Article #30 in the YCC Kids Club Ghana Student Life Stories Project
Understanding an Adult’s Punishment
By Pamela Agbi, Age 14
This story is a story I will never ever forget in my life.
On the sixth of March, Ghana’s Independence Day, Youth Creating Change organized an excursion to a huge celebration in Aburi Botanical Gardens, two hours from Sogakope.
All the students in YCC’s Cross-Culture Class were organized to attend so that we could learn how to throw our own fundraising events for the educational exchange to the United Kingdom this August!
That day, on the sixth of March, 2010, all of us from Cross-Culture Class gathered very early at the YCC Guesthouse opposite the Global Evangelical Church, waiting for the bus. We were so excited! YCC’s Director gathered us around. He said very solemnly, “We are ready to leave, BUT… not all and sundry will go.”
“Oh no!” gasped one of my friends. The Director then took out his academic register, and began to read off for each of us which days of class we had missed, and which we had attended. Then, which homework assignments we had missed, and which we had completed. My heart turned cold.
I was the third person on the list, and the Director told me: “In eight days of Saturday class, you only came to five. Moreover, you did not do the most recent homework assignment.”
“But I did do it!” I said. “I put it on a piece of paper and pasted it into a book I borrowed from a friend, and it must have fallen out!”
But the Director was firm in his decision. “I am teaching you not to be sloppy,” he said. “It is better for you to learn this lesson now than in August as we set off to London.”
So the students who were allowed go to Aburi were chosen. Their foods were parked in the bus, and they walked to their seats. Some of my friends standing at the road with me were crying. Many of our colleagues who were chosen to go were also crying, imagining how we must feel.
But I did not cry. Rather, I felt happy, because I have two proverbs that keep me on track:
1. We learn from mistakes. For example: Somebody will fall before you rise.
2. Something must be wrong before something will be correct. In other words, somebody must die before you live.
When the bus to Aburi drove off with the lucky students, we remaining few told Sir Oliver that he should give us books to do all the homework we owed, and we should not be allowed to leave before twelve noon. We asked Sir Oliver to provide food for us to eat, and he agreed.
This is my experience that I want to share with you, because I will benefit from it for the rest of my life.
Lillie’s Note: Please leave Pamela a comment on her fascinating article! As a teacher, Pamela’s story is particularly moving to read because it shows how much students learn from — and in fact appreciate — correction… whether or not they admit it. It also demonstrates the inspirational high standards of student behavior that I witnessed my whole three months in Ghana.
The author, Lillie Marshall, is 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 3.7 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!