Reminiscing about the good old childhood days, 24-year old Priscilla recalls series of scenario she played out.
As a young girl, she would make Sunday afternoons her lesson time, she is the teacher with a good number of pupils in her mind.
To get a touch of reality, she would assemble her three siblings as a point of contact, conduct her school assembly with them and teach them.
She was the proprietress, the disciplinary teacher for latecomers and the assembly conductor.
After the assembly, her pupils would match into the classroom which was the same arena of her bedroom and get seated on the bed.
Priscilla would now walk out of the room and walk in dressed in her mother’s high heel shoes, some little clothes inserted between her chest and blouse- a symbol of a matured breast, and a handbag. She expects a greeting with a standing ovation from her seated pupils.
“Good morning, ma,” they wouldn’t consider the afternoon timing.
“Good morning,” serious Priscilla would say scrambling for something uncertain in her handbag-a perfect behaviour of her class teacher.
She deeply loved the sound coming from the pair of shoes on her leg; so she would do everything possible to walk as many rounds as possible before having her seat.
She would bring out a small exercise book- her daily register- and begin to call names.
“Present, ma,” her brother would answer.
“Kate.” “Kate.” “Where is Kate?” she would question the silence.
“Aunty, she is not in school.”
“Ejiro,” she would call on.
“Absent,” her pupil-siblings would chorus.
Of course, they had been told their assigned names and how she wanted it to play out.
She would look up and mark her remaining pupil present.
She begins writing on the board with her white chalk after drawing horizontal lines with her little yellow wooden ruler- a petite version of the big wooden ruler her teacher uses in class.
In-between writing, she would imagine Ejiro coming late to her class. Immediately she feels his presence in her mind, she would tilt her head behind her with her chalky hand paused on the board.
“Ejiro, why are you late to my class?” another class scene begins.
Imaginary Ejiro would become hesitant, speechless, and frightened.
“Kneel down there,” her tautology was also imitated.
“Aunty, please” Ejiro would plead.
“I said kneel down there!”
He kneels and she resumes writing after her mom who overhears her from another room interjects
“ònye kwa ka ọ na baru?” Who is she shouting at?
The house help would giggle from wherever she was in the house on hearing that.
Priscilla didn’t mind. She was a focused copycat teacher only that her kiddy height and dressing obstructed the image she assumed in the sight of the adults in the house.
When she finished writing, she would walk up to Ejiro- her unfinished project- emphasizing her well-enjoyed “koi koi” sound from her oversized heel shoes.
Ejiro was a perpetual latecomer.
“Give me your hand” she would frown, holding up a cain.
Ejiro’s hesitant gesture would follow.
“I said- I said- give- me- your- hand,” each section landed with a slight whip, inflicting mild pain on Ejiro.
“Aunty, please, it’s my mummy that said I should wait for my lunch box. I promise, I will not come late to your class again,” tearful Ejiro begins to sweat.
After a brief consideration, teacher Priscilla would show mercy.
“Go to your seat.”
“Thank you, Aunty.”
“Tell your mummy,” the halfway pupil would turn to listen “that your food should not make you late to school. She can always bring it later. In fact, give me your mum’s number.”
Relieved Ejiro recites it to her and sits finally.
The ceiling fan in Priscilla’s room begins to roll as the surrounding neighbors scream with excitement “Up Nepa!”
Priscilla’s acting pupils would join in the celebration and rush to the parlour for their favourite cartoon show
What is more? Priscilla would lead the run, closing her entire school, abruptly.
She forsakes her imaginary pupils, especially Ejiro; forgets she is a teacher and becomes a kid again.
Priscilla’s actions are common behaviour we see children play out amongst others like holding up a torch to their mouth as a microphone, imitating a phone conversation from their parents, traveling from one room to the other, imitating some mechanical handiwork.
Aside Priscilla’s behaviour being funny, the psychological power of human simulation is not a fallacy. It emphasizes how real humans’ ability to imitate is.
No matter how young or old you think you may be, you are not immune to imitating and acting on what you see and hear constantly.
As you go about your endeavors this year, do not forget to guard the gates of your eyes and ears by being deliberate about the environment you expose yourself to.
Cheers to a formidable year ahead.
♦ Favour Chiagozie Ebubechukwu is an Editorial Staff Writer and columnist with the WAP
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