Lazy teachers want Branton fired as head boy
Following the mess that was experienced in the school on opening day, I made a decision that this is the term when I will change how the school is managed. If you remember, on that day, only three teachers reported – Lena, Sella and Alex – and all of them left school early with no permission.
You will also remember that this upset me so much that I decided to deal with it after my Nairobi trip. Even as I travelled, I did not talk to anyone back at school – including Mrs Atika, whom I had left in charge. I wanted to ensure that I was sufficiently angry so that I could act decisively.
When I returned, I found the school still in a mess. But I did not take any action because I was mourning. Two great men, Dr Yusuf K Dawood and Prof George Magoha, had passed on. So, it was important for me to be nice to my colleagues in honour of the two men.
But starting last week, I decided that kama ni mbaya ni mbaya. On Wednesday I arrived at school just before the assembly.
In my speech, I thanked the students for coming back in the new year and said we were ready to support them: “I must, however, announce that it will not be business as usual this 2023. Everyone must pull up their socks, tighten their belts as things will be tough and only the tough will get going.” After the assembly, I walked around inspecting the school then called for a staff meeting. Everyone was present except Kuya and Saphire.
“Anyone knows where the other teachers are?” I asked as I sat down, not mentioning their names.
“Kuya will be late,” said Sella. “I do not know the whereabouts of Sapphire, and I do not think I am the right person to answer that”
I asked her who was the right person to be asked.
“Mrs Atika, who has been the acting deputy, should answer that. Plus, the two come from this village. Surely, she must know where Saphire is.”
“Sorry, Sella. I, too, haven’t seen Saphire for long, I have no idea of his whereabouts,” said Mrs Atika.
“Even a thief has 40 days,” I said. “This is definitely his last term as a teacher. He has to choose whether he wants to work or drink every day.”
I continued with the meeting.
“Although there is some improvement compared to opening day, I still find the school dirty despite all of you being around,” I said as I asked Mrs Atika why the school was not in a good shape for over two weeks after opening. “Thank you, Mr Headmaster, for that,” she started. “Indeed, the school is not where it should be, but it is not where you left it. Let us learn to appreciate progress, however little. As the deputy, I have done my work well. But as you know I cannot be everywhere.”
She went on: “I have many other responsibilities. But for the cleanliness of the school, Sella, who is on duty this week, can shed more light.”
From the way her face looked, I did not need a calculator to know that Sella was spoiling for a fight. In fact, she had been on the phone throughout and only looked up when her name was mentioned.
“Thank you, madam acting deputy for delegating your responsibility and refusing to answer a question that is squarely in your docket,” Sella said.
She went on: “That said, I must say that as the teacher on duty, I arrived in school on time and assigned students different roles and responsibilities.”
“Then what happened?” Asked Mrs Atika. “Did you supervise them?”
“Can you let me explain what happened?” Posed Sella. “Anyway, as I was saying, I planned everything but the results were not as expected because of a problem we have in this school; a very big problem that we created ourselves. I am not even sure if it is something we are ready to discuss.”
“We are an open society. This 2023, I don’t want anyone to hold back anything,” I encouraged her.
“You see, in the past we would give out duties and expect the prefects to follow through. But this year we have a head boy who is clueless of what his expectations are,” she said.
“You are right, Sella,” joined Lena. “Making an unqualified Branton head boy of this school is the worst decision we ever made. When I was on duty last week, I really suffered as the head boy was literally non-existent.”
“And what is it that the head boy was expected to do that he did not do?” I asked.
“Dre, you have been a teacher for long and you know what I am saying,” said Lena. “Once I assign roles, I expect the prefects to supervise the work because as a teacher I can’t be everywhere.”
“We really need to change the head boy of this school if we want to succeed,” said Alex. “Last week, the head boy’s class was the noisiest and when I asked the perfect to give me the names of the noise makers, Branton’s name was first on the list.” Kuya arrived as Alex was speaking.
“Thanks for adding your voice, Lena and Alex,” said Sella. “I was being polite, but I must say that even today, Branton arrived late. How do you punish late comers when the head boy is a serial late comer?” “I said it from the onset that Brandon should never be anywhere near any leadership positions,” said Kuya. “You all ignored me.”
“Kuya, please remove the log in your eye before you talk about the speck in others’ eyes,” I said. “You have just arrived, over four hours late, and want to talk about the head boy who was late by a few minutes?”
“You haven’t even tried to find out why I arrived late, have you?” He asked me. “Branton’s problems go beyond lateness. He was the wrong person and is unqualified to lead anyone towards anywhere.”
I listened to more teachers accuse Branton of all manner of things, with Lena even accusing him of having a hand in last year’s not-so-good KCPE performance.
“Stop it!” I banged the table when I had had enough. “Let us stop using Branton as a scapegoat. If you want me out of this school, stop going around corners, and talk to me directly, face me mundu khumundu.”
I went on: “We all collectively made Branton the head boy and we must all support him to be effective in his work. That is what I expect from everyone!”
And with that I dismissed the staff meeting.