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That time when teaching

….that trying to hold the laughter back while looking at the child who caused the laughter, and trying to explain the next steps to her from the front of the class, with most of the class still giggling, was not a great combination.

two girls doing school works

I was teaching a year 7 class once on a Tuesday afternoon. It was the last period of the day, straight after the 40 minute lunch break and it seemed, we were all ready to go home.

Now, sometimes, I walk around the classroom with a metre stick. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s to remind me of my African roots, where traditional rulers parade with their staff of office, or elaborately decorated walking sticks, to remind you they are in the seat of power.

One of my lovely female students puts her hand up to ask a question, while the rest of the class were working on the questions on the board. She sits at the front, near the door. As I walk over, I’m talking to other students either to remind them to be on task or reassuring them, they were on the right track.

woman wearing black blazer holding pen pointing white marker board

By the time I get to Fatima, she was distractedly talking to the students on her table, that she didn’t notice I had arrived as an answer to her prayers. Her hand was still up. I then said, I’m here. But she was enamoured with the conversations with the boys. I repeated, I’m here. But my lady was still carried away. I leaned in and said again, I’m here. Nope, she wasn’t having it. All this time, her right or should I say, write hand was still up.

I then leaned even closed, with my voice slightly raised and repeated, I’m here. By this time, most of the class had clocked on that she was distracted and hadn’t seen me.

Now, it’s not like I’m under 5 feet or have a tiny voice. So I’m not sure why she didn’t or couldn’t hear me. Them lads!!

Finally, she turned and smiled. I’m sure you can guess what happened between my last announcement of my presence and her eventual acknowledgement.


The whole class erupted in laughter.

Surprisingly, she maintained her composure and asked her question, ever so calmly. Thinking about it, she would make a good politician.

I went to the board for further explanation and it took me some time to regain my composure. The class was still giggling at the exchange.

But my dear Fatima was nonplussed and just smiled in response, carrying on with her work.

The classroom can truly be a joy as kids are more innocent and simple in the way they view the world.

To your becoming a child, . . .

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