© Victor Ochieng’
All and sundry, congratulate the newly-admitted Form Ones for being able to move to the next level of education. They are heroes and heroines because they sat for KCPE during tough times and cold climes. They bounced back better after Covid-19 crisis. They bore the brunt and managed to turn their dreams into reality.
We wish them well in the next phase of education. Albeit, primary is not secondary. A lot is going to change. They say, new levels, new devils. High school is not going to be a walk in the park. What is taught in Form One, will be tested in Form Four. In exams, there will be no more multiple choices. They will be expected to write right what they know. That is why every Form One must be conscious of beginning, learning and winning right at the onset. It is advisable to start strong.
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The good news is that they are going to open a new chapter in their academic peregrination. In the whole scheme of things, it does not matter whether one scored 400, 350, 300, 250, 200 marks out of 500. Every Form One must be prepared to attain a jig-saw fit in high school – and unleash his or her best in the next phase of learning. Come rain, come shine; they must begin to win.
Everything worth to be celebrated has a starting point. The way we begin something determines how we shall finish it. People proficient in proverbs say: A good beginning makes a good ending. To get anywhere, you must launch out from somewhere, or you will get nowhere. Beginning is winning.
By a yard, it is hard, but inch by inch, everything is a cinch. Victory is won not in miles, but in inches. You win a little now, you hold your ground, and later win a lot more. Small steps are big ideas.
Every Form One must know that we are our own doctors when it comes to curing cold feet, hot heads, and stuffy attitudes. We may succeed if nobody else believes in us, but we will never succeed if we don’t believe in our own self.
Winning is a must. In Romans 8:37, the good book does not say that they are winners, but it says that they are more than winners. Though it all, they will lose many battles, but they should wage and win the war. Form Ones who want to win must be prone to stupendous study skills. They should be good stewards of time. It is incumbent upon them to come up with well-thought-out study plans and all-inclusive study timetables.
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Form Ones who want to win must report to high school with the requisite academic materials or tools. They should take care of their chattels. So that other students suffering from kleptomania do not steal or pilfer, and disappear with them. Form Ones who want to win in high school must develop riveting reading habits at an early stage.
Form Ones must know that people go to school to learn and not to pass time by splitting hairs. Learning encompasses acquisition of definite knowledge and skills. Learning is change of behaviour and attitude. Attitude is equal to mindset plus beliefs. Form Ones are going to begin learning new subjects, games and sporting activities.
Over and above, those who want to access success in high school must be prone to acceptable code of conduct and beautiful behaviour. This is because every high school is a melting pot with every manner of student. Some are well-mannered, but some might be morally bankrupt.
Form Ones should be prepared to meet some students who have experimented on drugs and imbibed some harmful substances. Through whims and whiffs of peer pressure, they may also find themselves in the horrible holes of drug addiction. The way a weird peer told me when I joined Form One in the Gem of Siaya: Ochieng’, Son of the Lake, if you just take a puff of bhang, you can fly to Jamaica. In case I was doltish and foolish, I would have slipped into the abyss of drug abuse and misuse.
Form Ones should know that in that new home, they may meet some high school scholars who will try to lure them into perverse sexual behaviour like homosexuality: gayism among boys, and lesbianism among the girls. In such tempting instances, they should stand their grounds and say no to that form of obnoxious behaviour. For even in our rural homes, we hardly see a cock following a cock.
At Form One level, most Form Ones are perfect green horns. They look young and naive. Sometimes, some feel fearful and confused. Some don’t know how to clad properly in school uniform, or how to apply oil on the face. In schools where Form 2,3,4 suffer from paucity of etiquette on how to welcome guests, Form Ones can feel embarrassed and harassed.
Thank God. Bullying is no longer in the area like bacteria. Those who went to school when bullying was at its epic peak, know that schools were not that enjoyable. They were eyesores. Schools gave newcomers migraine (severe headache). After the crack of twilight, in the dead of the night, bad boys would give an innocent Form One a bucket to go outside the dormitory and fetch darkness.
But now, as I pen this piece, I want you to know that things have changed to a great extent. Our schools are safe havens. Even if there are vestiges of these bully bulls in some schools, Form Ones should not worry. For worry is wasteful. They just need to focus on the good, and avoid the bad and the ugly. They should prepare for the new exhilarating experiences in high school. In some girls’ schools with well-cultured students, Form Ones are seen as daughters. Form twos are mothers. And Form threes are … I know you nearly said ancestors or the living dead. No, they are great grandmothers.
Schools can help Form Ones begin, learn and win, if only they give them a warm reception. The first impressions matter. Those who focus on building their brands with brilliance say that first impressions are last impressions. The way you usher in the guest into the house, can cause tension to tighten, or make the visitor to feel at ease, breathe with ease, and let a sigh of relief.
Therefore, it is incumbent upon school arrowheads to come up with well-thought-out Form One Plug-in Programmes. For these young scholars to begin, learn and win well, there must be proper orientation and induction. Foremost, it should be done at in-house level. Then, guest speakers should be cordially invited to polish pale parts, by infusing their lives with beacons of hope and help through delivery of carefully-crafted pep talks and training programmes.
The head honchos in schools should also ensure that they prepare the old students and teachers adequately to receive these good guests. Class teachers who are going to be their mothers, father or care-givers should be reminded of their royal roles. Student leaders should also be sensitised on best practices they should employ to aid Form Ones begin, learn and win.
On parental involvement, the school administration should be creative and innovative enough. It behooves them to conjure ways they can fully graft the new parents into the school. Or else, woe will betide them. Parents should be sensitised to play their part right from the onset. It is of supreme importance to remind them of their parental responsibilities at the beginning. Now that they accepted to take their sons and daughters to high school, they should purpose to comply, cooperate and collaborate with the school in several spheres. That is done through timely payment of fees, providing necessary academic tools and taking care of any extra levies like defraying remedial money and participating in school projects.
The Writer rolls out Form One Plug-in Programme in Schools. He talks to Form Ones, Teachers & Parents During Form One Orientation & Induction. [email protected]. 0704420232