My Sciences Dilemma; Mr. Adams, My American Peace Corp Mathematics Teacher!
On my very first day in Secondary school, I couldn’t contain the excitement that one of our teachers was a white man, from America. It was in fact a burning excitement. I was only a little away from 12 years old, and never ever having stood very close to a white man. I remember sitting right on the front row, just to ensure that I looked at this young American teacher from head to toe. I cannot forget the long wait, filled with the warmest of anxieties, just to hear my ‘whiteman’ teacher speak his first lines. Wao! My teacher entered the classroom, he was all I ever imagined; tall, handsome, red lips, slim, smart, and wearing a friendly smile.
Remember, I am still waiting for him to speak his first lines…
Mr. Adams is the guy I am talking about. He was an American Peace Corp, serving as a teacher in Government High School (now Government Bilingual High School) Ekondo Titi, found in the Ndian Division, in the South West Region of Cameroon. That was between 1991 and 1993. Mr Adams was my mathematics teacher – did you get that? He was my MATHEMATICS teacher! He taught me Mathematics in Forms 1, 2 and 3.
Finally Mr. Adams spoke his first lines, immediately after the class greeted him [Good-morning-Sir].
“Goad-manning class,” Mr. Adams responded with an American accent, and a broad smile.
And I was like ‘what?’…What did he say? Wao! Within a short circle I was able to understand that he just responded with a ‘good morning class.’
That is how it went for three solid years. I never heard a thing of what Mr. Adams was saying during lectures. That was sad for me. But don’t forget that some other students could understand him, and they grew up to become mathematicians. What then was my problem? Simply I just couldn’t hear and make sense of what he was saying. He was ‘wrapping’ [as we usually call it] all the time.
Behold, in as much as I admired my new ‘whiteman’ teacher, I hated his subject he was teaching – Mathematics. And so I grew to hate all science subjects in secondary and high school. I actually had a ‘U’ grade in Ordinary Level Mathematics. And the other science subjects, I just couldn’t score a pass mark for as long as I was part of those subjects. MAY BE I JUST WASN’T A NATURAL SCIENCE STUDENT, MAYBE.
But then, why the particular allusion to my lovely Mr. Adams?
In the university, I was faced with a SOC 208 compulsory statistics course. This course was pure Mathematics and statistics having Mr. Itambi Zacharia Appono as lecturer. OMG! From day one, I never paid attention to the lecturer, just because it was a calculation course. You know what? I failed that course with a ‘U.’
Interestingly, I told myself the next year that I cannot stay an additional year in the University because of a statistics course that others were passing with an ‘A.’ I started off that course with determination and courage; one of passing it with flying colors.
Like I did on Mr. Adams first day of class, I was on a front desk of the front row of Mr. Itambi’s SOC 208 class. The first class was good, and I understood everything because I paid all the attention I could. I attended all tutorial classes for this course, and behold I mastered all formulas and workings. I became a master of that course, and I passed it with an ‘A.’
Then I told myself, the beginning determines the end. The base marks the top. The foundation should be strong enough to carry the building.
Mr. Adams, you were a good and intelligent Mathematics teacher, but you were the wrong one for me. Not for anything, but for the fact that you seemed to be speaking Spanish to me. I just couldn’t make sense of your accent. It was out of my world. I hope it could be now so that I will appreciate your every lecture, because now, your English and accent will seem like English to me.
I don’t grieve that I didn’t become a science student; I am only citing a past even. In actual fact, I am happy that I was an arts student, and even happier that I am a journalist.
IT IS TEACHER’S DAY ON THE SATURDAY 05TH OF OCTOBER AND I SAY -- HAPPY TEACHER’S DAY MR. ADAMS!
LONG LIVE TEACHERS AROUND THE WORLD!
LONG LIVE UNITED STATES PEACE CORPS IN CAMEROON!
LONG LIVE CAMEROON!