Monday, 30 June 2014

Acknowledging the Success of our students in the Boards

It goes without saying that when the board results for grade twelve were announced this year, it gave me a great high as a teacher. The previous year had been a difficult year as constantly we had to convince the Science Stream students to work hard in English, and this came as no easy task since most of them wanted to join Engineering or Medicine. A common answer that I got was, ‘Why Sir, we don’t need very high marks in English, after all, what matters is our getting the minimum pass marks, and anyway, our passing the entrance exams is what matters after all! Such answers from my Science students drove me towards a feeling of despair, and I wondered what I was doing with students who were not even interested in English! True, they spoke fluently enough, but when they wrote their answers in the various tests, they just didn’t stick to the accepted norms, formats, and conventions. They just wanted to do there own thing!
The case with my Humanities stream students was different, however. They responded well, and took notes meticulously, they entered into debates on social issues, and, often the discussions on themes, plots, and characters lead us into other subject areas like Sociology and Psychology. I often wondered whether this was anything but an English class! Yes, the Humanities stream students maintained notebooks so well that they were in great demand with the students of the other sections. I had great expectations from the Humanities section and they did not let me down! What made teaching a joy in the Humanities Section was that there were fewer disruptions, fewer interruptions, and yes those ubiquitous Physics and Maths refreshers were not to be seen anywhere on the desks! It seemed as if they were completely focussed on their tasks and they even had set down their goals and aims for life after school.
It came as a great surprise, however while taking classes with the Science stream students, it became very clear that some of the students had a better inclination for  English, but then, parental pressure, peer pressure, and the glamour associated with Engineering and Medicine had swayed them into choosing those subjects even if they didn’t have an inclination for the same. It wouldn’t surprise me to see many of the Science Stream students switching over to Humanities streams at the graduate level, after all, the student who scored the highest marks of a whopping 98 marks out of a total of 100 belonged to the Science Section! Surely some of the best colleges in the capital would have offered her a seat in the B.A. (Hons) programme if she had shown interest. Towards the end of the session and right before the exams, another student of mine who belonged to the Science stream began meeting me in school for tutorials that would help him in the exams. He took away most of the time, but then I guess it had been worth it for him as well as myself, because at the end of the day he was able to come up with a whopping 95 marks out of 100. Well, he did call me up after the exams to express his gratitude, and I told him that he had deserved those marks because of his dedication during the last days. Maybe, if students like him had paid more attention throughout the year, who knows, the results might have gone up by more points!
Ultimately, they say, there is no gain without pain, and the pain of reminding the students to pay more attention, and convincing them to follow specified conventions and formats, and the explanation of the fact that it was not about knowing the answers to all the questions that mattered but the ability to complete the task in two hours and thirty minutes with thirty minutes to spare did not go waste! Ultimately the remarkably high marks that students from all the three sections got has been a re-affirmation on their part that they had been the best students we could ever have had. It has been a testimony that the students had been after all very hard working and that they had the desire to prove to their parents and their teachers, that yes, they could do it!
Nothing can beat the feeling of greatness that an educator feels when his or her students achieve success of the greatest levels. No money, no reward can be greater than when your student comes to you to tell you that he or she has finally done it! The credit for the amazing results that the students of my school have achieved goes to the students entirely, it has been thanks to their hard work, their patience, and of course their readiness to trust in their educators, their promptness in turning in assignments, notebooks, and any other tasks assigned to them. I guess, last but not last, the credit goes to those parents who stood by their children at all times. I have known of mothers who took leave from work in order to be around when their children were studying. I have known of parents who would stay awake all night while their children were studying. There have been fathers who would take their children to the coaching centre and back home. There have been parents who would go to the Photocopy shop to photocopy notebooks and other study materials while their children studied at home. How great these lucky parents must have felt to hear about the results of their children. The success that the students achieved in the boards was all because of a partnership that existed between the students, their parents and the educators! Finally, I would like to thank Alankrita Chikkara, my colleague for all the support provided by her, in spite of the fact that she had been keeping busy with students' services. Her dedication and hard work, her guidance and readiness to listen to the students meant that they simply could not fail her, and so this is how they thanked her, by giving her a wonderful result!

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