Board results of Class 10 and 12 have finally been declared. Each child must have excelled in their own way — some made their way to the top, the mediocre hit the average, while the rest finally made the score. But being a former teacher as well as a guide to many students, I do not try to wish or celebrate any of these results. During these times, I recall my school days, which remind me of the hell that I faced back then, especially during my Class 12 examinations.
It was a debate competition for the selection of head boy and head girl in school. Being one of the good orators in school, I took the most infamous side of debating in favour of punishment. I had moulded my speech to favour the importance of punishment. But my words, while debating, took the opposite stance on punishment. The school head took it so personally that it resulted in my speech being stopped in between for no reason.
Joseph Joubert once said, “It is better to debate a question without settling it, than to settle a question without debating it.” I was wondering, was it my fault for talking in favour of a particular subject? Aren’t debates designed to share different thoughts and opinions? This was the first time my thoughts were smashed and silenced.
I had applied for a fee concession during my Class 12 boards, as it was not possible for me to pay for my studies due to my father’s ill health. The only option left for me was to either take admission in a government school, get a fee concession, or leave my studies. At the most crucial time of my life, it would have been the wrong decision to change schools.
I wrote an application to the principal, and got ridiculed with taunts when she responded: “So what if you are topper, your father had money to drink, but no money to pay for school?” My father is a person for whom drinking and smoking is talk of another planet.
That day, I was totally broken, the misinformation and fake gesture of my principal left me bereft and cheated. I was a teen girl suffering from a financial crisis, weakened family health, the stress of boards, and another upcoming major health crisis that left me to bear the burden of life alone. Though I did not lose hope and confronted the principal after this, opened up my reality to her, proved her wrong, and got my concession sanctioned.
I was severely injured the same year, and was suggested bed rest. Being a topper, it was not possible for a student like me to stay out of school for long. I managed with the pain and studied, but failed to deliver my 100 %. I was used to being called and slammed for my non-attendance. I was teased that I would fail to clear my boards, and my pain and position was nothing but a mockery for others. I still remember I used to cry for hours and was totally exhausted with the school. Afterwards, I was the second highest marks holder. I also paid back all the debt in the name of concession I had received, and found complete salvation from the cycle of school.
The awful time has long passed, but somewhere, I was afraid to be ridiculed and mocked. The experience I had in school silenced an open person like me for the next five years of college. I never took to the stage in college, and was always apprehensive toward stepping up. Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.
I knew I had to overcome this situation. I tried recollecting my fears, which rooted back to my school. I vowed to face my fears, and made up my mind to join the school just to dissolve my pain. I confronted my fear. The first day I entered the premises to check the school topper’s board, which must hold my name, sadly, I did not find it there.
It is necessary for the school authorities to look after their students’ social, mental, physical, psychological and financial status. The children in your school might be suffering from multiple problems beyond the administration’s understanding. Every child is special. There shouldn’t be more Kamnas to write about their trauma induced by schools.