It was in ss1 in literature class where I first tried to cheat in school.
Mrs. Orji’s class was hard. Quiz after quiz, I got C’s and D’s. A few more, and I might not pass the class if I continued like that.
I got back another test results. Yet another C. Damn.
I remember I got most of the answers wrong. I scored 5/15 and I was pained.
She came to the class and did corrections. I was so ashamed of my score. I didn’t want anyone to see that.
When she returned our books, I quickly tore out the part I got 5/15 and rewrote another one and made myself get 12/15.
I kept the 5/15 inside my locker and was beaming with smile. I later tore it. Little did I know that my village people followed me to the boarding school that term.
The teacher after like 5 minutes came back in a hurry and said we should submit back the test book that she hasn’t recorded our scores.
My brain started to touch. I almost ran mad.
I had already torn the one I got 5 and scattered the pieces inside the trashcan. I was in a big mess. Mrs Orji? You can’t fool her. She’s supper smart and hot with her British accent.
I didn’t know what to do again. I had to submit it like that. Fear village people.
So I quickly submitted with others and rushed outside the class to rehears my defence if I’m called. Learning how to outsmart Mrs Orji?…Iberibe.
“Ezugwu Favour?, Mrs Orji is calling you”. A student call.
I almost collapsed. I felt this sharp movement in my tummy. My stomach started to rumble. I immediately developed running stomach I almost urinated on myself. Approaching her office my body was visibly shaking.
“What happened to the test I marked,
who wrote 12/15 here?”
I came closer to see it like I didn’t understand what she was talking about.
“What’s this”? She asked.
“You marked it ma”.
“I did”? She asked calmly.
I started to beam with smile thinking I have won.
“I’m disappointed” she said disrupting my thought.
“You, um,…… marked….
Shut up. She said looking straight into my face. How dare you make mockery of my intelligence?
Omo, I was already fidgeting. I just went down on my knees and confessed.
She looked down at my expertly-crafted trick…and looked at me square in the eyes. She just stared, and then began laughing incredulously.
“I know, I didn’t,” she laughed loud enough for the whole staff to hear. “You changed the mark. Now sit down.”
My cheeks burned as I made the walk of shame to the seat.
You can do better than this. You’re a very smart kid. Why did you do this?
I kept my face down.
“What’s the problem”?
“I don’t like literature. It’s too hard and confusing. I always get low marks in it”.
“Literature is not hard. If it was, I wouldn’t be so good in it. But look at me I’m so good in it and I eat from it. You can do better than me and we ain’t bargaining it”.
“I’m sorry ma. I will never do this again”.
“I’ll forgive you on these conditions. 1. Get As in literature henceforth. 2. Write a story and submit every week. Mind you, I’ll critically screen your papers and I’ll do that without mercy.
Now take these books, seat down and read them. If you don’t understand anything, come and we will fix it.
It was at that moment I learned the hard lesson:
There are no shortcuts.
You can’t cheat you way to becoming a better version of yourself. It’s a slow, often painful process. In fact, most people quit before they succeed.
There and then, I knew I was into something big. I started reading literature like my life depended on it.
By the end of the term, I got an A in literature and so it continued. So also in my WAEC..
God bless all the teachers who saw beyond mistakes if their students.
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