Roll Call and Registers

  By Sagarika Ranjan Jul 09 2018

She was panting hard! Even though seated at the last bench her breathing volume was loud enough to grab the teacher's attention. Finishing with the day's attendance the teacher began with the lessons.


For the next forty minutes while other children were taking dictations from the teacher, Shipra was trying to breathe normal, drink water and wiping her forehead off the sweat-beads.


Of course, she missed a lot of what was being dictated. The school bell rang announcing the end of the class and another announcement followed — the teacher had asked Shipra to see her at the staff room during recess.


The sweat-beads returned and so did the dread of the last beating Shipra had got from another teacher for being late almost everyday.


The next four lessons seemed to end very fast. With feet as heavy as the spoon full of convalescent meal, Shipra made her way to the staff room.


The teacher was waiting for her in a separate room, usually for very important discussions, researches and conferences. Shipra’s limbs went numb as she turned the door knob and managed to crawl in.


The weather inside was very different from what Shipra had imagined. The table was laid with good food - 2 sandwiches, 2 muffins and two glasses of fruit juice. Shipra found it difficult to ignore her hunger but she did and managed to say - Good afternoon Ma'am.


The teacher wished her back, asked her to sit and offered food. Shipra hesitantly ate. Once she was done the teacher said: "Tell me why are you late every day?"


All the beatings and scoldings from the other teachers came back to Shipra. She went pale and began to mutter clumsy apologies as though reciting a poem.


The teacher interrupted her and again very firmly yet very gently said, "You can tell me".


"Every morning after my father drops me in front of the school, I run back to the park behind the school to practice my dance. I want to win a dancing competition next month. It is not about participate and get an award. It is about my love for dance, I want the world to know. I cannot practice at home as my father thinks I should study and not waste time. I am sorry teacher; I will not be late from tomorrow. Please don’t tell my father. Please teacher……….," recalls Shipra — Founder Director of an art school today.


The teacher did talk to Shipra’s dad which she found out much later. That one day changed everything. Shipra recalls how during lessons the teacher would explain why we should keep doing what we believed in. She helped me understand my parents, connect to them better. It wasn’t a cake-walk but I think every child deserves a teacher like that, in fact, every teacher should be a guide like her.


Even by the smallest exercise in the class like roll call, a teacher can sense your mettle and hone it. That roll call changed a life — this is the power of influence that a teacher or school has over a child.

On Jul 09 2018 0 3

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