There were days when deputies were a respected lot, when they were truly the principal assistants of school heads, when they were consulted, and stood in and acted in the absence of their bosses. Not anymore. At least not in Mwisho wa Lami Primary School, where I have been the deputy for quite some time, and should be the HM because we all know that the HM we have is just a HM in name.
As you are aware, Bensouda has been coming to school regularly of late, and she’s been managing everything, rendering me irrelevant.
I was happy initially but got worried that she was taking over my responsibilities and rendering me jobless, but a little voice told me not to worry for my boss’s terrible laziness, acute procrastination and hatred for real work is legendary.
I did not see her doing what she had started for over a week.
However, she surprised me by doing the work diligently for more than a week — coming to school early, supervising menial work, going to class during her assigned lessons, and leaving late after attending evening preps. Even more shocking, Bensouda did something interesting — she visited some of the students in their homes ostensibly to understand the challenges they were having.
Enemies of development
Enemies of development will say that I too should visit students in their homes. No! I know every corner, every parent. I do not need to visit any home to know the challenges the children are facing.
Bensouda would also keep complaining about me. She would claim that I was not tough enough when handling students and that I had allowed teachers do what they wanted.
She would also complain about my dressing. Just imagine someone complaining about my dressing! Am I not the best dressed teacher this side of the Sahara?
To avoid all these issues, I started avoiding her. I would stay in the staffroom when she was in class and vice versa. We did not meet for days despite both of us being at school. We even stopped communicating.
I was not worried since Kuya, who would otherwise have fanned the flames of discord between Bensouda and I, was away.
But from early last week, I noticed that Bensouda was spending more time with Alex. They would both arrive at school early to supervise menial work; inspect classes, and thereafter spend time at her office. This did not worry me. Alex just has three years with TSC; he is a child in the teaching profession and thus did not pose any threat to me. At least not at school.
The only thing that worried me was the threat he posed to me domestically, but this was neutralised by the fact that Fiolina was in Kakamega and out of reach (physically, economically and socially) to Alex.
Come Wednesday last week and I arrived at school just on time. I had stopped arriving early or late to avoid conflict with Bensouda. For the first time in over two weeks, Bensouda was not at school. But Alex, who was not even on duty, was supervising menial work. He then walked from class to class to ensure that the classrooms were clean, just like Bensouda had always done.
Being a Wednesday, Bensouda had set this tradition of holding a staff meeting every Wednesday.
“Monday is too early to hold a staff meeting and Friday is late,” she had told me when I suggested either day. “We need to hold it when we expect all teachers to be present.”
As the deputy, I looked forward to chairing the staff meeting. At exactly 8.16am, Bensouda sent a message to the Staff WhatsApp group. “Good morning, dear colleagues, I will be away today for an agent TSC meeting. Alex will be in charge till I am bark, responsible for everything including the staff meetings. Please award him the support and respect. Jeers and see you sun!”
Once again, I was being snubbed. I went to class and deliberately spent more time there. I found Alex having started the meeting. “I know some of you are experienced teachers, but we should also respect the young ones when left with a responsibility,” he said without looking up. “The only thing you have that we do not have are more years, something we will also get, all we need is time.”
To avoid an altercation with him, which I suspected he was eagerly looking for, I kept quiet throughout the meeting, and when prodded, I agreed with everything he suggested. As I knew he was not the one speaking –— he was Bensouda’s mouthpiece.
As expected, Bensouda did not come to school for the rest of the week and I do not expect her to come in the coming weeks. Dear Bensouda, it is okay to undermine me, but please give me someone solid to fight with, not a baby. Give me a horse, not a donkey!