From Chanakya to Korean pop — students of St Francis Xavier left no genre untouched when it came to pleasing their teachers. They celebrated Teachers’ Day a couple of days in advance as they wanted the teachers to enjoy a day of rest on September 5, which was a Sunday this year.
In the junior school’s event, Archisman Ghoshal delivered a speech on Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan — scholar, academician and philosopher whose birth anniversary is celebrated as Teachers’ Day in India. “Radhakrishnan believed education to be the passport to the future and that real education meant more than acquiring academic and professional knowledge,” said the Class VII student. His friends presented a PowerPoint presentation on Radhakrishnan as well as teachers of the school.
Riddhima Das of Class IV sang Michael Jackson’s Heal the world and Debanjana Dutta of Class VII recited Henry Derozio’s poem To the pupils of Hindu College.
There was a group dance and skit whereby the early days of lockdown 2020 were re-enacted. The milkman and hawkers are shown coming to a household and declaring that they are going on leave from the next day due to lockdown. But the man of the house — a teacher — refuses to take the easy way out. His daughter teaches him how to operate Zoom and thereafter he starts online classes.
“In real life, our teachers knew about online classes and taught us how to use it,” said Kashvi Dahiya, a Class V student who was the narrator of the play. She recited a poem Shiksha ke jyot jagate shikshak, penned by her mother, and also moderated the event.
For the senior school, the host was Ashmit Palit. He began with young crusader Malala Yousafzai’s words that one book, one pen, one child and one teacher can change the world. “Voyagers travel the world fearlessly as they have the North Star for reference. Similarly our guiding stars are our teachers,” said the Class XII student.
Tamanna Bandhyopadhyay recited, Sanjeevani Saha danced to Guru Brahma and D. Tanushree sang Permission to dance, a song by Korean boy band BTS. “This is a joyous song and is the first one that came to mind when I was asked to perform something,” said the Class XII student. “I don’t know if all the teachers know about K-Pop but yes, two of them got back to me later asking about the artiste.”
Students of Class IX and XI also put up a skit on some incidents from the life of Chanakya, briefly highlighting his messages of knowing one’s strength, getting out of one’s comfort zone and treating knowledge as power. “I’ve admired Chanakya ever since we studied about him in Class VI. He was a great teacher,” said Pranoy Ganguly, who played the character in the skit. “We too have dedicated teachers and even if I text them at 11pm I instantly get help.”
Officiating principal Anil Srivastava turned the tables and viewed Chanakya from the teacher’s perspective. “This is the kind of power and influence teachers have. Like Chanakya, they can transform the life of their student and in turn their kingdom or society,” he said, while also recalling the tale of the jungle-school that had a common curriculum for all animals.
“There was immense dissatisfaction in that school as despite best efforts, the sloth couldn’t run, fish couldn’t fly and elephant couldn’t jump. The moral of the story is that Mother Nature has not created everyone alike. It is up to the teacher to identify unique talents in every child and hone them without letting anyone feel left behind.”
Administrator Ajay Chopra acknowledged how teachers were going the extra mile during the pandemic. “Teacher training courses don’t teach Zoom but your teachers learnt it to perfection by themselves,” he told the students. “Teaching is considered the most honest, sincere and trustworthy profession so teachers are often assigned government duties like presiding over elections. But in Uttar Pradesh, earlier this year, some 1,700 teachers died of Covid after serving in the elections,” he pointed out.
Teachers, he said, deserved respect not just from students but also their parents. “I feel sad when I hear that a few parents ignore calls of teachers or speak rudely to them. Please ask your parents to be courteous because ultimately it is your progress that they want to discuss,” Chopra said.