We all have that one teacher, or lecturer. That one with ever frowning face or smiles that speak of doom, teeth opened revealing fangs that gladly tell you ” You had an F in my course, I hope to see you next year” the one who doesn’t care whether you understand what is being taught or not. The one who doesn’t care whether you hate him/her or not after all it is all for your future, if they don’t teach you well and maybe ruin your psychology in the process, who will?

I was unfortunate to have an encounter with one of them on Monday, all the devils and the witches came out of their coven that Monday morning with hands stretched over my head as I left a class for my supervisor’s office. A knock and you have to press your ear against the door to pick up the shuffle of papers that signifies human presence or forever wait to be asked to come in, which you will never get till Jesus comes. The witches let down their stretched hands a bit for I was fortunate enough to be asked to “come in” in a voice that is as tiny as it owner.

But the witches brought back their outstretched hands when they refused to make the dreaded lecturer leave the office, the one who makes everyone pee in their pants, the one who thinks your generation is dumb because you didn’t know Chinua Achebe is Chinua Achebe and not Chinua Adichie, the one who speaks through the teeth with dimples dancing vigorously as she lashes out insult upon insult, the one who makes you smile because you thought she was but it was only the dimples mocking you. Yes, the one.

My supervisor pushed me to the slaughter-house and asked me to go request for her writeup on so so so so. I was calm, after all I have never had an encounter with her and I am not part of the dumb generation of students, no. I have always managed to have a D in her course. I am not dumb.

ME- Well done ma, Miss sososo said
MRS LECTURER- (brows raised) Is she a Miss?
ME- Ma, Mrs sososo said
MRS LECTURER- who ever told you she is a (stretches it) MEEESEEES?
ME- (sweat covers forehead as fingers find comfort in each other, twisting and turning)
MRS LECTURER: You would graduate in few months time. Is this what you have to offer? Bad English she is either Miss Sososo Hahahaha or Miss Hahahaha not Miss sososo, okay? Yes?
ME-(voice trembling) Miss sososo hahahaha said I should collect your writeup on blah blah…
MRS LECTURER- she did? What does she need it for?
ME- I, uh she doesn’t need it. I do for my…

She cuts me off and began a verbal attack, stressing the fact that I did not make use of tactful diplomacy, “diplomacy!” She said through clenched teeth and went on and on about it. When she was satisfied with tearing me apart, shredding all my confidence into pieces allowing the witches nibble on it joyously as they scurry back to their coven, happy that their following had yielded good results. The book was thrust into my wobbling hands. And I ran out of the office, both of them pretending not to hear my thank you.

What is diplomacy? My grandpa had used the word once when I was involved in a fight with my cousin over a debt she refused to pay. I used to be an angry hot-tempered girl, I get angry at the slightest provocation and attacks anybody that is unfortunate enough to be around me. He had rebuked her first and then faced me ” try la ti learn diplomacy, learn the art of diplomacy”. My mind immediately raced to the embassy and aeroplanes flew in and out of my thoughts as I took the steps two at a time to the room upstairs.

I never checked the dictionary for it meaning but that Monday I did, DIPLOMACY the four syllabic word that has haunted me twice in my life means skill in dealing with others without causing bad feelings. At least that was what Merriam Webster said, so if diplomacy means this, does it mean you have to master how to demand for a money lent out for months in a sweet manner with no hard feelings? Does it mean you have to talk gently even when the agbero in you is begging to be set free? I still don’t understand the concept of diplomacy because if it is really what it is, who is the Mrs Lecturer to say curse like statements and expect us to be courteous towards her while being “diplomatic” too. Or does this all boil down to the fact that my knowledge of English is limited?

Don’t you think DIPLOMACY is actually insincerity hidden beneath coats of humility.

What are your thoughts? I love to hear from you and yes, I always reply.


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