Tales from the ‘madam’ days: Part 1 I have met some of my pupils from my temporary teaching days, they really turned out well and I take credit that at some point I was able to contribute to what they are now.

Fadzayi Maposah-Correspondent

After A Level results were out, while I waited to go to college, my father encouraged me to get a job. 

Back then after Ordinary Level or A Level one could go for temporary teaching! 

These words really amaze me or shock me now when I think back.

There really was nothing temporary about teaching.

The only difference was that we were not trained and that it was a stop gap measure as the country at that time did not have adequate qualified teachers. 

I have met some of my pupils from my temporary teaching days, they really turned out well and I take credit that at some point I was able to contribute to what they are now.

The first time I did the temporary teaching was at St Annes Goto in Hwedza. 

I was just there for a term but I have many happy memories from the short stint. 

I have been to St Annes` Goto many times and always as I go through the gate, the memories flood me. 

I shared the three bedroomed house with two other female teachers. 

One was Tafadzwa, who I later I realised had also been to the same high school as me.

She then was a student teacher on teaching practice from Belvedere Teachers College.

Rudo, the other housemate recently graduated from the University of Zimbabwe. She was the eldest child and that became our initial connection. 

On some occasions when both Rudo and I wanted to take the lead in issues that ranged from chores to meals, Tafadzwa would always laugh and claim that the first-born syndrome was evident. 

We each had a bedroom. 

We shared the kitchen, lounge and the bathroom. The ‘landlord’ was Rudo.

She was the only one who was assured to stay the longest. 

The joys we had in that house was great. 

In the mornings, we would be in the kitchen, taking turns to heat our water, having porridge and then rushing to school. Rudo and Tafadzwa also had hostel and dining room duties and when either of them did, I always used to tag along.

Even if they were supervising evening study, they knew that I would be there. 

They were wonderful big sisters. Being an eldest child, I had been big sister for too long and having two young women be my big sisters was wonderful. 

Being the youngest, I was never allowed to lock the doors. Tafadzwa and Rudo thought that was too much of a responsibility for me. 

I remember the first teachers’ pay day when I was at St Annes. I had no salary. 

For those who can remember, the salaries for temporary teachers did not come “easily”.

These would come maybe after a term. Rudo went and bought a nice double bed.

When it was delivered, we had the men who brought it put it in the lounge, we celebrated, did all kinds of dance in the empty lounge where at the end of the day we would sit on the floor in the different corners, marking exercise books, lesson planning, evaluating lessons or having our meals.

We danced to our own singing; we did not have a radio. After dancing each one of us took turns just to sleep on the bed and get a feel of it, Rudo, Tafadzwa and I. 

After that we helped one another take the bed to her room. 

What I learnt from Rudo and Tafadzwa was that one could do things for themselves.

They started with just the basics, improvising. 

The day I had arrived with my father, they had told him that he was spoiling me since I should have come alone as they had done.

 When they saw my father and my brother get a small bed out of the truck, they said the spoiling was just too much! My father had challenged them to help me grow up and grow up well as I still had to go to college. 

Next pay day was another celebration.

Tafadzwa’s bed! The ritual was the same. The difference was on lying on the bed, Tafadzwa, then Rudo and then finally me! Then we helped each other carry the bed to Tafadzwa’s room put it up in the place she wanted and we would continue with our usual routine. 

I was with Rudo and Tafadzwa at a time that I was confused by how my hormones behaved. 

My heart raced when I was allocated a desk in the staff room next to a young, male, single teacher who too was waiting to go to college.

The one who had allocated the place, thought it was ideal because we were peers and occasionally we could talk without having to shout across the room.

The challenge is that as the individual was walking away, she had hinted that there were already some teachers who were married. 

After the bit of embarrassment, the two of us had assured each other that marriage was not the goal of our being staff room desk neighbours. 

My mind at times was in the clouds but Rudo and Tafadzwa ensured that I remained grounded.

 Knowing my background of having been in girls’ schools they would ‘hunt’ me all the time.  They were my mobile CCTVs! 

Hormones needed control, otherwise they were like veld fires, they would burn many things down. It was different from the talk of my mother and aunts` “hameno hako ukatamba nevakomana!” meaning play around with boys at your own risk.

Wednesday May 15 was International Day of Families. Everyone needs a family. 

Tafadzwa and Rudo because of what they input in my life, are members of my family as far as I am concerned. 

In life we are afforded the opportunity to adopt as many family members as we would want. 

Imagine what it would be like if we just had mothers and aunts only and no sisters? Or fathers and uncles only and no brothers? 

In May which is also Mental Health Awareness month, be sure to support your family to ensure that their mental health is well and balanced. 

To be continued . . .

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