Way back in 1963, when HG Jani joined Erin N Nagarwala School as a teacher, then known as National Model School, little did he know that he was entering into a bond that will be for life.
“My love for education and kids inspired me to continue working with the school, although in different capacity. Hence, I never felt I retired from my job,” says the 75-year-old, who has to his credit over 35 years of experience of teaching Hindi and is still sought-after and consulted by students and teachers alike.
Even though he retired in 1999, Jani visits his former school (a residential school) every Monday and works for three hours. He guides students to handle their respective bank accounts – a job which he handled even before his retirement alongside teaching.
Jani says that children who study in English medium schools find Hindi to be a difficult subject.
“It is up to the teacher to make the subject interesting. I strongly believe that no student is dull. They can be careless and disinterested sometimes but not dull. During my teaching days, every time I came across a child weak in Hindi, I got down to his level first and then tried to bring him to the level of other students,” says Jani.
Jani completed his schooling from RCM Gujarati School followed by graduation from Nowrosjee Wadia College. Alongside his graduation, he was not only working as a primary teacher at the school he studied but also pursued specialisation in Hindi from Rashtrabhasha Prachar Samiti Wardha. From 1961 to 1963, he pursued BEd from Ahemdabad, after which he joined Erin Nagarwala School.
“Though I joined as a Gujarati teacher, looking at my background in Hindi, the authorities asked me to teach Hindi the next year,” says the septuagenarian, whose favourite Hindi authors are Munshi Premchand and Jayshankar Prasad.
Commenting on the changing face of education, Jani feels that the times are very competitive. The fact that both parents and children are running after marks is something that worries him.
“Nowadays, it is less about knowledge and more about scores,” he says, adding that children these days, unlike those he taught, have far more distractions – from internet to TV to gadgets like expensive mobile phones, iPad and tablet.
“The world has changed and we cannot turn the clock behind and change the reality. What’s needed is that teachers and parents should take conscious efforts to channelise energy of new-age children in a constructive manner. But that does not mean enrolling them in multiple classes. That creates unnecessary burden on children. They may tolerate in the beginning but in long-term they may rebel,” says Jani.