… or so the Ogre thinks 😛
Long, sometimes confessional, post alert* That’s bound to get readers in, for there is nothing more tempting than confessional confetti candy, even if it be spicy enough!
At the same time, I must admit that this has come about after an interesting conversation I had recently with kids who had been in my class, or their siblings had. Insightful as always, you know, talking to them kids, and listening, for a change 😀
It began with one of them saying how her sister remembered me from the Primary School – my “beating” so to speak. I had to grin sheepishly.
As with how it has been with very many from my profession, I too used to use either my hand or a wooden scale (a sharp tap below the knee, on the calf) in my own formative years as a teacher. That, combined with my deadly stare has made me a terror. As I told this young lady, it certainly isn’t something I’m proud of at all. I wish I had not, for I knew, even then, I hadn’t a need for it. Still, that is the way it has been. Probably the first few years there, in the Primary, I did use corporal punishment, till one day I was summoned by the kind-hearted, extremely humane Principal we had back then, who told me of a certain young girl (who was NOT, by the way, at the receiving end 😛 ) being “scared” of me. Gopalan Sir was circumspect, understanding, and gentle in the way he told me of this. And that was the turning point. It finally came home to me that all those thoughts I had while using the scale, or my hand, the discomfort of it all, needn’t have to be at all.
They say it takes a kind word to transform an ogre. For me, even though these days I am still an ogre who roars 😛 , Gopalan Sir has been that catalyst. He is someone I admire for his rational view, his endless patience and empathy, his love of all the members of his school, student or staff. It has been over 13 years since he has retired, and we meet quite often at school meetings, or weddings/functions in and around the city- each time it is with such affection and respect that he is greeted, by me and all the students (former) and staff.
Since that talk with Gopalan Sir, the extent of punishment served by me to the kid/kids is to decorate the wall, as I put it, joining the child with it 😛 (to stand against some corner or wall 😀 – and I’d be standing with the kids for the entire duration 😛 ), for corporal punishment is indeed against all things humane. I have been privy to a lot discussions on the same, from the fraternity, and from the stakeholders of the system, primarily parents. There is a sense of having “lost” something, for many, these days, without being able to “beat”. While I may seem to pontificate (and how ironic is that, coming from someone who was guilty of the same before! But you know what they say about reformed ogres and rakes? 😛 ), one thing is clear: very many, both parents and teachers in schools alike, are of the opinion that for discipline and learning to take place, there has to be a fear factor. That is to say, if the student is suitably afraid of what you might say / do, they will “study”. The sad thing? It works most of the time. Ask kids why they study a certain subject obsessively! To counter this is another school of thought – the Love factor. This one works primarily from liking and loving the kids/ learner group. We know how well equipped we are with that!!! Easy to say, but rather difficult to do. Instead we mouth things like – they have no base, such a* useless, what’s the point when you smile they sit on your head and will not listen to you evah… yada yada yada…. 😀 I speak of what I hear, and know, dear readers, as you all too must be aware!
However, in all of these situations, there is a learner group, we know, who is waiting to do just that if you allow them to, at their own pace, however that might be, even if it is not to your liking!!! I have a questions/ranting here!
- How many parents would in any way encourage their kids to become teachers, these days?
- How easy it is to pick holes into the fabric, hard woven, by either parent/teacher of the learner in their care!
- How many teachers are there, who love what they do? And the learner group with it?
- How is the larger system addressing the situation of the marginalized group in teaching, eulogized once or twice each year?
- Finances are just as important, but then teaching is to be seen as a noble vocation, and no matter what remuneration you receive, don’t you DARE think of perks, just the noble vocation!!! 😀
- Thankless job it is, say many! You now get it from Management/HMs/HoDs/Students/PARENTS – only you are there for you. Why should you take the risk?
- Oye! I’m here to “teach” – you learn, understand? I cannot be bothered by what’s going on in your home! Or, if you are concerned, it can become added stress when you involve in a domestic battleground, and your heart bleeds, most especially for the child, when you feel helpless.
- Teaching? That’s easy peasy? Who’s going to do the endless grading? The marklists? The organization of the Zoomabastically Phantastically Amazing Awesome Cultural/ Physical Education/ Management sponsored / Inter-
ballisticSchool stuff? I mean the “gombetitions”??? Multi tasking is only one tiny tip of the deadly iceberg called teaching!
- Yeah yeah yeah! Shut the effing up is best, because once you voice your opinion, you get to market it, manage it, plan it and implement it. You see why many will be silent???
Sooooo… as Nivin Pauly goes, in “Bangalore Days” it ain’t just the consideration of the student population of which there is still a deliberation as to whether the situation is to warrant a explantion of such underrated aberration and dingolification of things without a least notion… you get it?
Yes, I’m still an ogre, but I shall tell you which kind. As a young lad in class 6, gazing horrifically when I confessed my true nature of being (ogre… duh!) said, Teacher! NO! Seriously! Then with a twinkle in his eye, he said, Ah! Like Shrek? Laughter exploded in the class! I joined and said yes, now, a bit like Shrek, because I don’t eat kids no more 😛
And finally, if there are those who read this and know of those who have been at the receiving end of the corporal punishment I had, in the Dark Ages, doled out, please convey my apologies for the same. I have, not much, by way of memory, but certainly those kids would 😀 If it were to make a difference to way I had been, this is the one thing I would most certainly change about the way I was! To my own two kids too 🙂 ❤
But. Would I want to change what I am, and how I am? Nyet. Nahin. And emphatic No. For being with the learner group has given me something I know I’d never, ever, ever, EVER get any place else. A sort of affection, that is hard to come by, esp. if you’ve been an ogre or no 🙂 ❤
Happy Teachers’ Day to everyone who teaches, mentors, guides, coaxes, persuades, nudges, niggles one to learn something, each day, or whenever possible! The world progresses because of such people!
“Teacher” Tattle covers most of the 5 Sept. posts here 🙂
Last year, on Teachers’ Day: LINK – and at the bottom of that page you can see the posts from the previous years 🙂 😀 Sigh. No escape, I tell ya 😛
P.S. Added here is an album of scanned images of perhaps the best bio ever, of a class and it’s class teacher. Made lovingly by my previous class (of the AK47 fame 😀 ) So you see, even Ogres have their redemption, when they reform. Other than Shrek, ie 😛 😛
Click on the images to see the writing, which is awesome, as awesome as the art work, which, if I am not mistaken is Harigovind’s? The ideas, of course, are…. I know whose all… 😀
2-5 September, 2015 for 5 September, 2015.