Before writing this enrty, I searched the internet and found nothing on any of the above three, my secondary school teachers, who have all passed away. This is my little way of immortalizing them and making their legacies live.
Mr Damian Nwosuagwu
When Sir Nwosuagwu first came to our school, the rumor was that our school had offered him more money to get him to leave another top private school in town. My school needed him to help improve our science class. Not long after he came, he was made the Dean of Studies and with it came the added responsibility of instilling discipline in not-so-well-behaved girls in a Catholic school. And instill discipline he did! It only took a yell of ‘Sir Nwosuagwu is coming!’ from a girl sitting close to the window to stop a delinquent student from further engaging in whatever mischief she was involved in.
Mr Nwosuagwu went on to improve our science class. He introduced Further Mathematics to the few students who were willing to ‘endure’ an elective course with him. Most of the students had enough of him from his General Mathematics class. Nonetheless, I had a certain respect and admiration for him. It was Sir Nwosuagwu who taught us how to know at a glance if a numbers is divisible by a single digit number. For example, I know instinctively, without solving the math, that 468 is divisible by 3. Yes, because the sum of its digits is divisible by 3 i.e, (4+6+8=18) 18 can be divided by 3 to give 6, a whole number. And however many digits a number contains, if the last two digits together is divisible by 4, then the entire number must be divisible by 4. Again, for example, without doing the math, I know that 5,679,348 is divisible by 4 because 48 is divisible by 4. The divisibility rule is one of the things I learnt in school that didn’t leave me. And trust me, many did including Almighty Formula and Standard Deviation(did you ever wonder in secondary school what use those were? I still do.) See here if you will love to learn more of the rules.
Thanks to Sir Nwosuagwu, I still have average basic Math skill despite the reputation lawyers have in some quarters for being bad in Math. (I was thrilled when I reviewed some standardized tests recently and found that I still remember the area and circumference of a circle! Don’t judge me Engineers. It’s a big deal for me, I have no need for Calculus).
Besides being a Math genius, Sir Nwosuagwu also played the role of a life coach. Despite our Unruliness, he cared enough to teach us some life lesson. It was from Sir Nwosuagwu (or his friend) that I first heard that saying that genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. When I reunited with a secondary school friend about eight years after our graduation, we differed on how Nwosuagwu imprinted that truth in our very much impressionable minds. My friend remembered Nwosuagwu saying it himself but from my recollection, Mr Nwosuagwu brought one of his friends to talk to us. The friend must have given a very good one because I recalled that he ended his speech with that saying and left the class as quickly as he had entered.
Mrs Isabella Ekechukwu
Aunty Isabella wasn’t your typical teacher ; she drove a car to school – something we considered a luxury at the time – and always wore well-tailored matching skirt and blouse. She was light skinned and had a gap between her front teeth. Thanks to Elechi Amadi’s depiction of Ihuoma in The Concubine, I still consider both proof a woman’s beauty. Now, I am baffled any time a dentist recommends closing gaps between teeth.
Mrs Ekechukwu helped hone our English Language proficiency. Her Impromptu Speech series during morning assemblies taught us to speak good English while literally thinking on our feet. Her reluctance to give an A made us work harder. I give credit to Mrs Ekechukwu for being part of the team helped me build the foundation in my use of English. Though she hardly meted out corporal punishment, we used to joke that her blunt and honest remarks directed at errant students were equally as scarring. Despite her intolerance for mediocrity, she genuinely cared about our welfare and showed us motherly affection. My fondest memory of her was when on an occasion, she stopped to ask me about some bug bites she had seen on my skin.
I knew Sir Ubaka for barely two years (or was it three?). We learnt of his death after we returned from a long vacation from one of my Junior Secondary classes. I never knew his first name. He was dark, a little plump and of average height. He taught us CRK (Christian Religious Knowledge) and CCD (Catechism of Catholic Doctrine). It didn’t matter that I didn’t know him for a long time. One thing he taught us would in later years be the subject of numerous family meetings, countless sermons from pulpits, and would cost government agencies millions of Naira on billboards and TV ads in the campaign against HIV and Aids. He advised us to say three Hail Marys everyday imploring the Virgin Mary to give us a certain virtue.
Playing Our Parts
I don’t know at what age any of these remarkable teachers died, but in my estimation, none of them lived past sixty. Their deaths are a sad reminder of how ephemeral and fleeting life is. We just need to play our parts and influence as many people as we can in a positive way. They did play their parts remarkably well and I do hope ( as one of my other teacher used to say, albeit mockingly, in mild protest of the pittance teachers are paid) that teachers’ rewards are in heaven. In my opinion, that’s where these amazing teachers who guided me, and other young girls, should be.
Do you have a teacher who influenced you or a fond memory of one of them? Please share in the comments section below. Don’t have time to give details? Simply write their names and anyone who comes here will appreciate your effort to honor them.