End-term is increasingly becoming a nightmare for me. What with setting of examinations, marking and preparation of report forms? And it was going to be tough this term, considering the many teachers on maternity leave. Besides my Class Five pupils, I also have to prepare Class Eight report forms as I am their acting class master with Madam Anita on maternity leave.
You can, therefore, understand my anger when I was compelled to help other undeserving colleagues with their work. First was Bensouda, the HM. As part of her efforts to help deal with the maternity crisis, she agreed to teach one of the classes.
Initially, the BOM teachers used to go for her lessons, but as you are aware, we had to let them leave as we did not pay them even for a single month.
Bensouda instructed me to mark her class’ papers since she said she would be busy signing report forms. With just about 300 students, I can tell you that signing report forms is the easiest of jobs — especially if you do it the Bensouda way. Besides her initials, every term, she puts in an identical comment. Like last term, all the reports forms had one comment from her: “Pool up your socks!”
Saphire is a colleague who is known more for drinking than teaching. In his over 15 years of teaching, he has been interdicted more times than he has been promoted. Somehow, he has always been reinstated — thanks to his expert understanding of the TSC Code of Conduct and Education regulations.
In fact, if TSC is looking for someone who understands its Code of Conducts and general education regulations to teach in TTCs, they should look no further. Saphire understands this even more that his main subject — social studies!
We had set last Thursday as the deadline for having all the papers fully marked so that teachers can start entering marks in report forms. I was unable to complete the Class Five and Eight report forms on time since Saphire did not present the marks early. I raised the issue with the HM who ordered Saphire to present the marks before the end of that day. After a few minutes of marking last Wednesday, Saphire left school with some papers, saying he would mark them at home where he could concentrate.
Later that evening, a parent came to school carrying some exam papers.
“Hii ni aibu gani?” asked Alphayo, the parent. “Makaratasi ya mtihani imetapakaa kila mahali.” He told us that Saphire had dropped the papers on his way home.
Apparently, from school, Saphire went straight to Hitler’s. We found him lying beside the road, a few metres from Hitler’s den, dead drunk. There were papers scattered all over the road right from Hitler’s gate. We were surprised to find that they were Mwisho wa Lami primary school exam answer sheets.
The next day, our headmistress went to the AEO’s office to explain Saphire’s behaviour. It was difficult to reach Saphire as he does not even have a phone and he failed to turn up in school. But on Friday, Saphire came to school early in the morning. When I say early morning I mean 9am, for that’s very early for Saphire.
He said he had the marks of Class Five and Class Eight social studies.
“Bring the report forms I fill in the marks,” he said. He took the reports and started filling in the marks.
“Where have you manufactured the marks yet the answer sheets were found all over the village,” Bensouda asked him when she arrived, and heard that Saphire had the marks and was filling in reports cards.
“I am not aware of that,” he said, his face looking genuine. “I can show you the answer sheets that I marked.” He said. He went to his bag and pulled out some papers, which we all confirmed to be class Five and Eight Social Studies answer sheets.
“So what papers were found scattered all over Mwisho wa Lami?” Bensouda asked. “You tell me,” Saphire answered. Kuya, who had picked some of the papers was called. They were determined to Class Six English Language papers. This was surprising, for at the time, Class Six English language was being handled by Bensouda.
“How did these papers get out of school?” she asked angrily. Saphire retorted that the teacher concerned should be held accountable. “How come they were never marked?”
The headmaster then told Saphire how he had brought disrepute to our school and the teaching profession. “Look at how shabbily you are dressed; you don’t look like a teacher,” she said angrily. “And what kind of teacher does not even have a phone?”
“I dress to please myself, not you,” Saphire answered confidently. “I have read the Teachers’ Code of Conduct and nowhere is a teacher required to have a phone!” he added. Bensouda was struggling to pin him down.
“This is the umpteenth time that you are delaying us because of your drunkenness. It is time we dealt with impunity in this school once and for all,” said Kuya.
“I was not drunk, I was sick this whole week and here is the sick sheet,” Saphire said, producing a sick sheet which he presented to the HM.
“Let us even assume that I was drunk,” continued Saphire. “Section 44 of the Employment Act only prohibits drunkenness at the work place. You all agree that I was not drunk in school.” This made Bensouda angrier; I think because she was unaware of this law.
“This story will not end here,” she said.“Roundi hii siso mchezo, we have a new DCI and DPP.” She knew that Saphire had all the documents and facts to win any case at TSC but she was unwilling to admit defeat. She, therefore, postponed making a decision on the issue until our first meeting next term.
“Let’s finalise marking the report forms so that we can close school in peace; we will pick up this matter when school open in September,” she said then left. From my experience, the matter will have been forgotten by September. But I’m certain it will come up again in November when Saphire deserts duty. Again.