Monday, March 21, 2011

Who is doing it ?

I teach the Primary. Some of our mountainous challenges in this wonderland are getting the kids not to litter, not to use foul language, to share and avoid both, bullying and getting bullied. There are of course the other routine issues of ensuring they walk along the left of the staircase, hands behind their backs with as less a noise level as possible.

But there are signs of the hard battle we are up against all around. Should you be lucky enough to have a breather so as to look out the window during a typical school day, there you would see some of your stars....kicking ball with an empty pet water bottle. By the day’s end, there is that invariable and nearly empty dust bin, sitting pretty in the bang centre of a square foot of primary school squalor, including pencil shavings, aluminium foils, sandwich wrappers and toffee covers. There are these horrifying rides coming back to school from an inter school event, following a huge yellow lumbering bus proudly displaying the school name and there you have them before long, right in the middle of a busy road...missiles hurtling out of the windows from either sides... Frooti cartons and half eaten sandwiches or even fruit peels.

It never fails to bemuse me however that when I enter a class with a renewed missionary zeal and intentions of initiating some introspection , “Has anyone here in this room, ever littered their space ?”, there is first a sanctimonious silence, then censorious faces followed soon by arms firmly akimbo and a head that shakes from side to side. With the next question however, pandemonium breaks out....there is mayhem, “Does anyone here have friends who litter?” Good lord, what a question! Of course they do. Yes, yes...but of course...why, everybody has a friend who litters!

Forty odd, smooth baby foreheads furrow in perplexity when I wonder aloud, “Well then, who are these friends?”

There has been some sound and fury over Indian children getting socially experimental in risky ways. I am pretty certain my girls are not doing any such extracurricular activity where they are but then, so are my close friends.

If mine and yours are not doing it, who is ?


Kartik said...

The city of Paris spends millions a year to employ an army of men dressed in green. They keep the place relatively clean - especially on the one or two days a week they pass through any given area.

Their presence gives people a kind of permission to throw trash anywhere. It's so bad that there are even many neighborhoods where you have to constantly avoid stepping in dog poop.

In other places, like Switzerland and Singapore, no such cleaning crew exists, and yet the urban space is immaculate.

I believe Singapore has stringent fines for litter.

Could such a tactic be employed by your school? I think the enforcement would be tricky. Your girls might still be passing the blame to "friends".

Honey Sangha said...

Kartik, the irony of it: we in India pride ourselves on our personal hygiene. Public hygiene is someone else's job. I know that Aqseer and Asawari quite regularly pick up litter after strangers. I try and do that too and hope there is some osmosis whereby litter goes where it belongs. And then there are always the "friends", but of course.