A tale with a twist
By Dr. William Green
In 1946, I sat the Cambridge School Certificate Exam as a student of the Antigua Grammar School. I passed successfully. In those days, there were no High School Certificates nor A Levels at the school as one has today. I was 17 years old and about to leave the school when the Headmaster, Mr. Gilbert Auchinleck, offered me a job as a junior teacher. I accepted.
On entering 2nd Form as a teacher for the first time, the students stood up as is the custom except for one boy who was out to give me a hard time. His name was T. R. Joseph.
I told Joseph to stand up on the bench as a form of punishment. He stood up facing his friends and was gesticulating to them. I told him to turn around and face me as I wanted to see his face. Guess what he answered: he said "I don't want to see yours." The whole class erupted and wanted to see what Green would do. Without batting an eyelid, I told him let's take a walk and brought him to Mr. Auchinleck.
I explained to him what had transpired that Joseph did not want to see my face. He told me to go back to my class and administered six strokes with a tamarind whip to Joseph's behind. I had no further incidents with that class.
After two years teaching, I left Antigua. to attend college in Canada and on to university in Europe. I became a Doctor and was practicing medicine in Dominica. There was a cricket test match in Antigua between England and the West Indies. I came over to Antigua for that event.
During the luncheon break a man came up to me and asked if I was Billy Green. I said yes. He kissed me and said his name was T. R. Joseph and said let's have a drink. He took me completely by surprise as I had not seen Joseph for the past twelve or more years since I left Antigua.
He was now a lawyer and a professional, and had matured, not like the wayward boy of 2nd Form whom I had disciplined. He was grateful for the teaching he had received at the Antigua Grammar School and used me as a medium to express his gratitude to the teachers who moulded him at the High School. Isn't that wonderful!
Joseph passed away a few years ago, but we must thank him for coming forward to express his gratitude. Bravo! This whole episode illustrates discipline and gratitude. Wouldn't it be wonderful if all professionals· who return home after gaining their various degrees give thanks to their High School teachers who gave them their basics as Joseph demonstrated?