by Joseph Abiagom
I have a good command of Pidgin English, even though I am not as fluent as I was before. Nonetheless, I find it difficult to communicate in the language with my younger brother. My younger brother speaks the language with so much zest; he gives Warri locals a run for their money.
Growing up, pidgin was considered the language for “bad guys”. It was the language boys at the back of the class used to mock teachers, play cards, gamble and carry out any other notorious act I can’t remember now. So it’s weird that my brother and I communicate regularly yet casually in the language.
What led to this again? *scratches head*,
I started my secondary school education in an all-boys school. There, I experienced the most miserable years of my life. Not that it was not fun, but I realised remaining enrolled there would not do too well for me in the future. I spent three years. Three years I regret till this day. I enrolled there because of its foundation in Catholicism. The school was established 56 years ago, and built a reputation for its high standards in academic and extra-curricular activities. Coupled with these, it prided itself in its experienced and highly qualified faculty. It seemed great.
It wasn’t for me. My stay there was full of struggles, fear and disdain for teachers. In JSS2, I started skipping school to visit game centres. My parents remain oblivious till date. One open day, after all failed efforts to distract my father from coming, he came only to receive the worst insult of his life. My class teacher said, “Sir, your son is a dunce”. “Really?” my dad replied. He immediately took me out of the staff room and when I expected a great deal of spanking, to my greatest surprise, my dad whispered in my ears “You are my son, you can’t be dull. Instead he is”.
Shortly, my dad enrolled me in another school where I picked up and became prosperous. It would be ill mannered of me to reject my flaws. After all, other people succeeding did not have two heads. Looking back, I remember while in class I felt isolated, in the sense that teachers gave attention to only those that did well and those that answered questions in class. It was almost like I was a forgotten case. This might explain why some schools have very good results and also extremely bad results at the same time. So, while my mates were learning, my mind wondered to other places like the football pitch, cartoons and game centres.
The school my dad enrolled me in was far cheaper and smaller than my previous school. The environment was different. As a boy from an all-boys family, I forgot what it felt like to have girls in your class, my first day was really weird. As I stepped into the class, I could sense a number of girls staring at me. It was an entirely different experience.
Everything changed, I woke up with excitement and motivation to go to school, dressed more consciously, and was really obsessed with how I looked. In order to impress some girls, I began to answer questions. This made me to read ahead of the teacher, even sometimes I wrote down questions so that the teacher and I could engage in an argument, and the girls could see how intelligent I was. I was having the best years of my life; I had transformed myself unconsciously to a better person. I was swimming in fame, as two years into the new school, I started representing the school in academic competitions of which my previous school attended and most times I was victorious. I instantly became aware of my strength and weakness as a person. I came out with a good WAEC result and immediately entered university unlike some of my friends from my previous school I always saw fooling around.
What’s the point of all this?
We all see things differently. What motivates you is different from what motivates me. I had a friend in primary school, who performed woefully academically, but in class four, he stepped up his game and became the head of the class. He said his father promised him a bicycle, at that time; my father promised me a bicycle if I improved. I did not. I don’t think anyone is dull, rather I feel they are yet to know what works for them. It might just be a change in reading style, environment or a simple motivation. In my own case it mostly came from the girls.
This entry was submitted as part of the Nigerian Voices competition organized by YNaija.com.
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Joseph Abiagom is a 19 year old Media communication student at Pan Atlantic University. He is an artiste, writer, poet, and Entrepreneur. His interests are music, politics, and Technology.