Monday, February 25, 2013

The Transition

It is that time of the year when teachers sit shell shocked, gel pen poised over the final report cards. They shake their heads slowly, willing themselves to absorb the impending conclusion of the session. Any attempt to look back only brings forth a blur. It seems as though the year is getting over before it had a chance to begin.

It was no different the year before and the one that preceded it!

The school calendar is so choc-a-bloc that its sheer momentum numbs. There is a pattern. The year takes off well; there is the novelty of the class and teacher composition. But as the events come steam rolling, there is a Ferris Wheel syndrome. Students and teachers hang on to their seat arms, buffeting through tests, competitions, festivals, tournaments, workshops until their eyes begin to glaze over with the effort to keep up. And it isn't until December that they take their second look at each other.

It is the first time in the year that teachers will feel a pang. The students look dearer, now that they are ready to pass on to the next class. “There is so much more I could have done with them,” some are likely to tell themselves. Their eyes linger on the young faces, knowing fully well that most will be unrecognizable should their paths cross again.

The incoming class does not know it yet but the stage is being set up for the grand comparison. “My last class was so much brighter. You all are not a patch on them,” the pearls will spew forth over the first few months. Then like every other year, just as the familiarization gets underway, the Sports Day and the Annual Function will rear their heads. It is in the translucence of the dust settling on these frenzied celebrations that the new class will reach its peak. In that magic moment of complete synergy between the teacher and the taught, primed for take-off, just as they are slipping into some rhythm, the tail end of the school’s annual calendar will loop into view and they will be off again, hurtling and careening through the remaining year.

The word is transition; it is a time for mixed feelings. There is sadness to see off a batch and excitement at the first blank page with a new class in the new school year. Welcome 2013-14!

(Published in the Times of India Student Edition on 27 Feb 2013)

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