For them, teaching is not just a profession
These teachers are helping deprived students prepare for Board exams by giving them their extra time
PUNE: ‘Swadesh Pujyate Raja, Vidwan Sarvatra Pujyate’, which means a king is honoured in his country only, while one who’s learned is honoured throughout the world. Keeping this torch of education burning, a few teachers from the city are going that extra mile to help the students acquire knowledge.
Manisha (name changed), a teacher at a private school woke up early and left for the centre where most of the students from her school were appearing for the exam on the first day of State Board Class X exam.
Since the majority of her SSC students come from the slum dwellings in the surrounding areas of the school and with no awareness n, it was teachers on whom the students depend completely for the guidance and moral support before the Board exam. It has been Manisha’s routine for the past month to look after the revision and checking of the documents of these underprivileged students.
“Unlike any other regular schools that have children from well-off educated families, our students usually come from the backward socio-economic backgrounds. Their parents are often not aware or have the seriousness of the Board examinations. Thus, there is no conducive environment at home for them for studying. Similarly, these kids cannot be left alone to study by themselves by giving them preparatory leave,” Manisha added.
Just like her, many teachers at several schools are making that little extra effort to give the best to their students, all the while without complaining a word about it. For these teachers, making their students cross hurdles and complete their education is of the utmost importance.
“It is already sad to see the kind of trouble and efforts many of our children (not students, as she fondly says) go through just to come to school. Many do not have parents’ support, many do not have parents. There is just too little that we can do to help them and we try to do that the best,” Manisha said with a smile.
Not just their studies and revision, many times, the admit cards and other examination-related documents of the students too need to be looked after by the teachers themselves.
“We do not hand over the admit cards to our students until the day before the beginning of the examination due to the risk of those getting misplaced,” said Avinash Takavale, Principal, Poona Night High School and Junior College.
As most of the students going to the Night School work during the day time, they might also lose their documents at their workplaces. “We also keep photocopies of the admit cards handy, just in case a student actually loses his/hers during the examination,” the principal added.
During the course of examination too, these students prefer studying at their school, rather than at home.
“At home, I have guests or neighbours coming in all the time. Talking to them, looking after them takes a lot of time. At school, there is no other work apart from studying. That’s why, I prefer studying here every evening from 5:30 to around 9 pm, even during the exams,” Usha Jagtap, a student of the Night School and a resident of Swargate, told Sakal Times.
As these students usually cannot afford any other tutorial or coaching classes, it’s their own teachers that they depend on for solving their difficulties and last-minute doubts.
“It’s not very comfortable to study at my place. Moreover, I end up indulging in some time-pass, as there is no one to tell me to sit and study. At school, the teachers of the respective subjects guide us and help us revise what we have studied. It helps a lot,” Siddhanath Hazare, who also studies at the Night School, said.
The teachers’ additional responsibilities start not on the day of or during the examination but much before.
“For around 15 years, I taught at a tribal school in Thakarwadi (Vetale) area, located around 55 kilometres from Pune. With no access to Internet or smartphones, the trouble begins from the time the students have to fill online application forms to appear for the examinations,” Sandip Jadhav, a government teacher who has worked for tribal students, said.
He added, “Here, again, we teachers stepped in, connecting the students to NGOs that would help them fill forms. In rural and tribal areas, the teachers have to take this initiative, as it is the only thing to keep the students’ interest in studying intact. When even a single batch of students passes a milestone here, it gives generations together later the motivation to keep studying.”