I could hear someone call my name. Whoever it was, was weeping profusely.
"Who's calling my name?” I asked.
"It is Lucy" one of my colleagues replied. "She is saying something about her continuous assessment test..."
I tuned off. Couldn't remember Lucy and I crossing path during the test period. I supervised quiet a number of classes. So I wasn’t bound by any moral gumption to remember just one name.
Couple of minutes later. I heard my name again. The voice was still weeping – that kind of heart breaking sob that brings tear drop to the threshold of one’s eye. The temptation to take a look at her was irresistible at this juncture.
It was Lucy. And on seeing her, I remembered. How could I forget the slim little JSS 1 girl? She hastily submitted her answer booklet during the just concluded assessment test. Couple of minutes later, she asked for her booklet - they was a little error she needed to correct.
Of course I wasted no time spelling it out for her in black and white that she won’t be having it. She wept and cried, I was touched but my hands were tied and weighed down with heavy shackles.
Back to the present. She has seen her score; shot of ten by 5 marks. Bucket load of tears had rolled down her cheek while she was trying to explain to her subject teacher what took place. A cursory glance at her left me with the impression that she has been drawing blank. No one will touch her case.
I couldn't tear my eyes away from her. The pressure on students for good grades could outweigh a well fed elephant on a scale.
"Do you have a senior sister in this school?" I asked. I wanted to know who was feeding her what.
"Yes. She's in SS2". She was still wracked with sobs. My heart went out to her. She has been duly briefed about the failing and passing rates. And in my school, students can move mountain to get a mark.
"You only lost 5 marks in a hundred. You still have 95 to go for." Guess she will be shocked hearing me say this to her, I thought.
"What was your score in the first CA?" I asked. "I got 10" was the reply.
"That means you have 15/20 right?" She nodded in affirmation.
"And what did you score in your project?" I ventured further. Ten was the reply.
"That makes it 25/30". She nodded. I had a feeling she never knew where I was heading at.
"So by the time we add up class attendance, assignments and the likes you may get another 10 too which brings everything to 35/40". She agreed. The sob had reduced but her eyes were still red and a thin line of tears still hugged her eye lids.
"And if you work hard in your exams you may end up scoring 55/60. Add 35 to it, you will come up with 90/100". My words sunk into her ear like water sprinkled on a garden after a sunny day.
"So what you should be asking for is how to notch up your grade. You can end up coming first or second in Social Studies even with 5 marks already down the drain".
I rumbled on. The tears were all gone by this time. "With 95/100 on your report card, what's the need for the tears now? You should look for steps to follow to ensure you get the desired score. And if you want that I can help you with it".
To cut the story short, I ended up painting a bigger picture for her. Something to keep her brain churning positively and set fire to her 'wounded' heart.
To all teachers and parents out there reading this, never seize the opportunity to paint the bigger picture for your child. Insert them in the thick of it. Make them feel it, breathe it and if possible touch it.
When they are down and bruised, when the challenges of life knocks at their door, this is the best medicine that can get them on their feet fast.