40+FAB Blog

Hush hush

My schooling years in Nigeria were fun, but at the same time they put the fear of God in me. I went to a military secondary school and the style of teaching was such that when the teachers asked a question, everyone was expected to know the answer. If you did not know the answer, all I can say is God help you! There was a particular maths teacher who traumatized us. We would see him marching down the corridors like a man who had just lost something very precious and was frantically searching for it. He would bolt into the class and then pointing his finger at a random student he would shout “You, 7 times 8!” he would wait for all of 2 seconds for an answer and if he didn’t get one he would ask that student to come out and kneel down in front of the class, he would then go on the next random student asking the next random question from the multiplication table and so on. 

This made the students very wary of speaking up in the class as you could get into trouble for not knowing. I guess his methods were to scare us and jolt us into doing our assignments and reading our notes so that we would be able to answer questions that came up suddenly. 

At those times I kept as quiet and still as I possibly could because I did not know the answers and I did not want to get picked on. 

I found that keeping quiet was a kind of defence or protection mechanism just like a small creature would do trying to avoid the attention of its predators. 

Hush, hush I don’t want to rock the boat, I don’t want to be seen, I don’t want to be heard, I don’t want to get it wrong, this certainly can’t be the way to live a life of significance.