We’ve often written about the need to make space in our lives for the things we enjoy doing, the things that do not have an obvious “ROI” (return on investment), the things that in fact take us away from the very thought of such return. We all do this in our own ways, but it can provide a boost to the spirit if someone else takes the trouble to arrange for us to have that brief getaway. On Teachers’ Day, schools may have done a variety of things to recognize and give teachers a special time, from just a whole day off to an afternoon or evening of entertainment and relaxation. Sometimes it is just as important to get away from familiar environments which serve (possibly) to enclose us in familiar and routine ways of thinking and doing, making it that much more difficult for us to truly break away.
We at Teacher Plus decided to do our bit to provide teachers with a break, and organized a short evening programme involving books and art, in collaboration with a charming centre for children called Little People Tree. With the theme, “Rediscover yourself through books and art”, we invited local teachers to come share a cup of tea and some cookies with the TP team while listening to some good voices read from old and new favourites, and mess around a bit with watercolours.
The seasoned theatre voices of Aarti Phatarphekar and Ranjan Ranganathan from a local theatre group took us on a nostalgic journey through the tribulations and joys of Frank McCourt in Teacher Man, and E R Braithwaite in To Sir, With Love, interspersed with a dose of feel-good delivered through A Cup of Comfort for Teachers. Teachers told us they wanted to go right out and buy the books to re-read them, something they hadn’t done in years. Then an art teacher, Shanthi Swaroopini, drew us to the paint box and got everyone to mix colours to depict their “objects of desire” – an exercise in primary art to, literally, take us back to the basics. Simple things, perhaps, a book here and a bit of colour there, but things that take us out and beyond ourselves.