“A for apple, B for ball, C for cat….” The children in Femi’s nursery 2 class chanted in excitement. She used her rod to point at the objects while the children recited. Her class wasn’t very big, she had only 9 children in her class, 3 girls and 6 boys. The boys were mostly chanting except Christopher, who was kneeling in the corner for pulling on Imelda’s hair.
Imelda was a pretty, quiet 4 year old with soulful eyes and Christopher had taken to bullying her in the past few weeks. Personally, she thought he had a crush on her and like most boys his age, he was acting out. Whatever his reasons though, she couldn’t let it continue especially when Imelda’s eyes were still red and tears threatened to spill out at any minute.
Of the girls, Lanke was the only one reciting as Imelda was still struggling to recover. Lanke was her best student, dark skinned and brilliant, Lanke excelled at everything and for a five year old, she was extremely self-assured and in total control, sometimes Femi felt Lanke was a very old woman in a very young body.
The last girl, Amanda was a different kettle of fish. She had joined her class at the beginning of the previous term and so far she hadn’t done well or interacted properly with the rest of the class. Femi had tried talking to her and realised Amanda responded well when she spoke to her but retreated into her shell when she had to do anything to do with her classmates or others.
This wouldn’t have bothered Femi as much if she was doing well in her school work, but she wasn’t and Femi was at a loss as to what to do about her. She had already decided however that she would look at Amanda’s result this term and then write a letter to the school’s Proprietress if her results showed she hadn’t made any headway.
Poor darling, she thought to herself. She loved children a lot, in fact, she had always thought that at 25, she would be married with at least 2 children of her own. She was 27 now and still no child or marriage for that matter.
When she had moved to her Uncle’s house, she had made pocket money by babysitting for several children in the neighbourhood. She remembered the joy with which the children had run to her calling her Aunty Femi. She figured early she wanted to work with children but she had assumed she would be a paediatrician or child psychologist. She hadn’t had the brains for either and now, she was doing something equally fulfilling, she was teaching and moulding children.
By break time, Imelda had settled and was eating quietly, Christopher had apologised and was sitting down looking contrite, and the other boys were laughing and stuffing their mouths with their lunch of yam and pepper sauce. Lanke was looking at them with a disdain only a child can perfect and Amanda was at the back of the class, staring at the others, her food untouched.
Femi left her table and went to kneel beside Amanda,
Femi: “Baby, why aren’t you eating?”
Amanda: “Nothing,” Amanda sighed
Femi: “Don’t you like the food?” She asked, knowing that wasn’t the answer, Amanda hardly ate the School provided lunch even though the food was well cooked.
Amanda shook her head.
Femi: “Should I feed you?” Amanda shook her head again. Nonetheless, Femi took up the fork and waved a piece of yam in front of Amanda’s tiny mouth. The little girl took that and ate some more before deciding she didn’t want more.
By the time Femi returned to her sit, she decided she had at last come to a decision about Amanda. She was determined to see it through to the end. For whatever reason, Amanda wasn’t responding well to the general classes, as shown by her test results so far. She felt sure that Amanda will respond better to one on one classes.
She made up her mind to write to the Proprietress now instead of waiting till the end of term to see what they could do for Amanda.
Mrs Ingalam was a very strict woman, a devout Christian and a lover of God, she suffered no fools and hated having incompetent imbeciles around her. That was why her school, Reign Academy was such an overwhelming success. She got the best money could buy and any child that passed through her school was sure to receive the best.
When employing her teachers, she didn’t just get those who had great results and teaching skills, she also wanted people who were loving, natural nurturers. Of course, with the amount parents paid to have their children in her school, she wanted to assure them of top value and quality education.
Of her Ninety-eight members of staff, she had 2 child counsellors and 2 psychologists and she paid them good money per child their services were required.
When she received Miss Femi Olaosebikan’s letter about Amanda Arowolo, she didn’t waste time didling. Femi, in her observation was a natural teacher, a gifted young lady who had started with her years ago as a part time staff. After realising the girl’s gift with children, she had made her a full member of staff and had not regretted it till date as the girl had proved herself over and over again.
The news about Amanda wasn’t a huge surprise, she had sometimes observed the girl in class through the secret cameras in her office and she had seen her, often alone on the playground. Amanda was the granddaughter of the Minister for health and her father was the MD of renowned Saint Havers Hospital so she had to thread with caution.
She had asked her psychologists to check Amanda out and they both decided that while Amanda had no learning disabilities, she seemed to have problems keeping up in such a boisterous environment and felt a little left out. They offered that Amanda receive home lessons for a while so they could see if her performance would improve.
Which was why Mrs Ingalam was sitting in her office waiting for Dr. Fiyin Arowolo to keep their 2 ‘o’ clock appointment. When she heard the phone ring, she picked it up and listened as her secretary made her know that Dr Arowolo was around.
“Let him in” she said and barely 40 seconds later, he was in her office, his handsome face creased in worries. “Dr. Arowolo, it’s a pleasure to see you again..” she said as she shook his hands. “Thank you for coming, please have your seat” She gestured towards the chairs in front of her table.
Fiyin: “Is there a problem ma’am?” He asked as he sat down.
Mrs Ingalam: “No sir, none at all!” She was quick to assure him, “would you like to have anything?”
Fiyin: “No, I’m fine, thank you ma, if there isn’t a problem, why have you invited me?”
Mrs Ingalam: “Oh, it was nothing, I wanted to talk to you about your daughter, Amanda.”
Fiyin: “I figured as much, what is the problem?”
Mrs Ingalam: “Sir there isn’t really a problem, it’s just Amanda hasn’t been keeping up in her class. She cleared her throat, what I mean to say is she isn’t doing so well.”
Fiyin sighed, “What do I do? She had the same problem at her former school and my mother recommended I bring her here that you would be able to handle it. Isn’t she doing better?”
Mrs Ingalam: “Sir, its not beyond us to handle Amanda’s case but as you may be aware as a parent, what works for one child might not work for the other. At Reign Academy, we are committed to taking care of each child in accordance to their special needs and with procedures that will work for them individually.”
Fiyin felt a weight on his chest, it seemed he had tried all he could to help Amanda do better at school but this was the 3rd school and it didn’t seem to have worked. Maybe he would take her out of school for a while and whenever she was ready, she could start again.
Mrs Ingalam: “We have had Amanda assessed by our excellent team of child psychologists and we agreed that the problem is not so much Amanda’s inability to learn but the environment.”
Fiyin: “Maybe, youre right, she plays at home when she’s alone or with family but freezes up around strangers.”
Mrs Ingalam: “Exactly!” Mrs Ingalam said with excitement. “And we decided that the solution will be for Amanda to be home schooled for a while……”
Fiyin: “Home schooled?! How?!”
Mrs Ingalam: “Yes. The teacher will come home and take her for her lessons. Depending on how she performs, we can bring her back in a next session.”
Fiyin: “But the teacher will still be a stranger to her?” He asked, unsure.
Mrs Ingalam: “No, we would pick a teacher she already gets along with. Her present class teacher, Miss Femi Olaosebikan.”
Fiyin sighed, “And you think it will work?”
Mrs Ingalam: “We will give it a good trial, Miss Olaosebikan is a committed teacher, very kind and gifted, which is what Amanda needs. She was the one who first told me Amanda will benefit from one on one classes and I trust her explicitly.”
Fiyin: “Alright, let’s do it. I hope it works out.” Fiyin sounded hopeful, he was willing to try out anything that would help Amanda out.
Mrs Ingalam: “Very well sir,” she said as she stood up. “I will decide on a schedule with Miss Olaosebikan and get back to you.”
He also stood up and they shook hands “Thank you ma’am, you’ve been a big help. I’ll talk to you as soon as possible.” He said as he left her office.
Question: Hmm.. Can someone please make a good guess about this interesting story?
Stay tuned to Episode 4 – You don’t wanna miss it!
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