The refectory was dark. It was the shortest cut to the classroom block so he had to take it.
He felt along the wall for the light switch.
And as the light scattered the cloud of darkness, he saw someone sleeping - head on the table he guessed.
It was prep time. No one should be hear now.
He got closer only to hear his sniffles and what passed off like a sob or was he crying?
He gently raised his head up. It was John the troublesome student. Of course who else should it be? He thought.
However John's tear stained face presented a different case scenario which compelled him to explore the situation.
After minutes of petting and consoling, John's power of speech came back to life. His story roused my colleague's teacher antenna.
They were caught talking during lights out the previous day. The following day, they were marshaled out before the Academic dean.
It was there that his nightmare kicked off. He and his fellow culprits received the severest tongue lashing of their lives.
He kept a straight face, swallowing the skin pealing barbs bravely till the Dean singled him out.
What was his fault?
He was the only person who wasn't crying or rather, according to the Dean, showing signs of remorse. And he was vehemently rebuked for his strong hearted nature - a heart that is incapable of feeling an aorta of contrition for what he did.
This wasn't the first time John has been caught in the eye of the storm. He has over time decided to wear his poker face when they hurl their barbs at him.
He would rather go to a quiet corner and weep his eyes out later. Just like this fateful night my colleague caught up with him.
Two to three days of continuous discussion got John talking about his past.
So was he actually a headstrong, hardhearted, incapable of showing remorse fellow?
He was a product of a broken home. His mother took his sisters with her leaving him with his dad. No one has heard from them since.
His dad actually dumped him in the school to keep him far away from his James Bond life style. Of course he had figured this out too.
As he narrated this to me, I couldn't help but ask myself how much I really know about my students?
Apart from the troubling facade, the innocent face, the aggressive tendencies, what else do I know about them?
What do I know about their family background, how stable the home front is, are the parents staying together, divorced, dead etc?
This could be a difficult prospect which can make our already cluttered desk look insignificant. But if we really want to meet the unique needs of our students, this is a sacrifice we must make.
Papa Mmeso the students' teacher.