“Analo, Analo, vuka!”
Analo’s mother, Nomalizo, pulled the blanket off Analo’s head and shook her awake.
It was a frosty Monday morning and Analo was buried under her blanket. She had woken up with the alarm clock at six but had fallen back to sleep. She didn’t have the courage to face the day. Today was the day they would get their marks back for their chemistry tests and she feared the worst. They were doing chemical reactions in Natural Science and she was struggling to understand the concepts.
“Ewe Mama, ndizovuka,” Analo groaned. She peered out from under the bedding then quickly pulled it back over her face.
“Nini? The water will get cold in the bathtub. You know there is not enough electricity to boil it again,” Nomalizo complained, as she pulled the blanket off Analo, forcing her to get up.
Analo looked at the zinc bathtub that her mother had put near her bed. Next to it there was a plastic jug half filled with tap water. She washed quickly, and, shivering, put her school uniform on.
“Have a good day at school my child,” Analo’s mother said to her after breakfast, when she gave her money for taxi fare and lunch. There was no way today was going to be a good day, Analo thought.
She got to school as the bell rang and greeted her classmates quietly as she squeezed between their desks and chairs to take her seat, which was near the window. Lilitha, her desk mate, made room for her.
“Hi Lili, u-early today girl,” Analo said, clapping her hands softly. Lilitha had a reputation for being late for class.
“Hey, Analo. I had to take my younger brother to crèche today. My mother wasn’t feeling well. And today we are getting our test scripts back,” Lilitha said.
“Suyithetha lo nto sana. I know I failed. There’s a lot of spaces I left blank.” Analo was nervous about her marks.
“I’m worried I failed too. I tried to answer as many questions as I could, even though I wasn’t sure of the answers,” Lilitha said.
“This chemistry module is so hard for me to understand. Mrs Kholi doesn’t explain it; she just reads from our textbooks. I can do that on my own but it doesn’t mean I understand it and I need to do well because I’ve got to do Physical Sciences for Matric,” Analo said, looking stressed.
Mrs Kholi walked in and the class fell silent. She dropped the test scripts she was carrying onto her desk. She didn’t look happy, and it filled Analo with dread.
“Good morning class.” She scanned the classroom. “I have brought your marked tests as I promised last week. I have arranged them from lowest to highest. And I am not impressed with the results.”
“Yho! Analo. Did you hear she said from lowest to highest?” Lilitha whispered to Analo.
“Ewe. Which means everyone will know who has passed and who has failed,” Analo whispered back nervously.
“Lilitha and Analo! Do you want to come in front and tell the class what I was going to say?” Mrs Kholi scolded them.
“No, Miss.” They looked down.
“Then why are you making a noise in my class?”
“If I hear any of you talking I am going to send you to detention. If you talk it means you are not taking your schooling seriously. No wonder so many of you are failing. Now, let’s start with these scripts.”
Tell us what you think: Is it fair to arrange the scripts from lowest to highest like this? Is it good for motivating students?