
Only a month or two into my service, I locked horns with final year students over what I thought was a trivial issue. Though it was a tough time for me, I enjoyed the experience. It was the first lesson life taught me to sometimes mind my own business! Haha.
All through this tense period, I knew some of these students didn’t genuinely like me. They flaunted it, at least. On the flip side, however, others had come to like me pretty well.
As you journey through this life, don’t be paranoiac. Inasmuch as you’ve die-hard enemies, you also have die-hard lovers. Stay focused!
“Don’t force square pegs in round holes!”
As a Biology teacher, I came across quite a number of students who were in a Science class just to fulfill a parent’s dream. Deep within their hearts, they wished to have studied something else… and it was evident in their grades.
The first step to greatness is to know who you are. If you force the best flying bird to swim, it will drown! Knowing who you are is as important as knowing who you are not. Indeed, there’s nothing as frustrating as living a life that’s not your own.
“Choose relationship over everything, even money!”
As much as I could, I tried to make each student a friend. We spoke about life outside exams oftentimes and while I was at it, I built a good relationship with their parents, too. Driven by passion, not money, I made sure each of these was prepared enough for their final exams.
Good gets paid. Many years on, most of these students have become such a driving force behind my dream. Sometimes, relationships can buy what money can’t!
“Planning cuts down waste!”
One glowing characteristic of the St. Roses environment is that every single hour throughout the seven (7) days of the week is allotted for an activity. Each day is so well planned that time is the last thing that is mismanaged there.
Lesson. If you want to cut down waste in your life, plan it. If you want to cut down waste in your finances, plan your expenses. If you want to cut down waste from the kitchen, resort to proper planning of how much of what should be cooked. Less planning, more waste!
“Proper preparation separates winners from losers!”
On several occasions, my students made me feel like I was some Einstein. Though I came to class without a book, I could rattle all of the stepwise equations and concepts without stress. They marveled at how I could answer each question they hurled at me with ease while I broke down the monster of a Biology into simple, plain terms.
Secret is, I rehearsed every lesson even before day broke. I anticipated all questions those intelligent girls may ask and researched answers to such. I was no genius. I was only a properly prepared young man. Haha. Preparation is an advantage in life. Make use of it!
“You don’t know everything!”
Frankly, there were times I was knocked out by some questions I was asked. Much as I tried to answer them, the follow-up questions flung me into even more self-contradiction. I eventually had to learn how to sometimes say, “Please, I don’t know this!”
You’re human. Learn to admit what you don’t know… and be ready to learn such. The man who assumes to know everything is indeed the one who knows nothing!
“Apology is not age limited!”
Anytime I wronged my students, it wasn’t a hard thing apologizing to them though I was years older than they were. If I felt I had been unfair to any, the only fair thing to do was to apologize.
In life, apology is rendered by the one at fault… and it could be the older person. Learn to apologize to your kids when you treat them wrongly. Learn to do same to your subordinates. “Sorry” is only a one-letter word but can make one feel way better!
We can always make this world a better place. St. Roses. Veritas! Truth and Responsibility!
The writer is a playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications (www.scribecommltd.com), a writing company based in Accra. His play TRIBELESS is on Sept. 16/17 at the Drama Studio, Legon.
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