I wish to reminisce and think about the humorous things that some of my elementary school teachers used to do in order to teach us. One thing I liked about my primary school instructors was that they would never admit they didn’t know the definition of a term, no matter how challenging it was. They would work very hard to constantly reinforce the idea that since they were our teachers, they should be fully informed.

My primary school instructors, however, were extremely bright and played a significant role in shaping our socio-academic behavior by observing how primitive we were. In the village where we were raised, practically all of our fathers did not complete or attend any basic school. Schools were still starting student drives as of our time. I don’t remember the happiness I had when my late cousin Mr. Godown Aleke (may he rest in peace) came to talk to my dad about my schoolwork. I developed wings and was almost flying. John, pay attention: you’ll start going to school the next week.

Our place was timid, though; our people were not all that timid, but we lacked social and economic sophistication. I can recall how joyous I was the first day I heard what we called “disco music,” where they used a stereo player and connected it to loud speakers and horn speakers to produce sounds. Highlife music from Chiefs Oliver De Coque, Stephen Osadebe, and the Oriental Brothers led by Sir Worrior would be saturating our ears as it emitted from those speakers. There was reggae and hip-hop music from Raskimona, Crazy Boys, Maxuel Udoh, Lucky Dube, and others. A person known as the MC would take over the microphone and display his oratory craft or dexterity each time they wanted to transmit a piece of information to us.

We also always expressed our gratitude to our creators in a very special way for giving us the chance to witness a motorcycle, much alone a vehicle. Even our headmaster, Mr. Nwankwo Otubo, was traveling by bicycle with two legs. Many of our teachers rode their bicycles to work, but later we realized that in terms of intelligence and understanding, they were second only to God. We were less concerned with what people owned materially and more focused on what was inside their headgear.

The Day by Day English Course was read. The “reader,” as we called it, was packed with intriguing tales and a ton of poems, which our teachers would transform into lyrics, sing melodiously, and give the proper rhythm. We read one like “WE ARE IN THE BUS TO TOWN” in book 4, which I can remember. They would laboriously complete a great deal of exercises in the text and assign us homework. Even if I wasn’t very excellent at mathematics, the same thing was done in that subject and others.

Except for practical or monetary mathematics, I still don’t know any maths. You understand what I mean. I enjoy having money.

Do you understand what etc. means? One of our lecturers was using examples effectively. When this teacher was giving us instances of something, he would write on the board, noun: boy, Emeka, Lagos, etc., adjective: good, smart, formal, etc.

He always concluded his examples of anything he had written with, etc. Ikechukwu Nnede, a classmate, made the decision to inquire about the teacher’s mental health on one of those days. “Sir, every time you write etc, what is etc?,” he questioned, “nteke obule bu ideje etc, ogunu bu etc.”


This particular teacher has been silent for a while. Mr. Eze began to experience a chilly sense of disappointment. He made an effort to make out something, but my dear teacher was quickly kept away by his cunning and shrewdness. The students’ murmuring and clattering was more appropriately referred to as “the teacher did not know the answer to the question.” Mr. Eze yelled at us, “Keep quiet,” in a stern and commanding tone. We were all waiting and expecting the response when there was an immediate, defining quiet.

Finally, Eze, as always, showed us why he was our teacher and why he had to be an expert in everything. He converted the initials to an acronym and explained that ETC stands for “Example To continue

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