EdStory by Prof (Dr) Suryakumari Duggirala

School was usual, like all schools were in the 70s and 80s. I studied in Jawahar Higher Secondary School, Neyveli, a CBSE School in the South Arcot district of Tamil Nadu.

When we were in the VIII or IX, I don’t really remember, we had a free class and a substitute teacher came in to ‘mind’ us. She tried to be creative in keeping the class occupied. So she divided us according to the language we had as our higher level-Hindi, Tamil or Sanskrit. She then instructed JHSS 1us to design a skit and present it in that language! For the students of Tamil, it was very easy as it was their mother-tongue for most of them. The Hindi students were trying to rig up something but it was doable.

But us, Sanskrit students were aghast! How unfair, how could we mouth dialogues in Sanskrit?

Then, one of my classmates had this great idea. It was part of our curriculum to learn-by-heart several poems, shlokas, couplets etc We then decided to mouth those with voice modulations as if one was asking a question and the other was answering…and so on. We thus had never ending conversations with all sorts of expressions on our faces. We rolled, literally!!

The poor teacher had no clue what we were doing and was impressed thoroughly. She declared our group as the winner!!

Before I end, no school essay is complete unless you write about your PT Master and JHSS 2Principal!

Many of those ‘English’ jokes doing the rounds in our country have originated from our PT teacher. Yes, it’s true, whether you believe it or not 🙂

We were tired after basketball practice and bugged our Sir to please get us some coffee (there being no cokes in those days). The poor guy was afraid he would have to foot the bill, so he immediately said, “ Them Them Coffee, Them Them Pay”

Another day, he was supervising our class. He told all of us to be quiet. But then, there were few students who had to do a group project. So he told them, “ Both of you three sit together separately”

Our Principal, originally a Tamil teacher, was a very strict and short tempered person. He once was very angry with some of us and in admonishing us, meaning we were of no use, said, “ You please GO HOME AND COOK YOUR MOTHER”

Lastly, our famous PT Teacher again, “ If you talk, I’ll kneel down in the hot sun”!!!

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Seated L to R: 7th person is our beloved Manickam Sir, our PT Master and 11th person is Sundaram ayya, the Principal. Standing from L to R, 13th girl is me:)

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