Head and Tails 2/3

By Drum Digital
15 November 2013

And then there are Thabo and Tshepo who both managed good C passes.

They sat side by side in the test. And some of their answers are suspiciously similar. Do I turn a blind eye? Do I give them the benefit of the doubt? Or do I take off marks because of cheating? Is this a lesson they both need to learn? So you see what I'm saying: marking tests is a delicate balance between fairness and academic integrity and care for my pupils. It's not something to be rushed just because of the headmaster's due dates.

And just who was our headmaster speaking to, there in his office, I wondered. Who was listening to this list of my faults? That's when I heard the sound of a woman's giggle, also coming from the office. And I recognised that giggle straight away. I knew now who our headmaster was speaking to. Portia Mariba, our junior general science teacher!  ??Oh poor Mr Lecoge!'' Portia Mariba giggled. ??He's such a sweetie. He wouldn't hurt a fly!'

Now, a true gentleman doesn't make insulting comments about any woman. Normally I'd never do such a thing. But I have to explain about Ms Mariba. She's a new and inexperienced teacher: she joined our staff last year only. She knows very little about good teaching methods. Mostly she stands in front of the class, making the pupils read page after page from their general science textbook. Once in a while she tells them to underline a sentence in pencil.

What kind of method is that? How do you expect to fire up young people and show them how fascinating science is if you teach like that? These pupils will go through life thinking science and biology are boring, dreary subjects. How will they ever understand the wonders of our world? I've spoken to Ms Mariba several times about this. But she ignores my advice, fluttering her long, fake eyelashes and giggling at me as though teaching isn't something to be taken seriously. Certainly far less important than having the latest hairstyles and most fashionable designer clothes.

I'm afraid to say Ms Portia Mariba is one of those young women who wear far too much make-up and far too short skirts. There are some men who find her attractive; the kind of men who are easily fooled and don't understand what it is to be a true gentleman. I know our headmaster finds her attractive. The bell rang for the start of break.

But I stayed where I was. I needed to know why our headmaster and Ms Mariba were discussing me. Now our headmaster was clearing his throat. He did this when he wanted to make an important announcement. And what announcement was he about to make to the young teacher? ??As you'll understand, Ms Mariba ? Portia ? something must be done. I'd like you to take over as head of the science department, '' our headmaster said. I could hardly breathe! I leaned against the wall, trying to stop myself from fainting.

From the office came another of Ms Mariba's giggles. ??Oh, that would be wonderful! But what about poor Mr Lecoge?'' Her voice was thick with fake sympathy. ??Don't worry your pretty head about him,'' our headmaster answered. ??I'm sure early retirement is just what he needs. He deserves a good long rest after all these years.''

 - To be continued...

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