Thursday, September 6, 2018

Soham Anand: Happy Teachers Day

A page from my diary
(to all my  teacher friends)

For a man nearing thirty, without a stable job, can have catastrophic social and financial implications. On top of it if he happens to be in love the situation becomes all the more critical and complicated. Either you land up selling lottery tickets or commit suicide. There isn't a third option.

I may have been well read, but was good at borrowing books, flipping through them flippantly, enough to pretend of my reading and literary skills and familiarity with hallowed names in the field of literature and best selling authors.

Armed with  slippery intelligence and  unfavorable stars, landed at the gates of prestigious Welham Boys' School, School to the children of some of the elitist families of the country,with an expectant dream of  securing a teachers position,though teaching was never my preferred preference, it certainly would be better than selling lottery tickets, so I thought.

Soon I found myself in the presence of the renowned Head Master (Principal) Charlie Khandari.
He looked at me for a good few seconds, sizing me up while I tried to hold on tightly to my trembling knees, for he was a formidable man with formidable reputations of an educationist, an ex Dosco, the ultimate School in schooling.

He offered me a chair.
First-round cleared. I felt slightly comfortable if not fully relaxed.

For good ten minutes or so, which to me seemed like an eternity, he kept working on his papers, while I shook inside my trousers, trying hard to remain steady, maintaining a pleasant demure.
Abruptly he looked up and asked whether I can teach English to senior Classes IX and X. I thought it was a neat little ploy to pack me off. My heart sank so did my hopes.

Hesitatingly, I said' no', I am not qualified, I only have a Bachelor's not a Master's Degree in English and I am absolutely raw. I thought that's the end and waited to be shown the exist. The clock kept ticking and he kept talking about nothing in particular. He, I thought, was simply extending a common courtesy before saying a polite no.

He picked up the intercom and asked for two cups of tea. My hopes soared. To be asked to have a cup of tea was as comprehensible as it was surprising.

Round two cleared, I thought.

For the next 45 minutes, he tried to extract all possible information about me, my socio, cultural, political and educational views. I was grilled and fried through and through.

Finally, he thought for a while and extended his hand and said,' the job is yours', but you'll have to teach English to senior school.

Ignoring my protestations, he said, I see, you speak good, can communicate well, you'll do well.
Teaching, he said is all about two-way communication. Content can be prepared and gone over any time if one has the ability to read and comprehend.

For 35 years I taught more of English, than my own subject, Modern Govts.

Effective communication is the key to a successful teaching career.


- Soham Anand, Dehra Dun, India. Originally posted on Facebook, for friends and teachers.

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