All the world in a classroom

All the world in a classroom

From the albums

All the world in a classroom

This picture was taken in 1980 on the terrace of NMKRV Junior College on the occasion of College Day. I taught English in this college and the picture is special to me because I am the only language teacher in it. I also remember that I was specially invited for it.

I joined the Junior College as a lecturer in English in 1978 after I returned from England. I worked there till 1986 and then moved on to the First Grade College where l served till I tookvoluntary retirement in 2006.

     The picture also has the commerce lecturers and some of the students of the outgoing batch. I enjoyed my teaching years because we were a small bunch of closely-knit teachers and students.

My friend and colleague, Kamachi taught commerce. She and I were active in the cultural wing of the college. We used to train students in dance and drama.

     And what stood out those days was the enthusiasm of students to excel in both academics and extra curricular activities.

     I also remember another colleague, TV Raju, who taught accountancy. He was very popular with the student community.

     Raju had also authored a couple of books and later went on to head the RV Management Institute.

       Thonteswara Murthy taught economics and was a friendly, cheerful person. There was never a dull moment when he was around. Ashok Kumar, another lecturer, as a very quiet and a helpful person.

     English was common to all the departments, so I would interact with lecturers from across departments and the students too.

  Theatre was also a big part of my life and I always participated in plays that dealt with social issues. I encouraged students to talk about these issues.

     One of the things that I promoted was an egalitarian approach to things without gender bias. This is something that my students talk about to me even to this day.

After teaching in the Junior College for eight years, I joined the NMKRV First Grade College to teach literature to higher classes. It was here, that I was part of a team that was instrumental in revamping, the content of the English text book, the methodology of teaching and evaluating it. We worked to achieve a more learner-centric approach in which students would have more opportunities to use the language.

For the higher classes, I would always carry a tape recorder with me whenever I taught drama.

      Sometimes, when I walked into the classroom or staff room holding my books, attendance register and the tape recorder in hand, I would always have a few students come running to my rescue and help me carry them. It was overwhelming to see their enthusiasm to help their teachers at all times.

But as the years wore on, I observed that enthusiasm to help the teacher diminish. I would find students sitting on the aisle talking and chatting about movies and television serials. Even if some of them saw me struggling to open the door, holding all these things in my hand, none of them would offer to help.

They were in their own world. The earlier devotion that the students had towards their teachers sort of lessened as years passed by.

My teaching career was by far one of best years because I managed to take forward with equal fervour both my passions — teaching and theatre. It was a hectic life those days but I enjoyed that rush and that made all the difference. 

 I am still in touch with some of my students on Facebook. Some of them have become very successful people. Now, during our conversations, it feels good, to recall our old days and hear them tell me that I was an inspiration to them those days and still remain so.

Laxmi Chandrashekar (Theatre person)
As told to Nina C George