My Job In Gander Academy

Cover of "The Principal"

Fourth Grade
Fourth Grade (Photo credit: edgeplot)


English: Photo of Jonathan G. Meath portraying...

English: Photo of Jonathan G. Meath portraying Santa Claus. Date approximate. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


First day of fourth grade


A typical classroom library (probably 3rd grad...
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

English: Fraser Valley Elementary School classroom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


My first two years teaching in a Residential school

Graph showing frequency (per century; blue lin...

Graph showing frequency (per century; blue line) and energy (brown bars) for the Richter scale. The graph is doubly logarithmic and both axes are numerically identical. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My friend told me about a school.Her sister-in-law was a teacher who agreed  to make arrangements  for me to see the Principal.He was a tall man.He was one of those people,who claimed to be a Bengali.But couldn’t speak the language.I realized then why my Dad insisted,that we must know our mother tongue. “Learn as many languages as you can,do not forget your mother tongue.” I thought about my Dad, when I was  being interviewed,suddenly I heard Major Rahman,the principal calling me,I straightened myself.I was dreaming I didn’t hear what he was saying. I scolded myself for day-dreaming. The principal’s last words were,”And you cannot get married for at least five to seven years.”

I thought this isn’t a job interview,my friend wanted me to talk to him.He is already telling me how to run my life. At that point I did not have a very good impression of the man.However I felt since I have finished school.I must make myself worthy of doing something. Sadly enough I’ve groomed myself to be a teacher, My choice was very limited,either I make myself ready to teach in a school or take a job in a college where my sister was a Principal. Well,between my sister and Major Rahman, I wasn’t sure, who was a better choice. What can I say about my sibling,she was so bossy,I presumed Major Rahman would be a better alternative.

A few days later,I received an appointment letter from Major Rahman. I was selected.I was required to join almost immediately. I was cautiously optimistic about this job. I took the job.I was provided with a room with attached bathroom,and I would get my meals free. Wow,I mused,”my destiny has finally noticed me.” I was given a class of forty-two grade two boys.Grade two I thought,how difficult can it be!

Next day I went into the classroom at 7:00 am. One boy stood up without any hesitation,looked at me,with a mischievous grin on his face, and declared,  ” you are our sixth teacher.”  Hmm,I thought in my mind, “Did they swallow the previous five?” If so, I have a battle in my hands,without saying anything I started doing what I was hired for i.e  teaching. I recalled my mother who said once,’you know children and monkeys are alike,if you make the mistake of easing off they will climb on your head.’ I seemed to have a challenging job,but no,’these  six years old,nah I will put them in their place.’ At 10:am the bell rang for recess,before I had time to gather my thoughts together,there was a loud uproar and within seconds the room was empty. As if there was an earthquake which measured 8.5 on the Richter scale. The gym teacher who was next door came out,”Oh they are very bad,I have to come out of my office daily to discipline them.” Yeah in my mind I couldn’t help but think,” so you are here to rub salt on my wound.” well the day is not over yet,”I’ll teach these ruffians,who’s the boss.”

The day finally arrived I was waiting for,I checked my watch,there were a few minutes left for the recess bell.I went to the door and locked it.  Nowsher,who proclaimed himself to be a leader,didn’t quite fathom what just took place,he moved himself in his seat.He thought he’d wait to see what his next course of action will be.”I am a leader,I cannot back down,I will not surrender,or my followers will lose their respect for me.” Then the thundering voice nearly made him deaf,”if anyone moves from his desk there’ll be no recess.” Nowsher finally realized she is not like the five we gobbled up in two months.This one seems to be in a different league all by herself. If my memory serves me correctly,I was teaching in the school for ten days. It seemed to me as if I was there for decades.What was behind all this frustration? not my little pupils,not my colleagues,who is making my life miserable. I realized it was Major Rahman,who  day in and day out was scolding the teachers in the presence of the students. This wasn’t something I could tolerate.On the tenth day I wrote my resignation letter, I had to hand it to him personally. When he saw me he was as charming as he could be,as if he was a picture of a gentleman with all the angelic qualities.He read the letter,looked up and asked me,”Is this a resignation letter?’ I answered in the affirmative. “You’ve only been here for ten days,why do you want to quit?” ‘I don’t like it sir,’I replied   “No, it is not a good reason.” He handed  back my letter. I was unhappy,but had to stay,it was a government school,it wouldn’t bode well for my future jobs. In the meantime I received a letter from the Research Institute, I was selected for the M.ED. course.It seemed I got my rejuvenation back,I can finally quit this place. My disappointment was at its height when I heard the verdict,I am only teaching for two months, the school will not release me.It was heart-breaking,I had to digest my pain and anger and calmed myself.I’ll try next year.They cannot stop me from leaving.It was the same story.

I was teaching as usual,it seemed these were different boys. But they were not,they realized they have to listen to me or else life can be difficult. Most of the boys were in the same dormitory as me.I only had my own room.They saw me from five in the morning till eleven at night. We ate in the same dining room, breakfast,lunch and dinner.The boys always kept an eye on me.They wanted to see what I was doing with my food. For breakfast it was bread and tea for me and the children had milk. The waiter thought he was very helpful,he would put a generous heaping of butter and topped  it with several tablespoons of jam. I noticed because the door of the kitchen was open, there were swarms of flies greeting us.I didn’t like the scenario especially when they sat on my bread and got stuck because of the sticky jam. Every morning I sat and removed the butter and the jam,but lost my appetite,so I did not eat.This happened for days.I was sick.I was told to see a doctor,when the physician recommended I have to stay in the hospital,I lost my nerve I told everyone I was all right.I made a quick exit from the hospital to my school. The kids were happy to see me.I started my regular teaching. Sometimes destiny gives us a jolt to remind us that too much relaxation  can be harmful. I was relaxing for maybe ten minutes,it was a week-end the ward boys were supposed to make sure the kids were taking their shower without any problems. It didn’t happen the entire floor was flooded with water and the boys were on their fours sliding,suddenly two of them collided with each other and one boy broke his two front teeth. The maid came running to my room to report this mishap. I was at a loss what am I going to do.In walked Major Rahman,summoned me,where was I when this happened.I told him I was in my room relaxing. At this point,I knew if he tries to be crooked with me.I’ll quit. Amazingly enough he said nothing.I must admit I grew very fond of the boys.They tried their trick once and afterwards they were normal boys. There was one other incident while I was in that school.I was invited to watch the sports in my old college.I got permission to go. I was hardly outside the gate of the school,the same kid who broke his two front teeth broke his arm. The kids told me as soon as I got back. They said I should always be with them,otherwise bad things happen when I’m not there.

Memories of school days - - 933744

Memories of school days – – 933744 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then came the moment when I received the British Council Scholarship. ‘I will have to move some mountains to leave this place,’ I thought. I suppose in the end God took pity on me and probably said,”Poor child has suffered enough,I will have to show her the green light!” The principal tried one last time,he said “we’ll send you,reject this scholarship.” I said, nothing, I kept remembering the saying,”A bird in hand is better than two in the bush.” I finally left that school.I only missed the innocent boys who tried to gobble me up,like the previous five.Later on ,I was their most favourite teacher!


Happy..Happy.. Mother's Day :-)..

parents (Photo credit: Mystic Lens)
English: Don't waste your time and do your hom...

English: Don’t waste your time and do your homework! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You might be wondering what kind of a name is ‘Ma’,I will say,’What’s in a name,it can be anything?’ I love the name,it is my favourite. My Dad gave me this name.

My family was a large one.We were a happy family. I started school at a very young age.My Dad probably thought,she talks so much.She is ready for school. She can learn many other things. Talking alone will not help. So I started school.Dad was glad I’d be out of his hair for sometime. He forgot he had to go to work the same time I was in school.Yes,I came back before he did.But I had time to be in his hair before bed time. Then I came to a new school.The teachers were not like your average teachers.But that’s beside the point. I was carrying on marvelously. One day I was about to go out for prayer,the bell was rung,we were supposed to assemble for prayer.I was about to run out,my classmate stopped me. She wanted to copy my homework,because she didn’t do hers. I was unable to give it,because I didn’t want to be late for prayer.When we came back to our classrooms,my homework disappeared from my book.I was a seven year old in a new school with this predicament.I was called to  present my homework.I took slow and shaky steps,I calmed myself and related the whole story to my teacher.I was not confident she would believe me. She looked  at me and then at the class mate.Her verdict was Ma is telling the truth. My class mate could not convince her. This was one awful day in my young life.

My teacher who was a  Nun was very kind and helpful. That was one bad incidence in my life.We were growing up,we enjoyed the city we lived in,but as with everything good times don’t last forever.We had a big mishap and our world  took a sudden downward trend. We had to leave our happy abode. Mom told us we have to leave our only home we ever knew to where Mom came from.We left our happy place to our Grandpa’s home. Our grandparents were not alive.Our uncle and aunt lived there.We lived with them for several months. My eldest brother bought a home. We moved in to the house.It was a small town.I was old enough to take my younger siblings to get them admitted in a school.

My younger siblings were doing well in school. My Mom was happy to be near all her relatives.We were getting used to a new environment. I finished school and took admission in a college. I completed two years and made up my mind to  go to a Girl’s College in a city. I studied here for two years and went to the university after completing my under graduate degree.

From all I know Ma finished university,studied in two other universities,successfully completed education and diploma courses.She taught in a school and was happy,she had finished her education. The last I know is she got married and moved away with her husband.


Teacher (Photo credit: tim ellis)

English: Homework

English: Homework (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Langley School. Langley Hall was buil...

English: Langley School. Langley Hall was built in 1737 in the Palladian style and was home to the Beauchamp family. It is now the site of Langley School (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Philosophy: An Introduction to the Art of Wond...

Philosophy: An Introduction to the Art of Wondering (Photo credit: Wikipedia)