3 years

Pedagogy

Confessions of a Municipal Schoolteacher

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“What is the harm in corporal punishment? Children fear no one these days. They know we have to promote them”

“What is the harm in corporal punishment? Children fear no one these days. They know we have to promote them”

I became a teacher at a Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) school believing that the profession was a respectable one. Plus, there was the job security of working for the government. On both counts, I have been wrong. I haven’t been paid my salary since February. The MCD also stopped my medical allowance, making it a ‘cashless’ scheme instead; a scheme that has not come into effect in the past two years. How does one expect teachers to remain committed under such circumstances? I would not send my own child to such a school.

For the longest time, our classrooms had tin sheets for roofs. In the summers, it was impossible to sit there. It is only now that new classrooms are being constructed. The biggest irony is a tube-well inside the school premises, the only source of drinking water here. The MCD officials discovered that the TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) of the water was more than 1,000 parts per million, a highly toxic level. Instead of providing the school with an RO water purifier, they put a sign on the tube-well that reads, ‘This water is unfit for drinking’. The school is also supposed to provide free uniforms and books to children. The session started in April, and they still have no books. Sweaters were provided in March, long after winter was over.

Of course, officials are aware of this. They routinely come for inspection, have chai-paani and go back. But none of us dare raise our voice. There is a running joke that any kind of dissent would mean that you get posted to Shahdara, a fate worse than being deported to Kaala Paani.

What is the harm in corporal punishment? I studied in an MCD school and in those days, every teacher’s desk had a cane. Thanks to that iron-fisted discipline, I achieved something in life. Children fear no one these days. They know we have to promote them even if they don’t study.

(This individual has been teaching in MCD schools for the past 13 years)