Laxmi Natraj



Laxmi Natraj




5 mins

When I joined the school as a teacher for the first time, I was appointed as a temporary teacher. I was surprised at the level of hierarchy which existed in school. A temporary teacher is like an outcast who is appointed only for a certain period. So even the seating arrangement of the staff room was a corner for the temporary teacher.

I was given the science for 5th standard children. Almost all of them were too young just out of Primary and I just loved this class. Every science period fell after the Marathi period on 4 days of the Week. The teacher who was teaching Marathi was the PT teacher and was also in charge of dances for the cultural programme. She was the favourite of all the teachers. 

She was a good teacher but there was only one problem. She used to write the full board with tiny handwriting in about three columns, for the children to copy just before she finished her class. Every day when I entered my class the children will beg me to allow them to have some time to copy the notes from the board. They were small children and could not copy fast and I did not have the heart to refuse their request. Almost 10 to 15 minutes of my class was wasted waiting for the copying of the children

As this becomes everyday practice, I wondered not only this teacher but there may be others, who might also be writing the whole board at the last minute and putting the next teacher to difficulty.

On the last day of every month, we had a Staff meeting with the Principal and one school committee member. This was the first meeting I was attending. Though it was called a meeting, I was surprised that the teachers were just sitting and nodding their heads, as if they were obedient students. When the committee member asked if any teacher want to ask something, there was silence as no one moved.

 I got up, to everyone’s surprise---A temporary teacher and a fresh recruit dare to stand!--I politely said, “A few teachers write too much matter on the board and the children are not able to copy them and the next teacher loses her time. If teachers can keep writing small pieces and wait for the kids to copy before writing more it will be good for the teacher and the kids” I did not mention any name,

The committee member said, “Oh, this is a good statement. All the teachers please see that the board is clean before they leave the class”

I was hardly aware of the storm, I had created. When the meeting was over, found all teachers crowding around this young teacher, and she was crying, heartbroken. Others were fanning the fire saying, ” OH! God, what an insult for such a good PT teacher. That too from the raw temporary teacher. What she thinks of her …”. I did not try to pacify that girl because I thought that even the Principal was not knowing which teacher I was pointing to.

Days passed, and the Cold War continued. All the senior teachers stopped talking to me. This PT teacher never even looked at my face. 3 months had passed, and it was the school’s Annual dat funnction.

 I was given the responsibility for the stage organizing and mike announcements. For this, I had to first watch all cultural programmes to be staged, and calculate the time needed, for them to set the stage, and the duration of the program. I watched all programmes one after the other and finally the group dance of the PT teacher was to be performed.

She was a highly talented teacher for choreographing dances and this dance was a fast spaced lovely dance for the Tribal people.

After timing the programme, we were discussing the stage background the prompts etc. As her dance will require the whole stage and sets, I suggested that before this dance, will put a small skit of children which can be taken on the front screen. As the skit would be going on, the set for the dance could be arranged backstage.

The dancing girls all surrounded me and I told them all that the dance was brilliant, and their teachers had put in a lot of effort, so they all should give their best performance. As she was leaving, I congratulated her and said that the dance was brilliant and surely can win an award. On the final day, the dance did get the award because of the quick arrangement we could make backstage.

As the function got over I went to her and shook her hand and once again congratulated her and all the kids, Very few teachers thought of coming up the stage and doing this.

After this, to the surprise of all the teachers, we two became best friends. Next year I joined in regular vacancy and for 7 years I served in that school we were the best friends, and she always looked forward to my suggestion and help for all her dances and her favourite partner in all throw ball competitions.

The problem I reported in the staff meeting was only on an “ISSUE” and not an individual. Whenever there is an argument, we should remember that difference of opinion is only on the issue, and nothing else is attached to it.

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