Trouble as my new timetable takes effect

Mwalimu Andrew

Alex and Nzomo outrightly rejected the timetable, saying it was designed to punish them.

Photo credit: Nyagah | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • I had also suffered the same fate under Kuya’s hand.
  • He had given me morning and evening classes every day, forcing me to stay in school almost the whole day.

At the start of my current reign as the undisputed Deputy and the de facto HM of Mwisho wa Lami, I committed to make bold decisions that would take this school forward. If you remember, the major complaint following Kuya’s exit was the timetable.

“Kuya’s timetable is so inflexible,” complained Mrs Atika. “On Thursdays, for example, I have one class at 8am, and the next class at 3pm. What am I expected to be doing in between?

Lena had several complaints about the timetable too. According to her, despite coming from maternity leave not so long ago, she had been assigned morning classes almost every day.

“I am a single mother who needs to wake up early, feed the baby, make sure everything is in order at home before coming to school,” she said. “How does one expect me to be in school early morning almost daily?”

I had also suffered the same fate under Kuya’s hand. He had given me morning and evening classes every day, forcing me to stay in school almost the whole day.

Mrs Atika, Lena, Madam Anita, and Sella complained that Kuya had given them such an unfavourable schedule in order to favour Alex and Nzomo. As you know, Nzomo and Kuya have always had something going on between them.

As for Alex, you know he is my domestic enemy. And any enemy of yours truly is a friend of Kuya. To my surprise, the two, too, had complaints about the timetable.

New school timetable

“Some people have been saying that I was favoured and that I mostly have mid-morning classes,” said Alex. “If you check you will find it is not true. You will notice I have an evening class on Monday and a morning class on Friday.”

What Alex did not mention is that this timetable was designed to allow him to always travel to his home on Friday after his morning class, and travel back on Mondays, arriving in time for his Monday afternoon class.

Nzomo complained: “Just go and check the many double lessons I have. I must be the only teacher in Kenya with a double CRE lesson.”

Saphire, who doesn’t even come to school, also called me to say that if I ever wanted him to return, I needed to sort him out as regards the timetable.

With all this feedback, I embarked on making the school timetable. If a timetable is made well, all one usually does is to make small adjustments. But Kuya’s was designed so badly that I had to start from scratch. I placed it on the staffroom table on Sunday, and informed everyone on our WhatsApp group.

“Thank You Dre,” responded Mrs Atika. Sella, Lena and Madam Ana also responded positively, saying they were looking forward to seeing it. Alex and Nzomo, whom I had given morning and evening classes almost daily, did not respond. I scheduled a staff meeting the next day, and every Monday morning.

Favouring my friends

“Do we need a staff meeting every Monday?” Alex asked as soon as the meeting began.

I told him that meeting once a week was in fact quite infrequent. “Where my brother Pius works, they meet every day,” I said.

I had indeed learnt quite a lot of things about team management from Pius, and was keen to implement similar practices in Mwisho wa Lami. Of particular interest to me was what Pius called Agile Way of working, which I believed, if implemented well, would lead to continuous improvement at school.

“While the meetings will be held every week, they will be very short, maximum 20 minutes,” I said.

As expected, Nzomo and Alex complained about the timetable, saying it was mean to favour my friends while punishing them. “It is not illegal to be Kuya’s friend,” said Alex. “I should not be punished for that.”

“Two wrongs do not make a right,” said Nzomo. “I, too, have a young child, you can’t ask me to come to school very early.”

Lena reminded her that she also had a baby, and had been coming to school early. “It is now your time to come early like some of us have been doing.”

Rejected the timetable

“I have told you I can’t come here early Lena,” said Nzomo. “And why are you defending this timetable? Are you the one who made it? Or there is something between you and Dre?”

Bensouda arrived when everyone was shouting at each other, and asked me to explain what was happening. I explained the rationale behind the changes to the timetable. She agreed with me, saying most teachers had raised the issue of the previous wrong timetable. She then asked me to take her through the new timetable, which I did. She asked anyone who had any reasonable complaint to speak up

While Sella, Atika and Lena made some mild complaints, they said they would adjust their lives to follow it. Alex and Nzomo outrightly rejected the timetable, saying it was designed to punish them.

Bensouda asked me to respond. I explained that if we all wanted to teach when we wanted, there would be anarchy. “There has to be someone in class every morning and every evening, every day. If you all reject morning and evening classes, Monday and Friday classes, who do you expect to teach during those hours?”

I went on: “On this timetable matter, as long as I am the deputy HM, I will choose the right over the convenient, the hard over the easy, and I am doing this for the prosperity of the school.”

Bensouda ruled that we follow the timetable. If Alex and Nzomo do not like the timetable, they can follow Kuya wherever he went. I will not budge.

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