I wanted a change of apartment, and of environment – in order to transit to the next level. To actualise my desire, I saved from the peanuts I was salaried with. The seemingly impossible sacrifice spanned almost 365 calendar days before the savings could mature into a bulk.

I sweated profusely in my travail to secure the desired accommodation. Agreement and commission charges were the stumbling obstructions. I visited several places of taste but could not afford the pay. I could not but take to fate.

One lovely morning, I went to a landlady who had advertised some vacancy in her house.

“Good morning, ma,” I greeted, together with a friend in my company. “How are you, my dear? And how may I be of help to you?” warmly, she responded. “Thank you, ma. I am interested in the vacant apartment in your house, ma,” I said. “Oh! The house! Hope you are not a teacher because teachers are poverty-struck? They don’t usually have money to pay. In fact, the one who was just driven out of the place is a teacher, and he owed me big before his coercive vacation,” she recounted.

What would I say? How could I prove to the old woman that I would make a financially responsible tenant? I became bereaved of ideas. Defensive words could not flow out of my mouth. My oratory prowess was dead on the spot.

“I am a teacher, ma, but…” She cut in: “Never mind. Please save me the explanation. I can’t give my house out to you. O to geee! (enough is enough!). Thank you for the patronage. You may go now.” I felt embarrassed, reduced and humiliated. I nearly dug the ground to have me for a meal. What an experience to indelibly remember! I had never been soiled as such all my life.

I was a teacher in a private school then. I loved my job, but the accompanying pay was not commensurate with the passion and the energy with which it was done. The school could not do any better. I was in the know of her financial potency as part of the management team.

That is the hell teachers are faced with on this part of the planet earth. The aforementioned is just a tip. The distasteful tales are numberless. The trauma is depressing. But like I did scale through, teachers in private schools should rest assured that with passion for the calling and sincerity on the job, the sky is the starting point. Be steadfast, for after hardship comes ease.

The story continues…