Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Columnist

What I learnt from my learner's ugly handwriting

23 Mar 2018 at 19:01hrs | Views
Sometime ago I became very annoyed while marking a book belonging to one of my learners. I just couldn't stand his ugly handwriting anymore. After trying everything in my power to help him improve or to try and force him to improve, nothing seemed to help. In fact the more i tried to emphasise the need for him to improve it, the handwriting just seemed to get worse. I had written several times in his book "Improve Your Handwriting" and his parents told me on consultation day that they were also very concerned about his ugly handwriting and had encouraged him countless times to improve to no avail.

I held his book one afternoon and felt like screaming. I called him to my table and said to him, "My boy, what exactly do you want me to say and do for you to change your handwriting? Please just tell me and I will do it. I have tried to demonstrate to you how to hold a pen, demonstrated how to shape letters, wrote over ten comments in your  that you should improve your handwriting, encouraged you and even punished you in a bid to make you change. Please tell me now what I can do to make you make an effort because I really can't stand this handwriting."

The boy kept quiet for a while. I felt my patience evaporating quickly and raised my voice starring at his face. "Talk!" I could see that there is something he wanted to say but was scared. I encouraged him to say whatever he wanted to say and I will not get angry at him. I was curious to hear what he seemed to be desiring to say.

The learner said. "Sir please don't get angry at me, but I honestly think that we should forget about my handwriting because I also have tried my best to improve but  I just can't make it better than this, why don't we just FOCUS ON THE MAIN THING. I mean I am getting excellent marks in all the subjects, isn't that the most important thing you and my parents want? I think I am getting the main thing right and you should not worry too much about my handwriting"

I looked straight into his eyes for about five seconds and told him to go and sit down. As the learners went out of the classroom to play I remained alone in the classroom. I looked out through the window as mind went on a far away trip. I remembered one of my former colleagues I had taught with in rural areas over a decade ago. He had probably the worst handwriting I ever seen but has diligently pushed his way into one of the most influential positions in the Ministry of Education (Department of Education). Indeed the guy's handwriting was absolutely hopeless, yet he focused on the main thing: the dream that was burning in his heart. He had a rare determination and ridiculous commitment to his vision, yet what all of us were just concerned with his handwriting. 'The Main Thing,' I thought to myself.

My learner had the main thing, distinctions in all his subjects. His end of term school report did not state by which handwriting he had acquired those great marks. His was an outstanding learner, the one who often won some awards during the School's Awards ceremony and very well behaved as well. He probably has even a greater future than I will ever have. However my obsession with his poor handwriting had often drove me crazy.

What if I told you that most of the conflicts between spouses, hatred amongst humans and depression have nothing to do with the Main Thing. The grumblings and mumblings in the corridors of most workplaces are about minor things and issues which shouldn't be given so much attention and shouldn't cause all the stress and tension. Your obsession with perfection may make you magnify irrelevant flaws and imperfections of your boss, church, leaders or partner to a point of great frustration and misery, even though they possesses The Main Things (important qualities).

This is surely Vanity of vanities says 'The Motivator', what shall it profit a man to be ungrateful of the great things they have because they are focusing on the handwriting? Human beings would enjoy much more fulfilling relationships if they were not obsessed with each other's handwritings. Church members get divided and engage in endless wars with each other, just because of focusing on each other's handwritings. No one is perfect, let's keep our eyes on the Main Thing.

After marking that learner's book later that day, he got everything correct on his given work. I nodded my head as I gave him his book back, "The main thing, right?" I said. "Yes, sir Gwizi, this is the main thing" He said confidently.

Ladies and gentlemen don't let your obsession with perfection lead you to depression. Don't let the ugliness of the handwriting make you ungrateful of the main thing (most important things or qualities which really matter) #gwizimotivator .

Source - Mthokozisi Gwizi
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.