Education is the key to success, the famous quote from almost every teacher for motivation, except my grade three Miss Nyide, who told real stories.

She was a parent when I lost my mom; she was a friend when I had none in my new school. Miss Nyide led the way as I was lost in grief and sadness. She was my light when I was stuck in darkness with no intentions of leaving. To this day, I am forever grateful to her.

One would say, what does a nine-year-old know about grief? Well, here’s my story.

A few months after I just watched my mom’s coffin sink down the ground, I had to quickly adapt to a new area, a new school at my grandparent’s house.

Life was hard for me at my new school. I couldn’t make new friends, couldn’t cope with school work, and I just was not mentally focused. I felt like I didn’t fit in, felt lost and alone. Worst of all, I failed my first term and, felt like the dumbest kid in class and lost all my confidence.

Back then, physical punishment was the” thing”; therefore, I would get a beating every day; the teachers didn’t understand; they just saw a lazy, dumb new kid.

Thinking about it now, I don’t blame them; I mean, I didn’t even try to do my homework.

Well, fast forward, I started becoming a rebel; I didn’t fear getting a beating anymore. I started skipping school with older kids to sit in the park nearby until I met Miss Nyide.

Everyone was dead quiet as she entered the classroom; everyone looked serious. I wondered what was wrong, and she introduced herself to me.”You must be the new kid; well, I am your class teacher, Miss Nyide. I was away on a workshop, and now I am back; you have quite a reputation,” she said smiling.

I was keen on making her stay out of my way as I did with the other teachers, but with her, it was different. She did not resort to beating me if I did something wrong. Instead, she would talk to me. She confused me because I wanted her to beat me up till she had to ask me out of her classroom, but she never did.

She would sit with me and help me with the corrections of the homework I didn’t even try to do.I would be absent and lie about not having a lunch
box, and she offered to buy lunch
for me. Therefore, I couldn’t be absent. I had no excuse anymore.

At the end of her lessons, she would tell us interesting stories, some about herself, some other days about successful learners she had taught before.

Those stories changed my mindset; they gave me back my dreams, they gave me purpose, and mostly, they gave back my love of learning.

She once told a story about a poor orphaned girl who studied hard through tough times and became a successful engineer.

That story woke me; it made me work hard again, and I started to pass exceptionally; I didn’t want to be absent anymore.

I saw myself as that girl. I also wanted to be an engineer. I also wanted to be successful and make my mom and grandparents proud of me.

Up to this day, I am grateful to Miss Nyide. If not for her understanding, patience, love and, most importantly, those stories, I would possibly have left school.