Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Learning English

It is a fact that teaching and learning go hand in hand, but our education system has invented such strange institutions in our society, which have ridiculed the whole process. A personal experience revealed the fact.

Those were the days of full of problems as I was eagerly looking for a job. My family problems compelled me to do anything even to do post graduation in English. In this Herculean task, I managed to get third division which was sufficient, at that time for the job of a high school teacher.
As I had already passed my B.Ed examination, I easily became a teacher. Being a product a non-English medium school, speaking flawless English was beyond my capacity.

A feeling of inferiority complex turned into a guilty conscious which forced me to avoid conversation skillfully. Fortunately, my school was in a town.
Not a single teacher had mastery over any language. Talat was the only lady teacher who had control over many languages at a time. So was the common opinion about her. She always tried to prove herself as a good speaker in English.

The conscious listeners always encouraged her with a meaningful smile but she was not smart enough to understand its true sense. Once she told me that some of her colleagues blamed her for speaking faulty English. They say, “Main Angrezi ki Tang Todti Hoon”. Is it correct sir? She asked me. I tried to cool her by saying that the British had kicked Indians for a long time, therefore, there is nothing wrong in breaking “Tang” of their tongue.

Once I went through an advertisement about an English speaking class run by a social organization. Now a days such coaching classes have mushroomed in cities and towns. Since villages and towns are on the path of following ever bad things of cities, these things are spreading in our villages too. I thought it would be an opportunity to overcome my problem of communication in English. So I approached them the secretary of the organization welcomed me warmly. He gave me details of the class and amount to be deposited, which was affordable and the timings suitable. I informed him about my intention to improve my English. I informed him that I am a graduate of English literature, he again shook hands and encouraged me by saying, “Don’t bother about it, the problem is common in our society and for this we are trying to provide atmosphere so that people can develop their hidden skills, so tell me, when will you join us?”
“Tomorrow I replied”.

Next day, I reached there and about to enter the classroom, the secretary stopped me and said, “Sir, since, it is our first batch we will pay you only five hundred rupees per month”.
“You will pay me for what?”, I asked surprisingly. As a student, actually I have to pay you”.
“No sir”, said the secretary, “Since you are a teacher in our speaking class, we will pay you”.
“Oh God, I came here as a student” I tried to clear my position.
“Let it be”. He said, but we are appointing you as a tutor as you have done graduation in English.
“And what about my speaking ability?” I asked worriedly.
“Don’t worry sir, the best way to learn any language is to teach it to others, a practical approach”, said he pushing me into the classroom.

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