The Teacher: A Story by Manisha Amol

‘Fail !’ the red color adorned my report card shining bright. With teary eyes, I stood in front of my mother and the class teacher to collect it. This final result of class 9 exams was crucial for the promotion to the next class. She was shocked to see that as I was amongst the top students of my class and did well in studies. Next year we had to appear for board exams hence this result was all the more important. We were not given ranks but grades and percentages with divisions-1st, 2nd or 3rd. This system was primarily adopted to reduce stress amongst the parents and students for performance. The grades were given in a bandwidth of 9 marks hence one would not know who ranked first, second and so on. Only if someone shared her percentage then there could be a comparison. A great system used in the Girls convent school of much repute.

A new subject ‘ SUPW’ (Socially useful and productive work) had been recently introduced in the school, which was a nightmare for me.I was good in studies, sports, other extracurricular activities but could not perform here. It involved stitching, embroidery, knitting etc. I dreaded attending each and every class of the subject and my class teacher knew this very well.

She was also our English teacher and loved me as a student as I was both intelligent and obedient.I always excelled in all the work given to me whether in class or at home. Unfortunately, this subject was taught by her. As she was quite disciplined and strict it was her focus to ensure that we excel in it as well.

Despite many difficulties, I could somehow manage to just pass. Grade in the subject was not awarded but passing in it was important for moving ahead.

The last homework assignment before the final exams was to stitch a cotton nightie with smocking stitches in the bosom area. I learned the new technique well in the class and thought to do better this time. I did a decent embroidery using different coloured threads which turned out very well. As there was a paucity of time because of the upcoming final exams I tried to act smart by neatly folding the unstitched nightie before packing it with a cellophane paper. To conceal my deed, even the neckline was cut, embroidered, and hemmed well. It looked complete and good.

Normally we were asked to submit our assignments in a packed state and later it would be returned post the assessment. At times the teacher would not even open the packet and this was the pretext that I undertook the risk.

Though a bit apprehensive about it I went ahead for submission. She was really appreciative of my work and wanted to share the same with the class. When I was asked to open the pack the whole world came falling down. With trembling hands I did it and felt as though I was caught cheating red handed. I was greatly embarrassed when the so-called nightie with the unstitched body and arms were staring at me. And the worst was yet to come with the sarcastic remarks despite my pleadings.

I could not face them as my head was down. My mother had to apologize sincerely that this would never be repeated. With all the warnings I was promoted to the next class.

But this incident made me learn a lesson for my life- Never try to act smart with The Teacher!