Dear Nawaz: Thanks
It was my first teaching assignment at a school which had started new in the year 2003. The school catered to the economically weaker sections of the society and had classes from Pre-Primary to II. No one questioned my experimentation in the classroom as things were going on very smoothly. We celebrated one event after another ostentatiously and finally geared up for the most important event of any school – The Annual Day. One of the cultural events in the itinerary was a play in English titled ‘The Golden Touch’, a story based on the life of King Midas, and Nawaz, a student of grade II, was chosen to play the role of King Midas. Without explaining in detail the script, I just handed over the dialogues to the students for them to memorize.
As it was my maiden directorial venture, I would change direction every day during rehearsals in a bid to make it better. It went on for a few days with me scolding students for their under performance and finally one day Nawaz told me bluntly to have a clear cut vision first and then call for the rehearsals! His statement hit me hard and my bruised ego wanted him out of the role. My colleagues however pacified me and made him apologize to me. That night however, I pondered over his statement and planned everything in detail, scene wise and next day before the rehearsal I gave the overview of the story, explaining the significance of each character. However, I continued to bear a grudge against Nawaz.
On the D-Day, as the play was going on, I realized that a prop, which was very important, was not kept on the stage. I watched nervously, wondering what Nawaz would do and cursed myself for not checking the things properly before the beginning of the play. Nawaz astonished me by adding a couple of dialogues which were not a part of the script! As the play ended with a thunderous applause, tears filled my eyes. A child, all of seven years, whom I used to scold had taught me an important lesson in life of having a meticulous plan for any event before keeping it in front of the students so that they can perform under any circumstance. I realized how hard it might have been for them to act as per my changed directions every day. His words forced me to change my thought process as we teachers have a tendency to believe that we are in control always.
After that, we had many plays year after year and I used to visualize each scene to the minutest detail before calling for rehearsals. I head a school now and I am thankful to the little boy who changed my perspective fifteen years ago.
Thank you, dear Nawaz.
Sabitha Nair has been a Mathematics teacher for seven years. She has a B Sc (Hons) degree in Mathematics, a B Ed degree, M A in Education, Honours Diploma in Systems Management and a Post-Graduate Diploma in School Leadership and Management. At present she is working as the Headmistress in Jindal Vidya Mandir, Vidyanagar. She believes that learning is at its best when the interest of the child is kept at the forefront.