The Sorrow of Teaching 

They get free uniforms, which they proudly wear on special days because those are the best attires in their box…


College life has become hectic these days. Tests, assignments, Projects, Ppts, Models, and what not – there’s so much to do in so few days that I have to compromise with my porno time. On Wednesday, I was teaching Mesopotamian Civilization History to six of my classmates. Then, the days before had ben torturous as I had to make the model of the Great Bath and finish six assignment questions. Assignment questions in graduation stretch like Indian soap operas – you keep expanding until you’ve included every goddamn possibility. The benefit of this is that you gradually acquire the skill to turn a paragraph into 10 pages, which might help you to write Gone With the Wind or something in your later life. 

Anyway, teaching is a soul-pleasing experience, I tell you. When you have students who’re genuinely interested in participating in the process, teaching becomes a blissful experience. Since we had a test on Mesopotamia that day, they were attentive as cranes. As I finished the last subtopic, the satisfaction was abundant. It made a difference in their life, a small and momentary one, but it goddamn did. I could see it on their faces, the confidence was higher now. 

My father too is a teacher, but it’s been years since he experienced the joy of making people wiser. He’s in a government school. Kids don’t go there to know Copernicus or understand Oxidation Reaction, they go there because every afternoon runny dal and cheap rice is served on old, dented aluminium plates and they don’t have to pay for the meal. They get free uniforms, which they proudly wear on special days because those are the best attires in their box. Girls get free bicycles, which are sold in order to add to the savings which must gradually grow to a perfect size in order to pay off dowries. These are the people Stephen Spender talks about in his poem An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum. Their narrow street is sealed in with a lead sky…

They don’t care about constellations or geometry, they are just trying to live. The education we are providing them is trash. And so they don’t listen, and my father, shackled with his limitations and beaurocracy and office politics and burdened with files and administrative responsibilities and a family, doesn’t make an extra effort to infuse in them the knowledge of Aurora Borialis or Continental Drifts. They are in a reverse-symbiosis relationship, where nobody cares for the other party. 

I won’t lie that I feel like doing something for them, because it’s a depressing collision with reality in the end. My father has been teaching for 22 years now, and kids are living lives as miserable as in 1994. You can’t make it better for them unless you have a trillion pounds in your account. The political parties aren’t interested either – no new news – and so it’s almost impossible to heal them. A few NGOs have popped up, and my mother works for those, but NGOs aren’t exactly the stitches you’d need to cover the wound. 

So I’m sure if I ever become a teacher, I won’t be in a government school in my hometown. But that’s a long dive into the future. At this moment, I like teaching my friends. 

Author: ravish raj

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