After nearly, thirteen years of looking after the home front, I decided to step out as a career woman. I underwent a training course to equip myself for the job of a teacher and got one too.
The first week was a trying period. A science lesson was in progress. Suddenly, one of the bright sparks asked, “Teacher, who is the scientist who showed air exerts pressure?” Did I know this? Yes, I did, but, that was 20 years ago. I decided to be truthful. “ I am sorry”, I said, “I have forgotten. I’ll let you know tomorrow.” To compensate for the lesson not prepared well, I said, “ Teachers can also forget. They are only human you know”.
The next day, a lesson on the Indus Valley was in progress. The same bright spark said, “Teacher why is it in Mumbai, we have an open drainage system while the Indus valley people had an underground drainage system?” Before, I could think of a suitable reply, the tallest boy in the class came to the teacher’s rescue. “How can the teacher tell you? Only she is a human being. ….”. Yes, at times they are angels, most of the time they are little devils!!
Correction of papers was yet another eye opener. “The rooms all around the Great Bath at Mohenjodaro were used to exchange clothes, ” reads one answer sheet. The second one goes thus: “The King Ashoka’s messengers went around spreading the massage of Dhamma”. Did I make a mistake in choosing this profession?
Admonishing the children for speaking incorrect English has led to a stage where I begin to wonder if my spellings are right or whether my punctuations are correct, or whether I am pronouncing the word right.
Correction exercises, vocabulary development and drill work followed. A lot of interest was developed in additional reading. It was the time for some fun and games too. In a brain storming session on “The day the sun did not rise”, the same group of children let their imagination travel far and wide. Their world had become dark. The temperature started dipping. There was no moon to reflect the light of the sun. The birds were scared and started twittering. The cacophony was deafening. What would happen to the plants if the sun did not rise? If the plants died how can the animals survive? What about the human beings? This discussion was becoming lively and interesting but, the time was running out. The night mare of the day had to be brought to an end.
Looking back, I can say with conviction that there is never a dull moment in a teacher’s career. Valentine’s day brings forth a flood of valentines, April Fools’ day makes you a victim of silly pranks, every recess witnesses scenes from the Kurukshetra. But, every report giving day brings forth a great deal of satisfaction of having prepared them for the next grade coupled with feeling of ‘empty-nest’.