Tween Talk with Eugenia Tachie-Menson

Kids showing hands during a lesson at an elementary school

Happy New Year!!

Yes, you’re reading right…I am wishing you a Happy New Year!! And no, it’s not January yet; let me put you out of your ‘quandary’. It’s a new academic year for many schools that run the international curriculum in Ghana, and elsewhere in the world. It’s the beginning of a new year for all students, teachers and parents of such schools, and I bet it must be exciting.

For students, it will mean new school clothes (oh-so-cool), shoes and accessories; even new classmates as some new students may have joined your school or class this year. A new teacher, whose ways and quirks need adjusting to – creating nicknames for the new teacher will be priority for some students.

Some of you tweenagers may have transitioned from a junior school level to a middle school level, inching you a level closer to that very aspired-to level of…. senior school! For you such students, you must upgrade your mindset to this new level of maturity. You’re a new person now, probably with more responsibilities and expectations of your academic performance and your general performance in duties and tasks assigned to you. Basically, you’re a year older and so are expected to have outgrown certain habits (e.g., taking bathroom breaks every hour on the hour, sheesh!)

For the teachers, they will have a whole class of new students to meet and adjust to; teachers must be on the lookout for the students who will need extra support, identify each student’s talent, and help hone it, get accustomed to new handwritings (scrawly, scribbly and downright illegible in some cases), marking and assessing students’ class and homework during and at the end of term.

And then, there’s the different types of characters they have to contend with; the one who never stops talking, the one who always forgets they had homework to submit, the one who is as quiet as a mouse during class, the one whose voice is louder than everyone else’s, the one who is always snacking during class…..sigh, let’s take a moment to empathise with all our teachers now, shall we?

For parents, they will have to buy all those newbies you need – school clothes, bags, shoes, school supplies, the works! Kerching! Then, they have to get you school lunches from the school canteen Ker-ching! Sign you up for extra and co-curricula activities in and out of school Ker-ching! Find you recommended reading novels and jotters and anything in between (errrm, birthday party gifts, anyone?) Ker-ching!, and the mother of all…the matriarch of these school related cost – fees. School fees KER….CHING! Let’s actually take a day to marvel at and celebrate our parents who make the KER-CHING sound happen every.academic.year!

Then, we have the School Administrators, who have to keep a tab on which student is in or not, find teacher substitutes for those who cannot make it to school, coordinate the school calendar and activities, ensure that all relevant fees are paid up at the right time, keep the utilities (water, lights and now, Wi-Fi) in the school running, ensure the school rules are not broken or administer the right punitive measures when they are…phew!!  Let’s take a break in solidarity with school administrators

The auxiliary staff, whom we almost do not notice until things begin to break down – the school traffic warden who ensures we cross streets safely (and also deny entry into the school premises by unauthorised persons); the cleaning staff who ensure they clean up our messes, both in the classroom and the loos (did you just go ‘ewww’ thinking of that last disgusting thing you saw in there?); the school drivers who make our school field trips possible and safely too; the snack shop lady who is always there in the nick of time (when you left your snack at home and were almost about to keel over out of hunger).

Yes, it’s definitely a brand-new year for all of us, and we are guaranteed to go through this cycle all over again, only this time – for most of you – you would have had experience from last year and so will go about it much better this year. Having said that, what is not guaranteed is what you will get in this new year – what will be some of the challenges you will face this year?  How will you tackle them? Will you survive them? I am here to tell you one thing for sure – you will go through it with the right attitude. Bring on the 2022/2023 new year!!

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