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How My Leadership Stint Went

The downers, the lessons and reflections

BY Agnes Amondi

Aug 19, 2021, 12:57 PM

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Early Monday morning, the plain brown monitor tie finally got around my neck. Somehow, I was not conscious of the fact that it marked the beginning of my leadership stint.

Through the early hours of the morning, I just went about my daily school routine with the exception of the chores each student had to take. See, when you became a prefect or monitor, your manual duties got assigned to someone else.

Then came assembly time and reality checked in. The first thing most of the other form four students noticed when I arrived at the assembly ground was the tie. They were surprised at the fact that I was made monitor and kept mentioning this time and again to my utter disquiet. Then it became this big thing that it shouldn’t have. As was the routine after Monday and Friday assemblies, there was a monitors’ meeting and I joined in for my first. It was weird because what is it that they say in such circles? Plus, it felt like I was in a “click” that was far removed from the rest of the civilian population. Is this how it’s supposed to be? 

So the meeting happened and I walked back to class after everyone else and no one mentioned the monitor thing so that was good. The day went on pretty much as usual with brief calls from teachers enquiring about the class monitor. Day one was done and out. I thought to myself, it’s not that bad actually. And oh! The perks of being a monitor? A cup of tea instead of cocoa water during evening meals. Yeah, I know. 

Monitor Nightmares

The first instruction I gave to my class was, “please use your common sense.” My assumption was that all of us were mature enough to know what to do or not to do. I didn’t want to have to write down a noisemakers list or keep shouting “keep quiet” or to police anyone.

But common sense never really prevailed and it was hell for me. The evening was the worst time. Form four East just didn’t know how to zip their mouths. I’d tell the class to keep quiet at the beginning. That was adhered to for like five minutes after which it became a “market.” I couldn’t concentrate. The noise haunted me. Then the TOD, the teacher on duty, would walk in. Class monitor! And that would sink my heart. The next thing the TOD would ask for was a noisemakers list. And because I made it a point not to write one, I always didn’t have one. So punishments were always on the horizon.

Those five minutes or so were just a nightmare for me. And the rest of the class just didn’t know. At that time, I kind of understood why the previous class monitors dropped the role. You know, it wasn’t fair that one person always bore the brunt of 39 or 40 other students. 

Was I Too Reluctant?

Hindsight is a beautiful thing, you know. Now, I'll say that I might have been too reluctant. On the flip side, I’d say I didn’t know how to handle difficult people and so I left that to whoever. 

I think that in leadership you ought to get hold of your surroundings and “orchestrate” it to the best of your ability. Assumptions like the one I had, that people will just do what they are supposed to do isn’t enough to get the job done. You have to be on top of everything. It’s a responsibility that carries that much weight and fluffing it off is basically neglecting duty. 

Was It That Bad?

Again, hindsight is a beautiful thing.  Actually, it wasn’t as bad. Was it difficult? yes, it was. Could I have handled things better? Maybe. Did my fears (shared in part one) happen? No. This was certainly a learning curve for me. If I could roll back the time, I’d ensure I commit more than I did and probably be more proud of the task.