The story of a legislator donning the hat of a pre-primary school teacher for a day has stolen the limelight in Coimbatore. Amman K Arjunan, Member of Legislative Assembly (AIADMK) from Coimbatore South constituency was the legislator who decided to become a teacher for one day.
This comes even as teachers who are part of the Joint Action Committee of Tamil Nadu Teachers Organisation -- Government Employees Organisation (JACTTO-GEO) are on an indefinite strike since Tuesday, pressing the government to give in to their long overdue demands. Some of their major demands include reversal of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) and payment of arrears of the Seventh Pay Commission.
The strike has affected government schools the most as around 80% of government school teachers have joined the strike, expressing solidarity with the cause. This had led to many schools remaining shut due to teachersâ€™ absence. In many places, students were forced to turn back home because their schoolsâ€™ gates were closed.
On Thursday morning, the corporation school in Kempatty colony wore a chaotic scene since the teachers who were working there had also joined the strike. Amman K Arjunan, the MLA of the locality, was on his way back home after attending to a complaint from the people of his constituency. â€śI usually visit one ward per day in my constituency between 8am and 10am. Today, there was a complaint from people near the school and I attended to it and on my way back, the school caught my attention. So, casually I went in to check what is going on. There were no teachers and only one helper was there,â€ť shares the MLA.
He then went inside the newly inaugurated KG section and saw the kids there. â€śI just taught them the Tamil and English alphabets and numbers from one to ten,â€ť he says. After spending around 20-30 minutes in the school, Arjunan returned home.
It was a pleasure to listen to the small children babble, he says. â€śI wanted to become a police officer when I was a child and then somehow I could not do it. But I never thought that being a teacher, even for a short time, would give me such joy,â€ť he adds.
Talking about the strike, the MLA says that while the teachers have every right to assert for what they deserve, it could have been done keeping in mind the students. â€śOur tradition places teachers in a position equal to parents. The responsibility factor is high and for them, studentsâ€™ welfare should come first. While I understand their plight, I personally think that it would be nice on their part to think of the timing and the future of the students before doing such things,â€ť he explains.