Posted by Allan Drummond
on 8 February 2021
Shortly after I joined the De La Salle Brothers, I was chatting with the provincial, Brother Baptist, and he said to me: "You will be a good teacher, because you have had good teachers." At De La Salle College in Malvern, I did indeed have some very fine teachers, though there were a few of lesser quality. When I was in the novitiate and the scholasticate, I was taught by Brother Christian, with whom I am pictured yesterday. Chris has celebrated his 99th birthday, but you wouldn't pick it.
In the last few years, I often asked my South Sudanese students to think of the best teacher they had, to identify the qualities that they admired, and to wonder how they can incorporate those qualities themselves.
Chris was a wonderful teacher, and a great storyteller. A highlight of my training college days was Sunday nights, when Chris wheeled out the epidiascope and fascinated us with his collection of postcards and pictorial history books, together with his encyclopedic insights into it all. I've never risen to Chris's standards, but I think I've done a fair job carrying the storytelling and teaching baton that he passed to me. That's another of my themes with student teachers. You are in a kind of relay race, with the baton of education passed to you to run with, and to pass it on to future generations.
The students at Yambio Teacher Training College will return on 1 February, to resume their studies which have been disrupted since March of last year. I am proud to have played a small part in their education, but I want to acknowledge that Brother Christian, one of the very finest of teachers, has therefore had some small influence on South Sudan.