Friday, March 20, 2015

A lesson taught by a Teacher - #1000speak

This post also appeared on The Huffington Post

The first day at a nearby day care for Pihu, now 2.5, was a disaster. The teacher could not handle her crying as my daughter missed me, my number was not reachable and by the time I came to check on her, the clueless, dumb teacher shouted at her.
My girl looked all silent when she came in my arms telling me between sobs -"I want to go home". Immediately, I took her back and did everything to lighten her up. I am making sure my daughter is happy and her usual self. Also, I am busy preparing and looking for a really nice school for her, no matter how elite or grounded. I am so thankful that the prominent genes in my girl are of her Father, who was always confident at school, else I would be having sleepless nights filled with apprehensions whether I would be able to save my daughter from the same plight as mine. This incident freshened up the dent in my memory and took me back to the time when the timid, sleek-looking 8-year old me would get bullied almost everyday and once was mercilessly battered by a teacher in Primary school. I distinctly remember one day when I couldn’t muster up enough courage to speak truth, as I was too scared of my peculiar teacher. On one-hand children enjoyed when she used to humor but on the same side they dreaded when she got angry. Her voice would become so loud that the whole class would shiver out of fear.

I had a weak start at schooling, an under-confident toddler. And none of my teachers could see that let alone work on that. Years passed and I remained same, scared to go to school. I was in fourth standard and that day I couldn’t find my subject book in bag. Afraid of her, I took out another book of same size and kept it on my table. I had never done such thing before. The expressions on my face were enough to arouse her suspicion. And the discovery of the blunder done by me made the volcano in her to erupt. Without realizing the crux of my problem, she started slapping me. That day the whole class became spectator to her extreme level of temperament when she hit me hard once, twice and then uncountable number of times while making me repeat the word ‘Traitor’ after her.  Ashamed and trembling with shock I muttered after her and there seemed to be no end to the anger of this lady who was in her late 40s. It was the first time I came to know of this word, which got etched in my mind forever. With my lips slightly bleeding she made me stand out of the class, but I now guess that she got tired after so much of physical strain. After few minutes I was called again in the class. She was standing holding my book that was found later in the class locker. Apparently, it was with her for correction and I was too afraid to ask her!  ‘Who taught you such tricks? Your mother?’, she asked me angrily. I bowed my head in silence and shame, lips bleeding, cheeks red and hot in pain, and eyes dried of tears. I was again sent out of the class to be mocked by passerby in the corridor. 
Img courtesy
‘You should not lie!’ my ‘teacher’ in an unusual way explained to me.

The night that followed, I couldn’t sleep as I was affected terribly. I sometimes wonder whether the night was same for my teacher! I was just lying on the bed in the darkness of the night with my eyes wide open looking into naught. My mind didn’t know whether my fault was so grave to get such punishment. I dreaded the idea of going to school the next day as the word ‘Traitor’ echoed in my ears.

It took me years to come out of my shell and face the world confidently. In between more so-called teachers came and vent out their anger at me as I found it impossible to find my voice.

It took me years to be able to ‘stand and speak up’. In between I struggled to enjoy my childhood and adolescence like others but failed miserably.

It took me years to understand when I was actually right and when I was not actually wrong. In between I was always confused on the validity of my thoughts and was looked upon as a strange person!

It took me years to comprehend that it was more of my Teachers fault, rather sin than mine. It was their duty to work on my weaknesses, to nurture me in the best possible ways. Instead they acted like bullies looking at me with contempt.

I came out of all that misery, forgiven all of them and became a confident woman who still prefers to remain quiet most of the times but knows how to break the silence when required. Thanks to another institution called Family, my habit of reading and my will to survive. Each experience can shape us or break us. I chose the former as I always maintain both good and bad teachers have played a vital role to make me what I am today. I don't enjoy making fun of others and seldom oppress anyone as I know what it feels to be on the other side. That day has left an impression on me forever and so, I am determined not to let any such bad 'teacher' near my daughter. I am determined not to let her become a bully but at the same time not let her become a victim either. I am all set to guide her in finding her voice. But one thing that disturbs me till date is how can some Teachers behave like that. Where is the sense of responsibility when instead of moulding the small children into some beautiful person they destroy their personality completely? When instead of working on their weaknesses they punish them making them feel guilty about themselves at a tender age. How can a pupil of such teachers grow up to become good, compassionate person? And the fact that I got so harshly beaten up by a Moral-Science Subject Teacher in a convent, English-Medium, Missionary school make this harsh reality even more hard to swallow!

* * * 

This post is a part of #1000Speak - Building from Bullying Campaign for Compassion

Also, linking with Friday's Reflection