|Cameron Diaz in the movie 'Bad Teacher' Photo: Courtesy
Why boys 'fall in love' with their teachers
Being a young female teacher is not the easiest of things. You not only have to put up with randy male teachers who try to make passes at you, but also naughty students high on testosterone hormones trying to hit on you.
Tales have been told of teachers who are forced to minimize their movements in class by, for instance, teaching while standing at one spot — throughout the lesson — to avoid destructing such boys. The moment such teachers turn to the black board to write something, these boys ‘undress’ them and start imagining their own things. Some are naughty and courageous enough to wink and whistle suggestively at such teachers.
After a rueful four years in college studying for a Bachelor’s degree in Education, Jacinta Mlai expected an easier and less intrepid sequel heading towards the job market. She had not envisaged a world where she would be the subject of amorous praise from her male students. The attention, as she describes it, “is creepy and very unsettling.”
Jacinta is just one among many young female teachers in the country who have been made objects of obsession by nymphomaniacal high school boys riding high on incendiary hormones. Speaking to Crazy Monday over the phone from Kakamega where she works at a public school institution, Jacinta bemoaned the precarious position she has found herself in.
“I am dealing with boys who recently broke their voices and think they are men enough to handle a mature woman. When I was posted here, I had a premonition about this. During my teaching practice in Nakuru, I met young boisterous adolescent boys like these ones. They would use suggestive words while I spoke to them, but they weren’t as lurid as the ones I am facing now.”
It’s agony, ecstasy and debauchery that she says doesn’t seem like will dissipate any time soon. Caught between her job and three blocky chests of renegade musketeers, Jacinta had no option but to involve the school principal who did nothing much than let off a hyena’s laugh.
Even though she has tried hard enough to wear the right clothes and put on a stern face, Jacinta’s duck is all but cooked as the boys have continuously confessed their undying, unwavering, unflinching but destructive love for her.
“How far has it gone up to now?” this writer asks to scour the bottom of her unfortunate situation.
After a moment of thick silence, probably as her mind flipped through a tome of episodes, she narrates: “One time, while teaching biology, one of them stood to ask a question, looked me straight in the eyes and enquired: ‘Mwalimu, will you teach as the topic on reproduction using practicals; I think it would be an efficient way to go through it as it’s a difficult one.’”
She proceeds to say that everybody — including herself — laughed. But it wasn’t all hanky-dory when one time another boy performed a cockerel’s seductive staggering dance around her: “It got me to an emotional threshold. I swore to leave teaching and get something else to do.”
Like Jacinta, Maryanne Wambua who teaches in Nairobi is sick of the glances and crassly words of ‘affirmation’ she has received from her nefarious student suitors. “It’s plainly sadistic when you think of it.
How can small boys possess the knack to tell me that my derriere looks nice. I have never been astonished this much in my life,” says the lady, who despite making known her doctor fiancé to everybody at her school, firmly remains under the microscope of prying hawk-eyed boys in her class.
According to Maryanne, the problem is much bigger in Nairobi — where there are more courageous school going boys — than in other places around the country. Though she admits to revere descriptive adulation from men, she says her heart shudders with squishy shame when her students pull one on her.
“I have had to assume that they are not on my heels,” says Maryanne. “But I can only do this for so long; there are tipping points for every person. When I catch any vision paths glued to my chest or any other part I feel should remain private, I boil with anger; it’s like he is hell bent on stripping off my clothes.”
The extent of abuse (if you may call it that) on young – and definitely salacious – female teachers go through isn’t as superficial as it may seem. Actually, many of them have had to contend with it in the hope that they’ll grow out of it with time. This is true if what Matilda Nyongesa and Reena Maftai say are anything to go by.
Though she works at a prestigious private school in Nairobi, Miss Nyongesa says she has experienced subtle, but incessant comments with sexual undertones from young males in her school.
She says: “I don’t really care about all the unsolicited attention from these boys because I know the furthest it can go is them ogling at me. They are at a sexual peak of adolescence and you have to understand that hormones, than their brains, largely control them. It’s much ado about nothing really: I would only take offence if I am touched or if their words pique beyond certain depths of human imagination.”
Meanwhile, in one of Thika’s high flying schools, Reena remains cheerful in the face of sexual advances from young men she is assigned to teach mathematics and chemistry. Her miniscule size makes her look powerless; even stolid words wouldn’t do much to shoo off the smitten boys.
However, her sculpted pear-shaped figure might be her ‘undoing’. “The boys are big; they basically look like men, but their thinking is awful. Their flirting is not hurtful to me — though I have to admit I get frightened when I think of what they may be capable of,” she expresses her fears.
Behind the cranium of an adolescent boy lies a brain still under development towards adulthood, at least according to Catherine Mbau. As a psychologist, she has spent enough time studying adolescent behaviour to peak through into their train of thoughts.
“There is no greater time adolescents find exciting as the age bracket encompassing 14 to 18 years. They are at the mercy of their raging hormones and they don’t even know it. Sex, at this time, is particularly an interesting subject that attracts their curiosity more than anything. This overzealous feeling drives them to talk and behave in a naughty way; try to impress, standout, make jokes and make fun of every situation,” Mbau projects.
Many young men can attest to the psychologist’s view. Wycliffe Siang’a, a well-accomplished marketer with a telecommunications giant in Nairobi can’t forget his days as a teenager — tormenting and pining over a young lady on teaching practice at his school. “To date, it’s a memory that will forever remain etched in mind. She was wonderfully and fearfully made — if I may say. All of us boys dreamt of having her for company, and, of course, our imaginations went beyond wild.”
He incredibly admits that he felt ‘something’ for her and would even go the extra mile of bombarding her with revision questions, which was in essence, disguise to bring her closer. In a strange turn of events, he actually credits her for his good performance in KCSE.
“I know it sounds weird but when she left, I got so depressed and felt so encouraged to get good grades and come to Nairobi where I would meet her. I passed, came and I realised searching for her was a pipe dream; she had probably graduated and left by the time I was registering my first year,” he says, feeling rather sodden on the big miss.
In the course of piecing together this story, it was rather hard to find students who weren’t afraid of opening up about risqué behaviours directed towards young attractive teachers. We, however, managed to talk to Ngirachu, a Form Three student at one of the prominent schools in Nairobi, who, despite not being involved in the circus, was willing to talk about his experiences.
“I find it very awkward and unimaginable; I just can’t seduce my teacher even if she looks young enough. When they come for teaching practice, some boys get really excited. I can’t tell where they find the courage to make moves and drop hints. But one thing I can say is that those teachers look beautiful and dress attractively. They know how to use make-up,” he offered.
Does that justify it?
“No,” Jacinta disagrees. “My job is to give these boys an education. Just because they are growing up does not make it right. It’s harassment and sometimes it surpasses boundaries of privacy. Furthermore, I don’t want to be held responsible for any student’s misfortune of failing exams, and I am not a cougar.”
Mbau says that errant boys can only be tamed if the adults take restrictive measures. She points out that being naughty is expected of any growing teenager engorged with enough hormones. “It is only the teacher or the parent who can instill discipline in this boy. It doesn’t matter his outward maturity because his mind is still young and impulsive with wild thoughts.”
This, however, adds the psychologist, is not to say that wretched behaviour from boys should be condoned. She says that it can be controlled through sternness to stem any escalation and the extent to which it can go.
The bad news though (to the professional young damsels) is that naughty boys won’t stop being naughty; chances are high that when you are making a point on the chalk board and all of them look hearkened on the topic, they probably are fascinated at the sight of something else.