As Jeanette Winterson says, “The key to happiness is the tolerance of those who do not do as you do.”
Nina was a teacher at a school three blocks away from her home. After her husband Jim passed away, she needed something to keep her emotionally stable and teaching underprivileged kids brought a lot of joy for her. She fondly called her kids, Star Kids.
|Pic by Saee Joshi|
She always showed up early to her class & eagerly waited for them. In her small class of 10 students, there was a boy named Alex. He was a child of divorced parents and would often get in trouble with other students and act out his aggressive tendencies. “He would mess up the class vibe and environment”, some teachers would say. Nina knew he’s asking for love in the most unloving way. But she was always worried her class wouldn’t win the best class because her class would always be in a mess post the lunch break (usually when Alex would get into a fight and mess up the class).
|Pic by Saee Joshi|
One day, Nina hurriedly came up to the class and told them that their school was expecting some very important visitors & they would make some notes, inspect a little. This was the first time that the kids saw their teacher worried. She was worried that her class looked shabby, she had been trying to get some stains off that wall, her table looked messy, the chairs, the board. She had so little time to do anything! She would usually talk to Jim at a time like this when she was anxious & he would have just the right thing to say and make her feel calm. She instructed the kids that she would be back in some time and gave them a chapter to read aloud turn by turn.
She left hurriedly downstairs as she was a part of the welcoming committee too. Soon the visitors began going to each class, talking to the students and teachers respectively. When the turn for Nina’s class came, she was anxious more than ever. She knew her class didn’t look as good. But when she opened the door to her class, she was in utter shock n disbelief!
The class looked spic and span, books neatly arranged in the order one would need them to be, the shelf didn’t have cobwebs, her desk looked spotless and the chairs arranged neatly. To her utter surprise, the kids were on duty. One kid was standing near the books, one near the board, one at the door to welcome the guests and some kids had made a beautiful welcome card for the visitors. Leading on behalf of the children was Alex! He went on to give a small tour of their class to the visitors eagerly.
Nina’s happiness knew no bounds! She later realized that all of them had worked together on an idea put forth by Alex harmoniously. She knew it wasn’t easy for anyone but they tolerated each other’s ideas and worked with whatever they could do best in so little time. She knew she had done something right when she decided to become an Educator. She could never be more proud as an educator of her Star Kids than she was that day.
Rectifier @ Billabong High International School, Thane
- Pallavi Harkare, Kalpana Dodia, Rajshri Mohite, Prerna Khanna, Priyanka Iyer, Mahalaxmi Iyer