(Read Sad lad before you proceed…)
Earlier in the day, Vyas and his friend A, had an argument in the class over a page in math. Vyas had done the wrong exercise and A was trying to explain that the teacher had mentioned a different one! The two, lost in their world, apparently were speaking louder than the rest in an already noisy class.
Teaching, as a career, is strictly meant for those with noble souls and normal TSH count. I would have fled the classroom on day one if I were to teach kids anywhere in the age group of 3 to 10. So, is 11+ age group okay for you , you ask? That question is out of syllabus!
The well meaning teacher did not waste time in asking the two to get out of the class! A, being a smart, disciplined, worldly fellow, apologized immediately, and the teacher ‘recognized’ it and asked him to sit. Our fellow, was by this time heading out to the door! Literally walking out I mean!! He stood at the entrance to his classroom for 15 minutes after which his teacher asked him to get back to his seat. He is said to have mouthed a ‘sorry’ which the teacher must have mistook for a sound coming from somewhere deep inside a well!
A , when asked by his mom, had explained the episode in detail and felt that he or Vyas did not deserve to be ‘punished’ because they were not being cranky or naughty at that moment, and it was something they were anyway going to check with the teacher. He felt responsible for dragging Vyas into the squabble and that it was unfair that only Vyas was made to stand out! That was a tiny partner-in-crime talking:) I thanked the mommy profusely for the help:)
Vyas was still brooding over the issue the next day and there was no improvement in his mood. I struck a conversation, a monologue rather, and told him casually that I did a goof up when I was in college. He was all ears now. He wanted to know more details, but I hesitated. He was getting inquisitive and promised not to tell anyone, not even appa. A breakthrough moment for me! With all that air of secrecy I told him that my professor asked me to stay out of the class because I was late and I was late because I thought that the particular prof was on leave that day and that it was a free hour. But the class was on when I returned! Which by the way, is a true story:) The teacher reminded me and another friend that we were too early for her next class!
“This is exactly what happened to me ma!” he blurted out! “What? you were late for a class? You are allowed to go out when there is a free hour”, I feigned innocence. “No, not that. You know ma, this A….” he did a ‘repeat’ of the story and the versions were in sync! It was out of chest. I laughed as if it was the biggest joke I’d heard this decade!
He admitted that he felt bad for being punished and the other reason was A did not try explaining to the teacher or prompt him to apologize. And it was because of him that he actually got into trouble! I convinced him that such things keep happening in school and the teacher only meant well and anyone in her shoes would have done the same thing.
Having removed the thorn that hurt, I felt it needed a little cleaning up and dressing. So, shared a little gyan on the need for the teacher to enforce discipline in the class as much as she is bound to encourage learning. In her place, I’d have probably sent the whole class packing or I’d have walked off.. That it happened to be ‘his’ day and there might be many more show downs like this even if it were not his fault. And that, as he grows up he will learn to take things in his stride. This does not however mean that getting punished is alright. Having fun must not be confused with misbehavior. He must continue to exercise the same freedom with the teacher, and not hold any grudge against his friend who rightly apologized. Phew!!
Ironically, just a couple of days before this ‘episode’, some incident at home triggered a conversation on the importance of saying ‘SORRY’. I reminded him of that conversation on how powerful the word is and that we must never hesitate to use it, specially if it involves our loved ones or elders. That does not take away his right to justify himself to the person concerned, be it the teacher, friends or family. “Yes ma, that is why I remembered to say sorry when stepping into the class”, he said. Me says, “Good. But the next time, say SORRY before stepping out of the class. It makes a difference”!!