Farewell teacher C. R. Cole

Dr. Sama Banya – Puawui

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 7 June 2014

Bo school boysThere was near crisis in Bo school in 1946, barely three months to the Cambridge School Certificate Examination, which back then was the equivalent of today’s West African School Certificate Examination.

Teacher L. J. Pratt, who had almost singlehandedly taught the course, and prepared the first set of boys for the exams, was transferred to the Prince of Wales School in Freetown at the beginning of the 1946 school year, which for the Bo School ran from mid February to mid December.

Teacher G. E. Davies and Glen Caulker joined the school that year, although both were confined to teaching English.

The school’s only Biology teacher – Olumbe Bassir had received a Nuffield scholarship to read Science at Liverpool University in the United Kingdom. Thus we were left with no Maths or Biology master.

It was then that Mr. C. R. A. Cole, the father of Christian Cole (Bishop) Junior, joined the school staff.

He was an Intermediate Bachelor of Science Degree holder from Yaba, teaching Mathematics. Because of the serious staff shortage, Teacher Cole also offered to teach Biology and British Empire history for both Junior and Senior Cambridge classes.

Bo-schoolI don’t believe that teacher Cole was a History or Biology teacher in the true sense. But because of the school’s almost desperate situation, his offer was welcomed by Pa E. B. Williams – the school Principal.

I was then in Form four, and one of teacher Cole’s pupils. He was a good teacher. His stuttering notwithstanding, he always had an interesting story behind his subject headings.

One of the anecdotes I remember well, was his account of the exchange between her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the First and one of her courtiers – Sir Walter Raleigh, an alleged special favourite of the monarch, who is said to have introduced tobacco to England.

The story was that, as smoke rose from Sir Walter’s lighted tobacco, his servant fearing that his master was on fire, threw a bucket full of water over Sir Walter to save his life.

it was said by teacher Cole that Sir Walter hesitated to make his feelings known directly to the Queen. Instead, his approach took a poetic form as follows: “Fain would I climb, but I fear to fall;” to which her Majesty replied: “If thy heart faileth thee, then do not climb at all.”

But teacher Cole had a weakness which may be attributed to his dyslexia.

He was quickly thrown into anger and would threaten the victim of his wrath with: “I’ll batter you!”

And that became his nickname for the rest of his stay in the school. He later entered Fourah Bay College (FBC), which then was affiliated to the UK’s Durham University to read Arts.

He did not find his examinations easy. But on graduating, he joined the staff of the Extra Mural Department of the college, where retired as the Director.

I encountered Teacher Cole years later, after his retirement from FBC. He had settled in his native Waterloo village, where after some years he became the village headman.

I visited Waterloo when I was Minister of the Interior in President Siaka Steven’s government. My former teacher and I reminisced about those days at Bo School, while he played host to me.

Sadly, I was recently informed by Bishop Christian Cole (Junior) that teacher “I’ll batter you” had died on the 1st May 2014, in the United States of America, at the grand old age of 95.

I extend heartfelt sympathy to his family. May his Soul rest In peace and light perpetual shine on him.

red ratNow to other matters, which no doubt are quite familiar to many readers

‘The Villains of the week’

My brickbat goes to a certain building materials trader – cum contractor, along ECOWAS Street, who has become notorious for putting up bad structures for his unsuspecting clients.

He shows no remorse for what can only be properly described as callousness, bothering on dishonesty.

I am withholding his name for now, as I continue to make enquiries into how many other unfortunate victims have had the bitter experience of his poor materials, like my two nephews – both of whom live in the United States.

The second goes to a member of the learned Legal profession, who took my money and my documents with a view to filing my defense. He instead sat on them until the period for returning the document had expired.

He refused to answer my calls, return the documents, or reply to my numerous text messages.

I tried to call him using an acquaintance’s cell phone; he fell for the trick and answered. But as soon as I announced my name, the fellow unashamedly pretended as if the line had gone faulty and cut off the call.

With a harsh tone in my demand note, I have now recovered both my deposit and my document from him.

But I am still considering whether to make a formal complaint to the Regulatory Authority of his profession. His unprofessional behaviour nearly got a default judgment against me, but for the Grace of God and an understanding plaintiff’s lawyer.

 

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