In ancient times disciples used to prostrate before their gurus in a mark of respect and obedience. In a role reversal a modern-day teacher kneels down in front of his students and begs them to study well. The teacher is a headmaster in government school in Villupuram, Tamil Nadu. He is begging his students to do well in the exams. 56 year old G Balu has been a teacher for about three decades and a headmaster for the past three years.
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Balu is popular with his students since he knows that nothing works better than kindness when it comes to dealing with students. “The students who come to our school come from extremely underprivileged backgrounds, economically and caste-wise. They don’t really have too many ambitions and they find it very difficult to find the will to study. You can’t deal with such students with anger or punishment, what they need is for someone who could be compassionate towards them,” he explains.
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This is not the first time that Balu is doing this. In the school he taught earlier there were about 4-5 students who would always come to class drunk; they were going through a bumpy phase in their lives. Balu used the same way to persuade them. They ended up giving up alcohol, performing really well in their exams. They all passed their exams that year and till today they are in touch with their teacher. “More than excelling academically, it is important that they grow up to be good human beings and only if they are treated with kindness and compassion they can reciprocate them, he says with a smile.
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Today’s teachers don’t have the heart to be considerate towards troublesome students; they dismiss these students the minute they realise they are not respecting them. Balu’s ego is not get hurt when he kneels down before a student who is probably quarter his age. He says, “When it comes to academics, I’m strict about students’ assignments. But when they fail to complete and submit them I don’t immediately scold or provoke them. I give them extra time. This is generally how I deal with this kind of students. It isn’t really about ego. It just comes naturally to me to do these things.”
Balu’s present school achieved a 65 percent pass percentage in the 12th board exams last year, but this year only 25 percent of the students have passed in the half-yearly exams. So he was very upset with this and wondered what can be done. He decided to go to the students’ house and meet the parents. He held their hands and pleaded with them to study well for the approaching public exams. Villupuram is one of the backward districts in education in the state. But, with teachers like Balu with their humane approach, there is hope of progress. Teachers like Balu are the need of the hour in our education system where the poor and underprivileged need special attention.