I have never quite understood why rich kids often talk back to teachers. I mean, for us who grew up in the hood - a teacher’s wish was your command! You asked no questions, offered no comments - you just got your lazy behind up and do whatever the heck he/she asked you to. That is, of course, if you knew what’s good for you.
Ja, we had teachers that would ask us to do funny things as punishment - like standing on one leg with your arms raised over your head, or holding the blackboard’s (yes, blackboard) duster out in front of you for the entire period without letting it fall to the ground. But we complied.
Sometimes teachers would punish you for answering a ‘b’ question before she has the opportunity to ask it. For instance, if she asks: “Class, Is the earth really round?” You will be punished for answering “No, it is actually flat at the poles giving it an oblate spheroid shape”.
According to the teacher, you were only supposed to answer with “No”. How dare you steal the limelight from the teacher who wanted to be the one to say the word ‘oblate spheroid?’
But Brian, our science genius who sat in the first row of the most brilliant learners, was one brave kid who never gave in to teacher’s commands unless he was satisfied with it. If you must know, I was seated in the middle row - the row just next to that of Brian.
It’s a long story, but I gathered that the teacher could not decide if I was brilliantly clever or brilliantly stupid! Well, I too couldn’t make out if she was bitter at life or just at herself!
Brian was the kind of kid that would stand on top of his chair (that in primary school standards is equal to hurling a shoe at an American president), and proudly explain to Ms. Shipolopolo why her formula on the mathematical equation was wrong. We would shiver at his bravely, and some would smile in adoration, while others would hide under their desk out of fear of what could happen next.
But Ms. Shipolopolo never laid a finger on Brian. She never even got angry with him. In fact, she would smile and say: “Thank you Brian, that’s very observant of you...”. Turning to the rest of us she would go, “Now, as for all of you ignorant bunch...”.
It was only after I became older, and hopefully much wiser, that I realised the source of Brian’s bravery - he was from a rich household! Ja, he was from the kind of household where parents encouraged their kids to use their imagination and conquer the world.
Ever saw a kid from the hood with an imaginary friend? Now you know why. But be as it may, our kids in the hood will never poke a sleeping lion to find out if it’s alive - we will send Brian to do it!