We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves

~ Gautam Buddha

Monday, November 8, 2010

The promising star

After the completion of the diagram on the black board, I waited for the collective attention of the students in the classroom. Till then only few had only copied it whereas rest of them were still juggling at their initial stages. Though it was a disciplined class room but their different IQ levels and pace of work would often irritate me. In the generalized system of education everyone was served same pace and opportunity. Standing beside the board I halted for the time being to start the topic.

During the explanation, browsing through the class my attention got caught by the two inquisitive eyes among those reluctant lots of back benchers. But whenever I tried to get hold on that, I found that they vanished somewhere in the group. With advancement of chapters I registered a regular presence of an absorbing and assimilating mind over there.

“Isn’t there a boy in the fifth Std, observant and inquisitive one though a bit hesitant?” In the staff room I enquired of the class teacher Maria when I came to know about her flourishing group of tuition students. "That is Ruknubar— he is being fondly called Ruku by us. Not a bright one he is really-but polite enough and obedient. In fact he is a slow learner –before the exams he proves a pain” stated Maria.
As the session rolled in I found a permanent vibrancy in that particular corner of the classroom. Two inquisitive eyes were following every instruction of mine, working and jotting it down promptly. In the morning on my desk I would find his science note book with all scribbled answers of last class. However during the correction session his corporal presence around me would always got pushed aside by some smart and intelligent lots. Shyness and low confidence were his characteristics till then it had become evident to me.

But certainly a bond of empathy of mine was established with that particular corner. Now I found a new keenness on my part to search my attention holder student a bit deeper. I felt an urge to pull out that hidden and shaken self out of the shadow of low self confidence. I felt a need of precision while handling my empathy bonded scholar, as a bit of extra boldness on my part could prove detrimental to push him back in his shadowed self.

therfore I decided to work on fine level to pullout him out of the shadow of his perennial hovering low confidence. To prompt him to accomplish any task I preferred to put fine hints first. He was abysmal poor at the up keep of his notebooks with scribbled handwriting all over the pages, with equally uncared persona. Then I decided to work on each of them one by one, but what should be taken first I thought.

In the unit test my little learner charmed me again with his magic. The scribbled handwriting was the top scorer of the class. His score strengthened by desire to work on his weakness. To build a self confident persona of his that was the right time to put all the cords at right place.
Next in the class I appreciated those who had given the appropriate diagrams at every possible answer in the test. When I asked about those who had complied ,a hand rose promptly hiding the glow of earned pride on his face. I asked him his name- “Ruku –bu-, he faltered for completion, an embarrassment flashed on his face.He tried hard halting at several place. The class monitor Snigdha bailed him out of his discomfort and spelled out Ma,m, Rukunbar.

With not so clean look and often with crumbled uniform he would appear in the class. A strict vigilance on my part could turn other way so I diverted the attention of the class on the texts.
Back in the staffroom to unfold the entirety of Ruku’ s story Maria proved an aid-“his father works on a petrol pump , that one on the corner of our school he is an old staff over there so he earns decently. Ruku is the eldest of his five children only one regular to school others are simply not interested.” When I revealed my ignorance about his stammering, Maria added, “Not only this he is epileptic too.” One day she mentioned casually that Ruku had been taking interest in studies.He was attending the classes regularly with all completed works.

Holding attention on my empathy bound learner I advanced the task by dividing the class in four groups. Naturally to fill the positions of group leader the highest scorer and highest promptness shown in all activities was chosen. Amidst the cheers a self hidden soul stood to grasp attention and admiration of the class. I noticed he accepted the position in certain dignified way; a confidence was palpable on his face with a resolve to follow and act on every rule abided by the position.

Then I decided to step further, and during the moral class I raised the debate on personal hygiene and on the measures of personality development.

After that I noticed a change in his demeanor but as usual I had been choosing to avoid any keenness on my part fearing his withdrawal. But I was testing the patience of eleven year old one. Who was meticulously working on my next passed instruction and now the child was impatiently longing for the rewards.

As the group leaders were instructed to bring copies in the morning he would come dutifully with the note book bundle wishing me good morning. He kept the stack in front of me. Then he opened the page of the note book on the desk, I silently nodded in gratification. He was still there, lovingly I rose my head “what?” He hesitated –“Mam my uniform isn’t clean and my nail? he asked innocently outstretching his fingers in front of me.

And then I noticed he was there combed hair and well uniformed. It took me for a while to imbibe his pristine innocence, in response I lovingly added-“yes, you are.” With overwhelming shyness he darted out drenched in pleasure of praise.

That year he scored highest almost in all subjects placing his position at the top. And then unconsciously I debated- “who is important in action oriented process of education, Arjun or Dronnacharya?” my answer tilted to Arjuna.

After my stint of three years over there, to advance my career I joined bigger establishment in the same city still I was in continuous touch with all my ex colleagues and friends.

After the holiday of few days when school reopened I found an envelope was waiting for me, on my desk. It was from my ex school mate, Maria “after wishing me she had mentioned the good news Mam, your promising star shined the sky as school topper in board and is ready to soar the sky” I simply visualized him in my closed eyes wishing all success and best of life.


  1. You changed a life, you gave him dreams. Kudos to a great teacher.

  2. Wow! What a poignant little post. "Students are candles to be lighted, not bottles to be filled". You lit a candle somewhere. Be proud! :)