Thursday, December 22, 2011

Another Day at School

Tony yawned as he made his way to the seventh grade classroom. Another boring day at school. He would have given anything to skip his lessons. Anything to escape from the drudgery of memorizing the dates of long forgotten wars, complex algebraic formulae, verses by Wordsworth and Shelley, the source and destination of each river in India... Tony just couldn't get the point. Wars had been fought centuries ago- what was the point in learning about it now? He didn't understand any of those verses by Wordsworth and Shelley anyway- what was the point in memorizing, or as his teacher put it 'learning by heart' those old poems? Learn by heart the first two stanzas of the poem 'Daffodils', that was his homework. It just didn't make any sense in twelve year old Tony's mind.

The worst of the lot was math. He just hated it. He loathed it with such passion that even Harry Potter's hatred for Dolores Umbridge would seem tame compared to it. Now before you jump to any conclusions by donning your judgmental caps, it wasn't that Tony was stupid or slow to learn. In fact, our Tony was a very intelligent boy. He just felt trapped in a vicious cycle. Economists talk about the cycle of wages and prices. As wages increase, disposable income levels increase and thus the demand for products increases. So the prices for goods also increase. Rising prices cause a demand for higher wages which leads to further higher prices. So you see, it's a cycle which seemingly has no end. If economists talk about this wage-price spiral, Tony talks about the exam spiral. Exams chase marks, marks lead to comparison with peers which leads to unhappiness which in turn leads to a loss of interest in the subjects. Needless to say that brings Tony back to exams and the vicious cycle never seems to end. His elder brother once told him that this ruthless spiral doesn't stop even at university.

Yes, so that was the real reason why Tony hated his lessons. Math, his most hated subject, was taught by the fierce Sister Agnes in whose lessons even the naughtiest students would maintain 'pin-drop' silence.Tony decided that he would try his best to skip the math lesson that day. An idea dawned upon him. It seemed to him like the first star that appears on a gloomy dark sky- it brought him that much happiness, the fact that he could actually miss the lesson! He could go to the library and read all he wanted, or even better, he could just pretend to be sick and go lie down in the 'sick room'.

As soon as Sister Agnes walked in, he went up to her and said. 'Sister, the Prize Day practice is going on. I'm a part of the play and I've been asked to go now for rehearsal'. This was not really untrue. Tony was a part of the play indeed. He had a minuscule role and his only dialogue in the whole one hour drama consisted of just one line-'Make way for His Majesty the King!' That didn't stop Tony's enthusiasm for attending the practice sessions. Sister Agnes looked like she believed him, and was about to let him off (a feat by itself!), when the villain entered the scene. Tony's arch rival, John, immediately said 'But only the main characters for the drama are required to go!' He asked Tony, a glint of malice in his eye, 'You only have one dialogue, no? I don't think you are required there!' With that, Sister Agnes twisted Tony's ear, and sent him back to his seat, after she had given him a earful for trying to bunk her class.

Tony stared at the window. Clouds had begun to gather over a gloomy sky. He sighed as he thought of his failed plan. The rain began to fall onto the window pane. Pitter patter, pitter patter, the drops hit the glass of the window as the skies lit up with a stroke of lightening. This was going to be another boring school day. Sister Agnes was explaining some algebraic formula- A plus B the whole square or something of that sort. Tony couldn't follow the logic- when did they start using alphabets, in math of all things?

*******
The bell finally rang. Sister Agnes sighed as the class of relieved students made their way out. Of all the students, Tony worried her the most. It wasn't that the boy was stupid, he just didn't want to learn. That attitude, reasoned the passionate teacher in her, along with laziness, was the culprit. It had to be corrected. She noticed something on Tony's desk. She bent closer to look at it and found a rough sketch, in black ink on the desk- a gravestone, complete with an R.I.P sign that read In memory of those who died, waiting for the bell to ring.

Post Script:
Appa, as a teacher, had the same experience. A bored student had drawn a gravestone on his desk with the exact words, and needless to say, Appa hasn't forgotten it till date. :D

6 comments:

  1. Smart boy, I must say. And creative too. Love the way the story ends...;-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Real kewl. Tony should choose his career based on what he likes
    (unlike the rest of us->Computer Science used to be my most hated subject :(
    )

    ReplyDelete
  3. Haha, nice story. I hated John. Haven't we all known spoil sports like that in school? And the ending was really cute.

    ReplyDelete
  4. @Kanthu, smart or oversmart haha? Thank you! :)

    @Karthi etta, as I told you over gtalk, that is indeed an irony. Sometimes, choosing a career on what we like may not be that great an idea. Hmm, maybe we should develop a passion for what we have chosen instead? Still thinking on these lines..

    @Sumitra, so true- have known students who always remind teachers about homework,I've done that at times, just to annoy the others :P Thank you! :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Enjoyed this one, Sruthi. I must say, I have not read many of your attempts at fiction( though I was the first one to read you at the selction for Story writing competition @ OOEHS the year you joined...) Your writing is much more confident now. Keep writing more.
    I can write a similar one about a teacher who doesn't want to enter a class... the other side of the coin!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you so much Viji ma'am! Wow, the mention of the story writing competition brings back so many memories.. Your encouragement means a lot to me, ma'am :)
    Oh, do write about the view from the other side- I'm sure a lot of us would like to read that, ma'am!

    ReplyDelete

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Another Day at School

Tony yawned as he made his way to the seventh grade classroom. Another boring day at school. He would have given anything to skip his lessons. Anything to escape from the drudgery of memorizing the dates of long forgotten wars, complex algebraic formulae, verses by Wordsworth and Shelley, the source and destination of each river in India... Tony just couldn't get the point. Wars had been fought centuries ago- what was the point in learning about it now? He didn't understand any of those verses by Wordsworth and Shelley anyway- what was the point in memorizing, or as his teacher put it 'learning by heart' those old poems? Learn by heart the first two stanzas of the poem 'Daffodils', that was his homework. It just didn't make any sense in twelve year old Tony's mind.

The worst of the lot was math. He just hated it. He loathed it with such passion that even Harry Potter's hatred for Dolores Umbridge would seem tame compared to it. Now before you jump to any conclusions by donning your judgmental caps, it wasn't that Tony was stupid or slow to learn. In fact, our Tony was a very intelligent boy. He just felt trapped in a vicious cycle. Economists talk about the cycle of wages and prices. As wages increase, disposable income levels increase and thus the demand for products increases. So the prices for goods also increase. Rising prices cause a demand for higher wages which leads to further higher prices. So you see, it's a cycle which seemingly has no end. If economists talk about this wage-price spiral, Tony talks about the exam spiral. Exams chase marks, marks lead to comparison with peers which leads to unhappiness which in turn leads to a loss of interest in the subjects. Needless to say that brings Tony back to exams and the vicious cycle never seems to end. His elder brother once told him that this ruthless spiral doesn't stop even at university.

Yes, so that was the real reason why Tony hated his lessons. Math, his most hated subject, was taught by the fierce Sister Agnes in whose lessons even the naughtiest students would maintain 'pin-drop' silence.Tony decided that he would try his best to skip the math lesson that day. An idea dawned upon him. It seemed to him like the first star that appears on a gloomy dark sky- it brought him that much happiness, the fact that he could actually miss the lesson! He could go to the library and read all he wanted, or even better, he could just pretend to be sick and go lie down in the 'sick room'.

As soon as Sister Agnes walked in, he went up to her and said. 'Sister, the Prize Day practice is going on. I'm a part of the play and I've been asked to go now for rehearsal'. This was not really untrue. Tony was a part of the play indeed. He had a minuscule role and his only dialogue in the whole one hour drama consisted of just one line-'Make way for His Majesty the King!' That didn't stop Tony's enthusiasm for attending the practice sessions. Sister Agnes looked like she believed him, and was about to let him off (a feat by itself!), when the villain entered the scene. Tony's arch rival, John, immediately said 'But only the main characters for the drama are required to go!' He asked Tony, a glint of malice in his eye, 'You only have one dialogue, no? I don't think you are required there!' With that, Sister Agnes twisted Tony's ear, and sent him back to his seat, after she had given him a earful for trying to bunk her class.

Tony stared at the window. Clouds had begun to gather over a gloomy sky. He sighed as he thought of his failed plan. The rain began to fall onto the window pane. Pitter patter, pitter patter, the drops hit the glass of the window as the skies lit up with a stroke of lightening. This was going to be another boring school day. Sister Agnes was explaining some algebraic formula- A plus B the whole square or something of that sort. Tony couldn't follow the logic- when did they start using alphabets, in math of all things?

*******
The bell finally rang. Sister Agnes sighed as the class of relieved students made their way out. Of all the students, Tony worried her the most. It wasn't that the boy was stupid, he just didn't want to learn. That attitude, reasoned the passionate teacher in her, along with laziness, was the culprit. It had to be corrected. She noticed something on Tony's desk. She bent closer to look at it and found a rough sketch, in black ink on the desk- a gravestone, complete with an R.I.P sign that read In memory of those who died, waiting for the bell to ring.

Post Script:
Appa, as a teacher, had the same experience. A bored student had drawn a gravestone on his desk with the exact words, and needless to say, Appa hasn't forgotten it till date. :D

6 comments:

  1. Smart boy, I must say. And creative too. Love the way the story ends...;-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Real kewl. Tony should choose his career based on what he likes
    (unlike the rest of us->Computer Science used to be my most hated subject :(
    )

    ReplyDelete
  3. Haha, nice story. I hated John. Haven't we all known spoil sports like that in school? And the ending was really cute.

    ReplyDelete
  4. @Kanthu, smart or oversmart haha? Thank you! :)

    @Karthi etta, as I told you over gtalk, that is indeed an irony. Sometimes, choosing a career on what we like may not be that great an idea. Hmm, maybe we should develop a passion for what we have chosen instead? Still thinking on these lines..

    @Sumitra, so true- have known students who always remind teachers about homework,I've done that at times, just to annoy the others :P Thank you! :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Enjoyed this one, Sruthi. I must say, I have not read many of your attempts at fiction( though I was the first one to read you at the selction for Story writing competition @ OOEHS the year you joined...) Your writing is much more confident now. Keep writing more.
    I can write a similar one about a teacher who doesn't want to enter a class... the other side of the coin!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you so much Viji ma'am! Wow, the mention of the story writing competition brings back so many memories.. Your encouragement means a lot to me, ma'am :)
    Oh, do write about the view from the other side- I'm sure a lot of us would like to read that, ma'am!

    ReplyDelete