‘Mam, will you give me admission in your school?’
Aruna appeared before me in her frail mothers arms when I was rushing out of my office to proceed for a meeting with my teachers of the secondary section. I had just landed in my office, hurriedly finished signing on few documents waiting for me and rushed out to head for the 3rd floor meeting. It was already 11 am and the teachers, after a fruitful academic year and after distributing the results were relaxed for this last meeting of the year.. I had always enjoyed addressing my teachers most of whom were elder to me in age and much more senior in the profession.
When I had joined this very large institution I was just 36 years of my age and 9 years in this profession out of which 4 were in the primary section. I was selected out of some 58 shortlisted candidates and most of them had good experiences in administration as well. I was fresh. Was that a boon or not , today after 16 years as principal here I feel still I have along way to go. The students, the parents, the staff and the management, with all of them every day has been a learning experience. Still I feel the time has not come yet to discuss that. They had selected me for their own reasons and I have to fulfill their expectations was my only goal. And I made it a point to always have some concrete matter to discuss with my teachers in regular meetings. I am sure they also look forward to our interactions.
So for this meeting too, as usual, I had several things going on in my mind. I had to discuss about the new policy of government, about rules of corporal punishment, about many teachers taking leaves together, about new methods of lesson planning for the next academic year, about being unconventional in classroom, tips on how to dress well as a teacher to maintain the dignity of a teacher, how to spend their vacation fruitfully and come charged up for the next year in June and so much more…and here I was shocked and just stopped in my tracks…lost in those two extremely beautiful eyes, peering at me with a question….will you admit me in your school?
I quickly gathered myself together and pretending as if I have not seen her completely kept my gaze fixed at her very beautiful, fair face and big eyes and asked her, ” why do you want admission in STD five here in my school? Where were you till now?”
She said that she was removed from her previous school but she wanted to study. I was so moved by her determination to study. It was an eye-opener that a ten year old, who is dependent physically on others for any movement whose body is totally lifeless below the waist and whose hands are also not normal wants to study in a regular school.
Did I have a choice??