Today I lost it. Almost.
As I went into the classroom (class 9), many of the students greeted me lazily. Few of them were still doing the work of their previous class. Few were still talking with each other.
I usually treat the students as friends but also maintain a distance. I have experienced how students tend to dance on your head when you pamper them, be friendly with them. But I never punish them, that is not what I am there for. But sometimes, that urge to retaliate is pretty strong.
So I asked this student why he looked tired and lazy. It was just the second period of the day. “ Didn’t you have bhaat this morning?” He said no, in a tone that echoed slight defiance. A bit startled by his tone. “So, you’re hungry?” He said yes. That tone worried me. It is that tone when you know the student is trying to be over-smart. It is that tone when you know the student is challenging your presence in the class and is trying poke on your patience.
My first instinct was to grab the duster and hurl it at him, break his nose and let his taste his own blood. Deep down inside, every human being has that crude instinct. A teacher or not. But then, I tightened my jaws, swallowed a big chunk of air and heard myself exhale that air.
Then asked him, calmly, “May I call your parents and tell them that you’ve come to the school without taking lunch, and would they be so kind enough to bring you your khaajaa as soon as possible?”
He said no. Less cheekily. I insisted. He said no sir, now with his arrogance gone, sensing that I was not letting the incident go that easily.
Yes, I reacted badly. I could have / should have handled it better, in a different way. But, may be I didn’t want to.