I was transferred to a distant school at the beginning of this academic year. The school is around 30kms away from my house and it is a typical coastal village with no much development. I was shocked when I heard about my transfer and was even more shocked when I heard that 99% of the teachers were transferred to distant schools and the aim of the manager unknown. All that we could analyze was that the management derived some sort of a sadistic pleasure in creating inconvenience to majority of the teachers.
I joined school on the re-opening day itself. The Principal was a very selfish lady who had been into a lot of controversial issues and she was the last person I wanted to work with. She is a person of beauty but not of any quality. I cursed my stars and started working.
The second day was terribly disappointing. I went to class. I introduced myself. First I spoke to them in English. Fifty pairs of eyes were blinking at me. I repeated what I had said in Malyalam and then was response from the class. I decided not to teach them that day.
“Take out a piece of paper, please,”
Again there was no response and everyone was gaping at me. Once again I had to repeat it in Malayalam. I think my tone had changed. Immediately students took out a piece of paper. I asked them to write down their name, address and other personal details. I got to know the students.
I spent a sleepless night. I was going to teach a class who did not know even the simplest English sentences. I decided that I would teach them in ‘Manglish’.
The next morning I went to school. The first hour was mine. I started teaching them the basic concepts of my subject. Students looked at each other and became restless as I started teaching them. One girl had the courage to stand up and say,
“Njangalku English ariyilla. Malayalathil padipikanam.” [We don’t know English. You have to teach us in Malayalam]. I thought she had a Tamil accent in her Malayalam.
“Ningale kazhinja varsham teacher eganeya padipiche????? English l alle????” [“How did the teacher teach you last year????? Wasn’t it in English????”] I asked
“Teacher Malayalam text vayichu padipikumayirunu” [“The teacher used to read out from the Malayalam text and then teach], the girl replied.
My face flushed with anger. I sternly told her that the medium of instruction is English and so I would use English as well as Malayalam. I told them that there was no question of me reading out a Malayalam text to teach them. I had my own way to teach them. I told them if they had any complaints they could complain about me to the Principal or to the Manager.
I saw the frustration on the students’ faces. I decided that I was not going to give in. I knew it could be difficult but I was adamant. This particular school had the best result for the Higher Secondary Examination March 2011and the students here claim that none of them wrote their examinations in English and they were taught completely in Malayalam!!!!! I was angry with the teachers. Did they not have the responsibility to teach these students in English??????? When NCERT text was prescribed for all subjects, how come they buy Malayalam texts for students?????? How come they read out what is in the text instead of teaching?????? And finally they achieve the best results when their quality was miserable. What an irony?????!!!!!!
I strongly feel that results should not the ultimate aim of a teacher. It is the duty of a teacher to bring about an overall development in the students. Is it not selfish on the part of teachers to teach students only in Malayalam with an aim of getting 100% results????? How can these students survive the next year in college??????? It is here that the students realize that they are a big zero.
Students admitted to the Plus one are a class of unbaked students. 95% of them don’t understand English nor do they know how to read in English. It is a laborious task teaching them but by the second year they start following what is said in class. I really don’t understand the logic behind teaching only in Malayalam. 99% of the teachers don’t teach their own children in local schools. They are sent to other streams like ISC, CBSE or to English medium schools. It is very difficult for students from government and aided Malayalam medium schools to fare well in interviews. I feel it is the responsibility of the teachers to teach them English in schools itself. This is not happening in many schools.
When I argued that students should learn how to speak in English, a teacher asked me,
“Alla, evare English padipichu IAS kar aakano????” [Are you planning to make them IAS officers by teaching them English????]
After all they are the children of the poor and they don’t need a foreign language to work as manual labourers, right??????!!!! What a selfish breed!!!!!!