Captive education


“Who was your favourite teacher at school?” asked Maggie as soon as she came home after attending a workshop on innovative teaching conducted by an organisation whose books and methodology of teaching are going to be introduced in her school from the next academic session.  I had just returned home after checking the answer scripts of a certain Board’s English exam.  Maggie had been asked the question in the workshop with the intention of proving the qualities of a good teacher.

“My favourite teacher at school?” I thought for a moment.  “ The Art teacher.” 

Maggie was bewildered.  I was/am no good at arts.  I cannot even draw a straight line properly. 

I explained.  My Art teacher used to come to the class, draw some picture on the blackboard, ask us to reproduce it in our book, and then go to sleep.  He never bothered about what we did after that as long as we didn’t disturb his sleep.  When his sleep was disturbed, he would wake up and ask us to show him our drawing.  What I used to do was to make in a few minutes some kind of a reproduction of what the teacher had made on the board and close my drawing book until the teacher woke up from his sleep and ask for it.  He would give me something like one or two marks out of five but would spare me of punishment.  Those who had not bothered to draw anything at all would get a taste of the cane.  There were always a few who wouldn’t bother to draw anything at all for some reason or another.  Such were students in those days.

“Why is he then your favourite teacher?” demanded Maggie.

“Because I never got the cane from him.”

Education in those days meant keeping the students in some kind of discipline and nothing more.  And the discipline was meant to keep the teacher in a comfortable state [of sleep, or something else not much different].

Education today means keeping the student in some kind of comfortable state, it seems.  The teacher has to be a kind of joker or at least ‘performer’.   The student has to be pampered. 

I am pampering the students while evaluating their answer scripts.  That’s what the Board wants. 

The extremes do no good to anyone.  Neither the cane nor the pampering is going to save the child. 

“Your student got zero mark in his first essay in English in the Canadian university,” said the mother of one of my former students when we met in a bank three days back.  Her son, my former student, is now a student in a Canadian university now.  “90% in the xxx Board is equal to zero percent in Canada,” I said with a laugh. 

I’m still looking for a system of education that will really work. 

Other than mine own 🙂

[The last line is a joke. 

The laster line is for educators.]

My more serious blog about my teachers: Some of My Teachers


About matheikal

My more regular blog can be accessed at
This entry was posted in Education and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Captive education

  1. Raghuram Ekambaram says:

    The joke that is not a joke is still a joke!

    One of my teachers made a sarcastic comment about me, something like “Et tu Brutus!” when I lingered at the balckboard on some trivial matter and not getting to the crux of the problem (in the IX Standard). You cannot believe how much I value him, Mr A R Gupta. Not just me, many classmates of mine, even today. No caning, no pampering, only sarcasm helps!

    Raghuram Ekambaram

    You may wnt to read when you have the time, a post a little more than 5 years old.

    • matheikal says:

      Even punishment has to be individualised. While sarcasm works well with one set of students, there are quite many with whom it is a pathetic failure. A stare is good enough for some. A word outside the classroom works wonders with some. A hint works like a miracle in a few cases… Ultimately, there’s no one standard formula when we are dealing with human individuals.

  2. dawnanddew says:

    Can an outing be a reason for a residential school student to remember me as his favourite teacher for his whole life:) ? Or let it even be a party! That too depends on human individuals. What do you say, sir?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s