June 01, 2013

Create School History Museums on Campus

A fortnight ago, I bid goodbye to the lady who was my first English teacher.

Her end came quietly and after she had completed her assignment here.

Attending the funeral Mass at St. Luke's in Anna Nagar even as the busy neighbourhood opened its doors to work and business around the Tower Park was my way of saying thank you to a guru who had a bit to do with what I am today.

Ms. Devotta hailed from the southern coastal town of Tuticorin and was among the early residents of Anna Nagar, settling down before the neighbourhood was populated with houses and bungalows.

In the classroom, she gave life to Shakespeare's plays and helped us sharpen our essay-writing skills.

Her tips and encouraging remarks helped me gain confidence in my writing. Much later, at a school alumni meet she was glad to know more about my publishing ventures.

How do our schools and colleges remember the contributions that teachers make?

I guess we realise the value of their work much later in our lives. School managers would certainly value it much earlier. How then do managements and alumni respect the memory of their teachers?

While reporting alumni meetings for our neighbourhood newspapers, we do find that many alumni groups make it a point to invite their 'old' teachers, honour them at the event and even share a purse if the person is in need of it.

I often wonder if our celebrated schools with long histories behind them cannot develop a campus history space.

A room or a corner in the lobby which showcases school uniforms and badges, report cards and trophies. A Hall of Fame of outstanding students and a Roll of Honour of all teachers and school principals.

This is the space which can make the current generation well informed and proud. And help a school showcase its history.

Last week, when an 'old boy' of St. Bede's came by to give an obituary note of his mom and we got to know that he also served in the school's Old Bedeans Association (OBA) I used the occasion to encourage him to launch the social history space.

Many schools  like  P. S. and St Bede's, St Raphael's and Vidya Mandir have great histories and these may well be showcased on campus.

     Listen to the audio version of this blog post here ...

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