Click here for shortcuts to regional language blogs and city-specific events.
It was an important day for us. As parents, you feel overjoyed when you see your kid on stage for the very first time. It does not matter how big or small his role in the play is.
We had been preparing for my son's annual day performance for more than two months now. When I say, "we were preparing", I actually mean that, because every member of the family was made to dance on "A is for apple, b is for ball..." and "World is a rainbow, so many colors..." at least 10 times a day till the D day. My son made sure that our actions and expressions were perfect. So it was indeed an important day for us.
Last year, the same time, we had been the new parents of the school, whose kid would just cry if taken to the stage and so he had spent most of his time in my lap and had gone on the stage only when the school song was sung.
However, this year, he was confident and happy to be a part of the annual day program. He and we, had practiced enough!
So it was time, and we were eagerly waiting for him to come on stage along with other kids to perform. It was a proud moment for us to see him finally dance and act on "A is for apple...". Letters have always been his favorite, from the age of 1 and so we had no doubts that he would perform very well. As the teachers prepared for next song, we got a little confused and doubtful of the performance. And the song started, "World is a rainbow, so many colors...", it was a beautiful song with kids dressed in colors of rainbow portraying unity in diversity. I have to admit that at one point in time, I was so proud of my son and his school that I had tears in my eyes.
Song ended with a huge round of applause from all parents. It was the best performance of the day, not only by kids, but also by the school teachers.
And special mention to "Anika", who was the star of the day. I am sure all parents had their doubts, if she would be able to perform or not, but she did, with a little help from her peers. Each kid played an important part in the song, when to hold Anika's hand, to make her move 3 steps front and then back, to help her take a turn, to cue her to jump, every movement was so flawlessly taught to the kids. So the applause was for the team work!!
If you have not already guessed, Anika can't see, by birth. And as I got to know later, none of the schools were ready to admit her, but my son's school did. And on the "annual day" evening, I realized that the school teachers were really serious about her.
So later in the evening, as we were celebrating my son's and school's performance by cutting his favorite chocolate cake, I told him that he did a great job by helping Anika. And I was about to be surprised by the reply I got. "I did not help her, we all had to hold hands and then move and dance. Why are you saying that I helped her? Maam says that we should not help or take help from anyone till we really need".
I was shocked. So he actually did not know that Anika could not see? I decided to ask further, "So don't you help her in school in taking the mat, folding it, taking the work from the shelves?".
"No, she does it on her own", came the reply and I was sure that my son didn't have an idea of Anika's sight.
How was that possible? "So, does she study with you with the same books?", I asked.
"No, she has some other books, and a new teacher comes every two days to teach her. She is really intelligent, because I tried reading her book once and I could not. It was so tough. She just touches the book and she can read", my son replied, genuinely in awe with the intelligence that Anika possessed.
Then I was really proud of the teachers of his school. Not only had they managed to teach a special child, but also, they had made it very clear to other kids that she was really special, in true sense. She was special and intelligent to a level that others were or even better than them. I had no doubts about our choice of school for my son. His teachers are dedicated to make a difference in every kid's life by teaching them the right and important lessons of life. Unlike many other teachers, they are not playing with the future of our kids.
Later that year, Anika graduated from the pre-school to be admitted to one of the best schools of the city. I am sure her parents had been really proud of her. I was!!
When I started writing this blog, I wanted to write only about Anika, but now, I also want to write about teachers. I have always looked up to my teachers. A teacher can be good or bad, may or may not know how to teach well, but for sure they know more than us and for that reason, I have always respected each and every teacher of mine. Luckily I was always taught by best of the teachers, who really were serious about their jobs. Unlike those who just get into teaching profession to make some quick money.
So, the other day, I met this government school teacher, who stayed away from her family, did training for 2 years, and is now teaching in a remote village of India. When asked, she told all about her hard times of training and how she managed to secure the good, high paying job. Then I decided to ask more about the school, the number of kids enrolled. And her replies were not so convincing after that. 20 kids were enrolled and only 10 turned up for school everyday and teachers were there just to keep them silent for another 3 to 4 hours. Kids are given some letters to write and then teachers either sleep or gossip over tea. And she was telling me these details with a smile on her face, no shame what so ever.
It was very clear that many people are taking up the government teaching jobs only because of the good payscale and I wonder how our prime minister can visit each school to see if teachers are really making some good use of that money. It was hard for me to control my anger on getting to know the harsh reality. On one side, I see teachers of my son's school, who are so determined to give Anika a better life and on the other hand, it was that so-called teacher, who probably didn't even know the names of her students.
And we are not even talking about getting a degree here, at least basic reading and writing can be taught. I have seen so many people struggling in banks and other such places, to get their simple jobs done because they can not read. And we talk about literacy rates!! We blame the system, are we not the part of this system?
If I do not perform well in my job even for a day, or end up goofing up something, then that day is noted in bold letters and reminded to me during my performance discussion. And I may even miss out on my promotion or a chance of better salary hike because of a single mistake done in a year. And here, we have people with a lifetime of mistakes.
If I code wrong, it just probably effects a software delivery but teachers, doing their jobs wrong, effects the entire generation!! For kids, teachers are like a religion. Their words hold the utmost importance in a kid's life, more than their parents'. Ever seen a kid gulping that glass of milk because his teacher said that it gives energy, while you have been telling the same thing for over an year? So that's the impact we are talking about here.
I have no idea, how to end this blog, so much can be written and said. I am just hoping that some not-so serious teachers and some responsible citizens read this blog and help in improving themselves and the situation, wherever they witness such issues.
And a sincere thanks to the teachers of my son's school for doing their jobs with utmost care and diligence. They surely know that each kid is blind and he doesn't know about it. Its a teacher's job to make him see the right thing and take his life in a right direction.