My first job as a teacher was in my little hometown. I was warned by my Prof.,according to him it was a bad idea to be a school teacher.My big brother wanted me to teach in a college. My sister was the principal of the college.I knew it was not a good idea,my sister was bossy enough at home,to extend it at work,would be something I could not dream of doing.
I happily took a position in a local school. There were only a few kids in the school. The kids ranged from age five to fourteen. My first day was going well,at recess I noticed a five year old crying. I asked him what was wrong,he told me,he wants to go home.His Mom left him. I looked around and saw a a girl his age,running around playing with some other children.I stopped her,I asked, pointing to the boy,’will you play with him’.She was happy to oblige.Minutes later I found the two holding hands,happy and contented. Mom was forgotten in no time.
That same day I was called in to teach various kids in different grades. They liked me and I had fun teaching them.
Well I told myself, had I listened to big brother and took the college job,I’d be the one shedding tears,my bossy sister would make me forget the word teacher!
School. (Photo credit: zoovroo)
Another school semester is about to begin. While school means getting knowledge and making friends,doing silly things. It fails to attract me,I am out of school,I am doing great. Frankly I miss nothing about school,the boring lecturers, the overactive classmates and a dingy classroom,I am so blessed for not heading that way any more.
Although I am out of school,I cannot do as I please. I have to look for a job,one that pays enough to keep me afloat. Now it’s not easy to come by a job like that.
Maybe I miss school,my fees are paid by my parents or guardians,whoever happens to be holding that wonderful job. For me I just have to study, it will be an excuse to continue the flow of cash from my dear elders.
You know what I am confused,I cannot exactly say which one I like better. Both of them come with a bundle of responsibility. So I am tossing between in school and out of school. Do I like studying or working ? I’d say ‘Neither’. There you go this is my response to today’s prompt!
Journal of Contemporary History (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I successfully completed my under graduate degree. My aim was to study Economics. My sister discouraged me. She thought I was not a serious student and Economics was a tough subject, her advice was study ‘English Literature’ this was when I finally put my foot down. ‘No I said I’ll study History’. I got my way.The next on my list was to choose between:Contemporary History,Architectural or Museum,I leaned towards Architecture but couldn’t,there were not enough books I could get,same was the case with Museum History. I reluctantly took Contemporary History.
One of my Professors was a very strange individual. Whenever he passed by us,he wouldn’t let us wish him good morning or afternoon,he would just turn his head the other way. Whenever we saw him coming towards us we’d do the same he did to us.This particular day he wanted to scold me for reason unknown to me. He looked right at me and said, ‘I want to talk to you’ I was alarmed what can he talk to me about? There was no introduction of any sort, he said, ‘Do You Know What Your Problem Is,you jump from one group to another’,it is true I changed courses but I had a legitimate reason for doing so. Like a judge he gave his verdict and off he went. Another more kind professor said, ‘You had a better chance to get ‘First Class’ if you studied Architectural History,you have lost your chance.It so happens that all the honours graduates had taken Contemporary History since I didn’t,they were the ones eligible. They give first class to honours graduates and they pick only one,I had no chance.I really didn’t care.
I successfully completed my degree. As Tagore would say, ‘ This is the conclusion of my story and with it the dancing plant is chopped off’.
Bye to all my followers it was fun writing about me.I sincerely hope I didn’t bore any of you.Thank you.
Imperfection is something common in all of us,sports,studies, music etc..I do not think I was perfect in any of these.I would therefore relate a story of my brother. He was the best student in his class.He did well in all the subjects.His name was the first one in the teacher’s register.
In the last high school exam ,he hoped to get the top marks and remain number one in the register.Before he left to go to school he asked me to pray for him,so that he is not second. When he didn’t come home right away,I was concerned,maybe it’s bad news.I tried hard not to think,but I couldn’t stop. Hours later he came home, his friends brought him home.He came into his room and lay down in his bed,he cried like a baby.It took three days to get over his disappointment. To him this was a deep scar in his progress report.His classmate didn’t score big,he only got one mark more than him. I felt my brother would finally learn to take this kind of disappointment bravely. This tiny imperfection made him human.I was happy that he in future years,will learn from this. I always cherished this scar of his. It was the kind of lesson,he needed to learn.”They say failure is the pillar of success”.
Yes I am still in Holy Cross College.I was not happy.I missed my Mom and my siblings.I was aware I can only see them when we have holidays.The next best thing I could do was to visit my uncle on week-ends .My uncle was a very affectionate person,he came to pick me up every Friday after school.Fortunately he passed by our school on his way to work daily.My teachers watched me leaving every week-end.After a few weeks I was called in,and my teacher Sr. Joseph Mary said, she was worried because I went to my uncle’s place every week-end since I was there. I have to change this routine.I was there to study,she didn’t think I was studying a whole lot.
I was unhappy but I chose to study outside my home town.I am not in a position to blame anyone.I had no choice but to ‘grin and bear it’ as the saying goes. I met a girl who was as unhappy as I was,her reason was quite different from mine.She couldn’t speak English,not her fault, she studied in an Urdu medium school.I asked her name,she said it is,Aziz.I thought I heard wrong,I asked again Is it Aziza? She started laughing,she said everyone asks her the same question. I asked because I knew Aziz is a boy’s name.Aziz was a nice girl,she was happy because I could speak Urdu.
I was trudging along,then came the month of December and for the twenty-fifth,i.e Christmas day,the nuns had a party for us,after supper they took us to nearby houses to meet the people who celebrated Christmas.We were taught the Christmas carols in our Music class.I loved singing,so all thirty-three of us went to these houses,on our way, we sang the carols.They were thrilled to hear us.The evening went well. Sr. Rose Bernard gave me a whole bunch of candies to distribute.As I was giving them out she was watching me.After I gave out the candies to all of my classmates,it was my turn to take some.I don’t remember how many I gave each of them.There were quite a few left. I took the same number and gave the rest to my teacher.She had a big smile on her face,she said,’Did you not know Chaman,the last person gets the lion’s share,these are all yours.’ No I told her I cannot take more than them,it is cheating’. And I did not take the lion’s share,so ended a very pleasant evening!
Don’t be bored,I have some more.Oops!
A map of the languages spoken in Bangladesh, in English. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I was happy to be in a girls college. No one there to tease me or make fun of me. We can look for a perfect world,sadly that doesn’t exist. I tell myself,’What’s wrong now,you got what you wanted’? Yes I did. but this is just a different problem. One of the girls who happens to be from my home town ,made life impossible for me. She always said something negative,if I said anything.I was fed up with her.She happened to be my mother’s distant relative,which didn’t help.
This college was run by American nuns.They were very strict,one of the teachers Sr. Joseph Mary,would come up to our dormitories, to make sure our beds were made,also we weren’t allowed to sit on the bed.We were provided with small stools made of wicker,which is called ,’Mora’ in Bengali. Bedtime had to be strictly observed,lights were out at 10.30 pm. It was not a problem for me, I always went to bed at 10.00 pm.
Our principal was Sr. Augustine Marie, she wanted us to study every waking moment or else she would call a meeting and take us to task. In the evening we all had to assemble in the library and study.One evening we heard a noise,before I could think what it was, all the girls ran out of the library,I was not far behind. We left our sandals and ran bare feet,screaming,sister,sister,there were thirty-three of us, you can imagine the noise we made.Sister Augustine Marie went straight to the library to investigate.She found nothing ,but our sandals scattered in the library.The face she made when she came out was priceless! Despite our fear, we would have burst out laughing. But this was the principal we dare not make fun of her or she would send us packing!
shalwar_kameez-olivegreen1-001 (Photo credit: snowfoxcreations✿)
English: WORD URDU, WRITTEN IN URDU SCRIPT IN NASTALEEQ FONTS (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Yeah,I said I am in college now. It was a co-ed. college. My classmates stared at me,like I was someone who dropped from the sky without notice.Actually I didn’t study in any of the schools they went.The question in everyone’s mind was, who is she,where did she come from,can she speak Bengali,why is she taking Urdu,instead of Bengali? I said, ‘wait, I will answer all your questions.’ It irked them because I wore Shalwar Kameez and not a Sari. It’s all changed now,every Jill,Mary and Penelope wear nothing but Shalwar Kameez.My how the times have changed.
I started my classes in Victoria College,Comilla. I liked all the teachers,at least they didn’t have a whole bunch of questions about me.I found the Urdu class the most difficult.I found the atmosphere tense.I was the only girl in this class,the rest,you guessed it,were boys.I was so nervous,I hardly spoke.One day the teacher asked me a question,the boys were all ears,waiting for my reply.One of them said out loud,’Yeh bol sakti hai.'( she can speak).The teacher kept quiet,pretended he didn’t hear it.The two years in that college proved very uncomfortable.I told my sister I wanted to continue my studies in Dhaka.My sister suggested to take admission in the university.I declined,it would mean co-education again and I heard the boys were much more difficult to deal with than the local college I went to. I told her,no I want to go to a girls college.Okay she said if I didn’t do honours in under- grad,there will be a lot of hurdles to overcome.I wasn’t old enough to know the difference,so I got admission In ‘Holy Cross College.’
To be continued!
Comilla (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Court Road, Comilla. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Last time I wrote about my school. After my Dad’s passing my mother wanted to go back to Bangladesh.To us kids it was the first time we were going there to live. We were not excited.My mom had her siblings,she hadn’t seen.We did not know our aunts and uncles,we lived so far away from them,they were strangers to us. My eldest brother bought a house in Comilla for us to live.
I was sizing up everything I saw there. The potatoes were too small,the onions were probably one tenth in size compared to what we saw in our previous city. I tried to tell Mom,we should go back to the city we came from. Mom ignored me,she knew she lived outside Bangladesh long enough.There was no way she would leave her siblings again.That virtually closed the door for us.
I realized I have to go back to school. All the schools in the town had schools where the medium of instruction was Bengali.I knew Bengali,I was able to read and write,but this is all I could do,but to handle it in Geography,Science,history,Math was a no go for me.Then I was told there was an English medium school,it only had up to the sixth grade. I was in fifth standard in my previous school,and I was far ahead than the sixth grade in the local school. My brother hired a private tutor to help me prepare for the high school exam. I did not like the arrangement.I decided I can study without help. My brother agreed and I did the exam privately.
I took admission in the local college. To be continued !
- Fourth Grade (Photo credit: edgeplot)
English: Photo of Jonathan G. Meath portraying Santa Claus. Date approximate. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
- A typical classroom library (probably 3rd grade) at an American elementary school (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Gander Academy is in the province of Newfoundland,Canada.It is an elementary school.It is a school for children from kindergarten to grade six. I was hired to teach grade four.There are five grade four classrooms with five teachers. Out of these there is one for French immersion. My classroom was four Blue. I was a new teacher.I had to remember the colour of my classroom. On the first day the kids were lined up to go to their respective teachers. My class of thirty-three marched in, took their seats, and looked at me. I was not the kind of teacher,they expected to see. I was wearing a Saree,I had long hair and I was not Caucasian. The darlings were exposed to someone they had not seen before. They exchanged glances,whispered, then they were quiet.
When I started teaching,one of them said to the one beside him.’She talks funny.’ Then one named James was irritated by this remark, ‘he felt he needed to come to my rescue.’ James gave him a piercing look and replied,’No she doesn’t, My mom also has the same accent,you know nothing,people from England has this accent.’ So I was saved from opening my mouth. The boys and girls were sizing me up at this point.I was going along smoothly. Since it was the first day for us.I distributed the text books. They had their exercise books,a separate one for each subject and pencils, erasers and the geometry set.We were ready to start. The kids were anxious to go home and tell their parents regarding me who is so different from the others. This became evident,on parent -teacher interviews.
On the day of the interview,the parents wanted to see who I was,the kids were so excited to tell them? Gander is a very small town,it has a population of ten thousand and I’m sure some of them have seen me. My husband was an ophthalmologist. Half of the population probably had trouble with their eyes, so to know me was not unusual. When they came to see me regarding their children,they realized I was the one they were referring to. The day went very well,I was able to tell the parents some positive facts with regard to their children. However there was one mother who wasn’t quite sure how to react when she heard her child has an Indian teacher. At this point I feel I should let my readers know when one comes from that part of the globe,they are Indians. She went to the Principal and voiced her opinion. The Principal wanted to ease her mind,he told her I was the most qualified teacher in the school and she shouldn’t be concerned. As soon as she stepped into my classroom she confessed her feeling and also what the principal had told her.
There was one problem I noticed. Although they all were in the fourth grade, their ability varied from one another. Some were extremely capable,some could read well,some couldn’t,same was true of Mathematics,and other subjects.
Then came the month of December. The boys and girls were extremely restless.Their discussion centered around Santa Claus. They had to let me know what Santa will bring for them. They knew it beforehand because they wrote to him and alerted him of their preference. Santa never fails,it is his duty to keep the children happy. One day I saw a variety of gifts on my desk.I tried to review the situation,my brain refused to co-operate. Disappointed by my inability I opted to go to one of the senior teachers to solve this mystery. Oh she told me,’these are for you, and you have to accept them.’ Later on I learned ,at this time of the year,all the teachers are given gifts by their students and it was absolutely normal.At the end of that day I went home with all the gifts, my husband had all sorts of questions, I chose to ignore him.
Before the school was closed for Christmas, we had a Christmas party.Then we had an assembly,we all gathered in the auditorium to hear what the principal had to say.We sang a few Christmas carols. The assembly was over.It was time for us to collect our gifts and wish each other a very merry Christmas and a happy,”NEW Year!”
English: Fraser Valley Elementary School classroom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)