In several government schools across Delhi, teachers say they don’t just deal with crowded classrooms and lack of basic amenities, while managing the syllabus and administrative duties. Being bullied by boys, many of whom are adults, is part of their life, they add. A teacher who faces these pressures tells The Indian Express that the murder of a teacher at a Nangloi school, who was stabbed by two students Monday, makes him fear for his life.
Teaches at a boys’ school in Mangolpuri
Distance between home and school: 5 km
Mode of transport: Bus
“It could have been me. A student of mine could have stabbed me. I deal with unruly students, most of who are in Classes IX to XII, every day. A handful of students create trouble in school and are not interested in studies. They had failed three years ago and their names were struck off the rolls after they didn’t come to school for months. We were forced to readmit these students. They have no interest in studies and none of them will pass unless they cheat in their board exams. They make mini-gangs inside the school and involve younger students as well.
If you search my school, I am sure you will recover 10 to 15 knives from students. They have stopped fearing teachers and the ones who are under the age of 18 openly say they will not be punished since they are juvenile. The situation is worse for women and they are routinely harassed by boys. Since the no-detention policy came into force, the value of a teacher has been undermined. I agree the teacher has a responsibility towards students and if a student can’t even read till class VI, the teacher should share the blame for it.
But the parents, NGOs and the government do not see what we have to work with. There are 100 students in some classrooms. A class with 40 students is manageable, a class with 100 is not. We can’t even make ourselves heard, let alone give individual attention to the weak students. There are no fans in classrooms and lights don’t work. Students are also irregular and don’t get guidance from parents. If 50 students turn up in class one day, it is doubtful that the same 50 will turn up the next day.
Students don’t fear teachers anymore, respect is out of the question. The no-detention policy has emboldened children so much that they don’t want to listen to anyone. A teacher can’t even scold a student anymore. Their parents complain to the principal and we are given warnings. Powers given to School Management Committee members means that they can haul up a teacher at any time. This is the worst time to be a teacher.
There is no dignity or respect in this profession anymore. The government is keen on listening to NGOs instead of its own teachers. All the new policies will fail unless we address basic issues.