“No two individuals are alike”
Mrs. Indrani Sudarshan says that being a teacher is like the flow of running water. Your experience is continuous and can never go in the reverse direction.
Mrs. Indrani’s mother was a teacher and so were two of her elder sisters. Looking at them inspired her to take up teaching. The neatly combed hair, crisp cotton saris with books in hand was the most pleasant sight for her signifying elegance, respect and a dignified aura. Her work brought her up to the position of Program Coordinator at Bishop Cotton Boys’ School where she worked for 15 years. Being one of the largest schools in India, the experience was just amazing. She adds that her name has found pride of place in the Limca Book of Records for two consecutive years for staging the largest Christmas Pageant ever. Each year over 2000 students used to participate in these mega shows. She has also been recognised for her contribution towards education by the Rotary Midtown and has received the Best Teacher’s Award from Bishop Cotton Boys’ School.
Moving on to Ebenezer International School as Academic Director has given her a larger scope and outlook. Right from approvals of design to landscaping, syllabus forming to the nitty gritty of things, the experience here has been huge and fulfilling. Every day is the beginning of a new chapter. Life is interesting and motivational, something new to learn each day.
She further adds that each child is unique and handling student’s right from Kindergarten level to High School is a daily learning experience. At each stage in the life of a student (especially in today’s world), we as adults have to change a lot to enable a child to grow to his/ her full potential. The way a teacher guides his/ her students is extremely important these days as the exposure they have is unbelievable. What is right and wrong has to be carefully conveyed to today’s youth. Personally, she does not believe in the adage ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child’. Children are entrusted to teachers to be taught what is good for them and what they learn at school level remains with them for life.
Today when her students visit her she is highly amused when they tuck in their shirts, straighten their ties, see that their hair is in place and their shoes well polished! And mind you, some of them are top doctors, engineers, lawyers, corporate big-shots and of course, teachers who instil the same values in their own students today.
Mrs. Indrani further adds that being a B.A., B.Ed, is not enough as what your students teach you is more important than any educational degree. They teach you to laugh with them, sympathise with them, enjoy an occasional ice cream and allow you into their world of imagination and dreams.
Mrs Indrani’s day begins with expectations of what the new day will bring. She says a silent prayer for each and every student, parent and colleague. The bright faces accompanied with a ‘Good morning, Ma’am’, provide an exciting start to her day. It is also delightful when an occasional compliment comes her way. She smilingly adds that it is always the boys who pass remarks like- “You are looking nice today” or even a comment like “Please don’t wear that colour ever again!”
A day could be like a bag of mixed expectations. You never know what is in store. From a tiny tot coming to tell you that his best friend doesn’t want to be friends with him anymore , to a junior student complaining of an ‘unseen’ stomach ache, to a middle school student who perpetually forgets to complete his homework, to the always smart young teenager who knows everything -your day could just be anything.
Mrs. Indrani’s work has also taken her to a larger frame wherein her interaction with both parents and colleagues on a daily basis has enhanced her very thinking. She often hears parents say that they are not able to control one child of theirs and wonder how teachers manage to bring out the best in so many children. ‘Well, probably that’s why we are teachers’ she happily quips!
The most challenging encounter she faces in her career has been talking to parents of children with special needs. No parent wants to hear that their son or daughter needs that extra help which at times cannot be provided in the mainstream school. So, how does one manage that? Probably today with science and technology being so advanced, one is able to identify a child with special needs soon enough. Earlier a child just went through the struggle and often had to drop out midway as he or she could not cope up with the pressure of learning. Once a child is identified, then comes the task of talking to the parents. Early acceptance gives a huge advantage to the child as with cooperation, the child benefits. The journey with such children is simply praiseworthy. Mrs Indrani adds that what they achieve along the way feels like your own victory.
In her career span of over 25 years, there are umpteen incidents that have been very challenging for her. She quietly asks- ‘What do you do when you hear that your student is suffering from the deadly ‘C’ (cancer)?’ Over the years, she has seen many. ‘You go through what the family goes through. You hold the hands of the little one narrating Fairy Tales and holding back your tears you pretend that life is like one big adventure filled with candy and toys. How do you react when you see your young student write his Board exam from a hospital bed due to a weak heart condition? How do you react when in a couple of years you go to bid a final farewell as God had other plans for the child? What do you do when you hear that your student has moved on due to the mistake of another?’ Similarly, there are happy occasions too, that she’s equally been a part of. ‘How do you react when you receive a call telling you that your student has found a life partner? How do you react when they ask you to suggest names to the little addition into their family?’ The life of a teacher teaches you lessons for life. Every child becomes your own and you adapt to feel the pain, the sorrow, the joy and the happiness. The students belong to the teachers and the teachers to them. When Mrs. Indrani hears a parent say that she is thought about every single day for bringing in a transformation in their child for whom they had no hope, it is the most satisfying reward for her. Nothing else matters.
Mrs. Indrani’s advice would be to always listen to children. They have an identity of their own and we should let them live their dreams. She often hears parents say they want to give their children all that they didn’t have. But here one has to move with caution. Too much too soon also leads to children not being able to handle it. They should earn what they need and want.
She adds that difficult times come along at the most unexpected moment. Every day, one must work like there is no tomorrow. Suddenly you may realise that there has been a dent in the tracks, but you learn to cope with the change and take things in your stride. Definitely, you look for the horizon and with God’s help, it is possible.
She always refers to the 5 fingers- just as each finger is of a different size so also are human beings. She says you cannot even expect siblings to be alike. Each one is unique with their own traits. Today when she looks at her own grandsons Niraav and Nirvaan, she can see that her favourite quote of ‘no two individuals are alike’ is so true.
Mrs. Indrani’s philosophy in life is that no one is useless. God has blessed each one of us abundantly. We need to tap our own talents and bring them out. She always tells her students to look at the word IMPOSSIBLE. Break it up and you get- I’M POSSIBLE. It is indeed a very fortunate thing that people like Mrs. Indrani are there to guide our future generations.
Team Storified.Me wishes her a long and fulfilling innings with her dear students!