Thursday, January 6, 2011

More lessons from a village school: what about the other teachers?

Last week, Gandhi Fellow Kabir Arora wrote about the honesty, energy and pessimism he saw in the school where he is doing his village immersion. That post focused on the Headmaster. Today, he writes about the other teachers. He finds that that there is often a gap between politics and practice in a classroom.

What about the other teachers?
As told, only the lady teacher and PTI used to take their class regularly and honestly. I was inspired by the teaching technique adopted by the lady teacher. She never sat higher to the kids. Picture making and rhymes were always a part of her teaching technique. She is very eager to learn alternative ways. Bhagirath ji also acknowledge and appreciate her way of teaching. But he never discloses what he knows which can be useful for her class.

PTI prefers to speak Marwari to Hindi. Initially I found him very rude from his physical gestures. He opened up after borrowing Vagarath Hindi literary magazine. He was surprised to know that even I like to read “that kind of books”. We interacted for once when he told me about the laid back attitude of the Headmaster for sports. He said he want to do lot of things in school that he is not allowed to do. I accepted that and told him not to loose heart, things will change. When I was leaving the school, I saw him turning emotional. He wanted me to visit his place but time was not in my hand.

Vijay ji is the in-charge of food arrangements. He even take his class regularly, but comes under the influence of Satpal ji, who prefers to discuss politics whenever he gets time.

Surjit ji always asks a very deep level of questions for which there are no clear answers. I tried answering them with a very balanced opinion at many instances, or even avoided them. He was also influenced by Satpal ji and avoided classes when all three were together and HM absent. I'm thankful to him for giving lift while heading back home daily.

Now for the much talked about character, Satpal ji. He always complained about the kind of tasks assigned to teachers. I agreed with his anger. He was not even very just to his work. He criticized political system in the country but never did anything to change it from his school. On my last day we organized a Baal Sabha dedicated to Mahatama Gandhi. He gave a long speech which lasted for more than twenty minutes, talking about deficiencies of modern-nation state. I don't think students understood a single word uttered by him. 
For more of Kabir's experiences, see:
If I were my own teacher: confidence, colour and voices
Steep Climb 
Tourist Guide  


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