Tag Archives: school

It was 10 years ago

Today is June 20, 2017. What happened on this day 10 years ago, is lost to me. I don’t know OK? I have to think to remember what underwear I put on this morning. Generally speaking, in June 2007 I was in my last year of high school. I had probably just wrapped up my Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate examinations and was preparing for graduation.  (Coincidentally, 10 years later my high school, the St. Hilda’s Diocesan High School, is finally extending to have a sixth form.)

I remember a few things that were concerning me the most at that time.


Oh my God! I failed my Caribbean History examination and will have to resit it.


I DON’T fail! I just don’t. Like anyone else out there I don’t like the feeling of failing or losing. This was the first time (only twice so far) that I felt that I had not only let myself down but others as well and caused embarrassment and a blow to my reputation. After the exam I went home, got into bed and cried all night (again, this only happened one more time after this).

Leading up to the examination I was online (yahoo messenger…yes. It was hot) chatting with a classmate of mine about unrelated topics. Once at school, the chatting was taken offline and face-to-face. I did not revise or read over the way I normally would have in preparation. I felt unprepared.

When the results came out, I passed Caribbean History with a distinction (the highest score/ grade category). What was I stressing about? I don’t know. And on top of that, I am not an historian today.


I am not graduating or taking any graduation pictures until my broken tooth is fixed.


That was the demand I made to my parents. This must be the first time I am talking about my tooth. I usually don’t even acknowledge it because I’ve been insecure about it for the longest while. I should just accept it because I am stuck with it.

In primary school, I broke my front tooth and got it fixed. A few years later while still in primary school I broke the tooth again AND the tooth beside it. When I went to get it fixed, the pain was too much to bear so I couldn’t go through with the procedure. I went through high school with a broken tooth and the nerve started to decay after a few years.

The long and short of the story is that it could no longer be fixed and had to be replaced. Yes, I have a fake tooth in my mouth. I was so uncomfortable smiling and it affected the way I moved my lips when speaking. That was the most annoying bit. The fact that my speech sounded a little different (only for a short while) was nowhere close to how annoying it was that my lips instinctively tried to cover the tooth when I spoke. I am still a little self-conscious of it especially for pictures but I have learned how to just work with it (it’s all in the angles). This should not have been such a big deal because I found out that it is a lot more common than I thought. Young and old have a tooth like mine and we are all living just fine.


I can’t wait to get out of this place!


Not the school (I loved school). I just wanted to get out of the community and town I lived in. It wasn’t a bad place but it wasn’t my fit. I didn’t feel comfortable and it got worse as time went by.  I felt as though I would be stifled there and Kingston would be a better fit for me.

As it turns out, Kingston is a better fit. The friends I am closest with I have either met here or reconnected with here in Kingston. My nomadic spirit is free to move around and the constant bustle is in keeping with my need to always be doing something. BUT low and behold, why must life be so expensive here? Sweet heavens! I don’t even want to think of the alternative. I am happy where I am and that’s that.


If I could go back in time I would have told my younger self to stop stressing. It is all going to work out. Focus on your own lane and do not be distracted by the pace of others. You possess a power in you that you cannot imagine right now but you will see it at work.

That would have been comforting to hear 10 years ago.

What were you worried about 10 years ago that no long matters today?


I think I turned out alright.

My mother is a teacher. She teaches Grade 3; that’s age 8 students for the most part.

As it is nearing the end of the school year, tests are administered and it is a practise (or regulation) that certain papers (those sent from the Ministry of Education) be marked by teachers from another school in the area.

My mom brought home her batch of papers to go over and see if the marks given were accurate or deserved or should be queried. I need to state here about my mother that she rarely does anything in silence. The composition/creative writing papers were first. The students had a series of pictures to write a story based off. She began to read  aloud and the story by one boy made me fall to the floor in laughter.

The pictures show 3 boys playing what would seem to be a game of cricket when they notice a bird and its nest in the tree above their heads. One boy climbs the tree while the others are saying something. The limb that the boy reaches to breaks and he falls from the tree. The remaining two boys gather and one holds his arm. The last picture shows the boy with his arm in a sling and a woman with her arms around him.

Most of the students stuck to the theme of playing a game, climbing the tree, falling and getting injured BUT this student that mom calls ‘Garvey’ spiced his story with his choice of words. The story was just too real!

Mom reads the story with his standard sentence structures and then I hear her say “He hold on to a rattin limb” I started to chuckle. She continues and I hear “Jesus! Boy, hold on to the next limb!” and “Tim put his hand on his head“. But what floored me was when the hand was discovered broken and one of the other boys said “Oh shit! We inna trouble now“.

I almost cried! Yes, he did write ‘oh shit’ granted his spelling was off. That little 8 yr old boy understood the need to preserve the authenticity of dialogue in prose. He wrote the story as he knew it would go if he and his peers were the actual characters and “Jesus!” and “Oh shit!” are real life exclamations they would use. Considering that every child is given a warning from parents when they play, his statement about being in trouble makes sense.

The story ended with “‘I am not going to play cricket again.’ said the boy. ‘Don’t worry son, you’ll play cricket again’ said his mother“.

I don’t know what the teacher who marked that story thought but my mother and I loved the honesty, use of exclamation and exclamation mark and the fact that he placed himself into the story to get essence out of the story.

No teacher tells their students that “Oh shit” is acceptable in their stories  and no one really expects it from an 8 year old. All the other stories sounded generic like text book stories but little Garvey took his from ‘textbook’ to ‘my community’.

Even though he will no longer be in my mother’s class come next school year, I hope his next teacher fosters and develops that creative writing skill he has.