Not a Teacher’s Job anyways…

teacher

Since I am unable to keep in pace with my blogging habits, at times i,  try to quit this habit of blogging. Like a chronic smoker pledging and quitting his habit many a times over and over again, so do i. Blogging, though is not a bad habit thankfully. The articles that I pen, or have penned in the past, are all real life characters and some incidents so occur, which may be worth ignoring for others provide me that needed inspiration to write a post. So, in a way, i am never short of stories and characters.

After many a days, i was free today, being a weekend had a much needed break this saturday, had nothing worthwhile to do, but to attend one function in my kids school, in a renknowned school which had just completed 25 years of its existence. So it was a Silver Jubilee Celebrations and the school had invited all its students and either of the parent, weird sounded the invitation for it invited either mummy or daddy. Given the fact that the school had a huge ground, it could have invited both. But, do schools really bother.

We reached in time and the programme was to start at 5.30 pm. By Indian Standards, the programme began well in time by around 6.00 pm. One famous film director was invited as the chief guest. The entire glitterati of people who were with the school for last quarter of a century, the ex principals, trustees etc were invited. Each one were felicitated. It was becoming quite boring by this felicitation and self promotion. Each and every speaker doled only about the hardwork of the Founders, the visionary Management, the Principals, Teachers, Students  and other staff. A cursory mention of parents here and there was also done. But it scored the total approach of the school towards the parents, i started justifying the arbitratory methods of the school while suddenly raising fees in successions, almost forcefully collecting the fees of six months in advance and what not. In fact, last year i was amazed when the school sent some offers to subscribe some daily newspaper at discounted rates. Was the school meant for imparting values, education or selling newspapers and doing other commercial stuff.

I was getting quite bored by 6.30 and was planning to leave the function, but, it would have looked rude and so i sat, took out my mobile, surfed net and read some online articles, meanwhile, my kid sitting besides me was not concerned about what was going on the stage, he was busy chatting with his friends who were sitting along with him.  Just some comic relief came not from the front i.e. from the stage or the speakers, but from the group of three four ladies sitting just behind me. My kid told me that those were school teachers. From their conversation it sounded that they were not assigned good duties in the programme and they were feeling hurt, they were almost criticizing the other teachers and non teaching staff who were assigned good work in the function, especially those teachers and female staff who were on the stage. One of the teacher who sounded a south indian from her typical accent was more vocal and she did not let her anguish, anguish i guess is not the proper word to describe their state, it was pure jealously, the way they described the teachers and non teaching staff on the stage was belittling of being in a noble profession. No wonder my kid and his friends were unfazed and were chatting and laughing and making all kind of noises sitting just in front of three four teachers. I remembered my days as a kid, our heartbeats would rise seeing a teacher, even if the teacher was of other class. The respect the teachers commanded was equivalent to their public demeanor. I dont claim that all was well in those days, but, issues never cropped out of teachers room those days.  I felt very bad at the kind and quality of teachers that were making the future of my kid.

The chief guest, a film director, was successful in bringing back my attention to the front rows and he provided that much needed respite from the politicking teachers sitting behind. The cultural programme that followed after that and the singing performances and especially by some of the teachers was good.

All in all i returned back at 8.30 pm feeling more responsible, thinking that i could not rely on the teachers, it was more our duty as parents to carve him than to rely on the teachers who were at odds with one another.

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Milestones..

Milestones play a very vital role in our journey, they show us the distance and the route and you confidently surge ahead caring little about the milestone that showed us the road. They remain there, static and patient, guiding other fellow travellers the road ahead. The comparison with these milestones came to my mind today when i was invited to deliver a talk on the eve of teachers day.

Our teachers too, are like our milestones, right from the days of tentativeness in our kindergarten age to the days of our youth these teachers are with us, but how do we care for them? Teachers just like milestones remain there and see their wards grow from a child to a man, a responsible man. Many teachers claim with sense of pride the fact that the kids whom they tutored are now doctors, engineers and scientists of repute, only to end up with a tinge of hurt that they remained.. the same old teacher.

Whenever i remember teachers i am able to stretch my memories till 1979, when i got admitted in the junior kg at St.Xaviers High School. That first day in my school, the teacher, i am unable to recall her name, was an old Christian lady, full of love, she cared a lot and treated me with very care, i was her favorite kid and she always pampered me. She was one who comforted me and i could adjust myself from a very conservative marathi background to a top convent school.

Another teacher, whom i can just never forget was our lovable and affable Vasant Kelkar Sir, We all used to call him Vashya, now grown up kids we were, I was a favorite kid of Kelkar Sir and he gave me a “guru mantra” which i find to be very correct and effective even after 15 years after my academic career. He said in plain marathi, that “you choose any vocation, even that of a sweeper, no matter, but ensure that whatever you do, you be number one, for nobody cares or remembers number two”.. how true Sir was, my efforts since that day were always in that direction, and i am proud that I am able to implement what Sir expected from me..

Another teacher whom i remember, obviously not for all that good reasons was our class teacher in our College. Her name was Mrs.Natarajan (every collegian termed her as “Nattu”). She was a no-nonsense, serious lady, may be she had forgotten to laugh for years, for during those two years of my Junior College, I never saw her split into a laughter or even a wry smile. But she meant business and was always strict for the good of the students. She rarely remembered Students name but never forgot their roll number. She used to teach us Book Keeping & Accountancy and Roll number 337 (that was mine) was one pet number she used to call often to solve the problems or to fire on things i did or did not do. Such was the impact of her fear on me that till my graduation, i found it difficult to tally even a single balance sheet !!!

Teaching, we call a noble profession, but unlike other ‘noble’ profession like doctor for example, a teacher’s earning is meagre, notwithstanding current pay hike after VIth Pay Commission. For teachers are the potters who shape a man out of a child and give him a direction to fight the battles ahead. Teachers are always blamed for not teaching properly in schools and taking tuitions. Some teachers also indulge in some other malpractices. But the entire fraternity should not be blamed for vices of fewer people. I remember in 1982 when i was in my Second Standard there used to be a teacher who frequently used to complain about my weaknesses in grasping, used to scare my parents, and mom in particular that I would fail, she had an easy solution ready, she used to tell my parents to send me for tuition in the evening at her place. No, my parents did not oblige, nor did i fail, i passed with flying colors and stood second or third that year.

Very few institutions in our country are responsible for whatever good that is being seen. Our Army, Our Judiciary and my be Our Teachers are some of these Institutions. All other professions get good respect and remunerations, but only for our teachers though.. for afterall they are treated as a cornerstone of a milestone only to be forgotten after reaching the destination. Isnt It?