Lessons on what not to do as a teacher

Author: 
Madhu Singh

Madhu Singh is an alumnus of Convent of Jesus and Mary, Delhi. She did her B.S. and M.A. in Psychology from Delhi University. She did her Doctorate from University of Rajasthan. She superannuated as Chair and Professor, Department of Psychology, Tougloo College, Mississippi, USA. She’s author of many research articles on the Mississippi school system.

Happy Teacher’s Day! Even to the ones I hated. For you left a mark on my soul, negative though it be. I still carry the scars on my psyche and the direction my personality developed.

Madhu Singh attended the Convent of Jesus and Mary, New Delhi.

Empty corridor and then there comes this woman with a crumpled face, floating strands of matted hair (must have been a poor quality wig), short of the ankle printed skirt and non-matching blouse. Screaming, “Come here you wicked child”. Scampering feet in a white pleated skirt and blouse, red belt, socks and ribbons disappear down the rabbit hole.

Mrs. Mc.Renha, I think her name was. How all of us prayed not to be assigned to her class. But for me it was not to be. Tiny me had to sit in the front row and inevitably got picked on. “How do you spell…..”. “Next” . “Kept standing” . “Next”. “Sit”. And so to the end row. Round again. “4 times 6”. “Duffer, keep standing”. All the way round and once again. Now go stand in the corner for the rest of the period.”

It’s not that I had not done my homework and learnt. Just that when my turn came I was petrified, dumbstruck, my mind a blank and the only functioning body part were the tear glands. A constant flow, soon to turn into sobs and then hiccups. Finally, horror of horrors, a stream of warm liquid down my legs. Giggling girls drew her attention to me. Hand on my shoulder, shaken body, “Dirty little thing! Go get the ayah and clean yourself.” Mutter, mutter about Indian ragamuffin. Fortunately being the middle of the class period there were no more witnesses to my shame.

Through the door, across the corridor, I watch them gather. The brilliant blue summer sky turns dark. How do they know break time is approaching? Fingers crossed I step out, hoping it's not the witches recess duty today... We open our lunch boxes covering them with our bodies. Hoping today we'll be one of the lucky ones to escape the scratching claws and beaks and beating wings as they scoop down in their multitudes, and get to eat out snack.

I hated school. I dislike convents, not only because of her. College was my redemption. I came into myself. However, thanks to you, my teachers all, I am who I am today. As a teacher I tried to emulate a few, but from those I hated the lessons learnt were invaluable: what not to do. So thank you!

Comments

It's sad but true - school is a terrible time for some people. No freedom - all fear. College is all freedom, no fear, friends of your choice.

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