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I had opted to stay at home after my baby was born, but got back to teaching in a very different place, as soon as I could.
At one time or the other, one is stopped at a crossroads and left wondering which path to take. But when I did experience such state, I was not in for much dilemma!
After my post-graduation in English literature, I eagerly joined as a Lecturer in a Women’s College. Teaching had always been my passion and to pursue it well in my field, I went for Ph.D as well; a marker of how serious and ambitious I was.
But a turn of fate left me in a lurch.
After a prolonged wait for five years, when my son was born, I was ecstatic! My doctor handed me my bundle of joy beaming, “You have delivered a beautiful and healthy baby boy.”
One look at him, and my joys knew no bound. He was born during the summer vacation of my college and so my work was not disrupted. However, on recommencement of classes, I was left in a quandary!
How could I join duty with my tiny baby at home? My mom was not mentally or physically fit to care for a new-born. My colleagues suggested we could employ an ayah, who would take care of mine and two other babies. They chimed, “and during our free time we would certainly be in the nursery.” Hence there was no need of my quitting a prospective career.
However, I was not convinced or comfortable with strangers handling my baby. For some time, I was in a fix but eventually the mother in me won. I willingly opted to resign, much to the chagrin of my friends.
My child was bubbly, healthy, and bonnie. My whole time would be absorbed taking care of him. His every laughter, chuckle or smile would brighten my life. Every day there would be some new change in his growth or manners. Days just flew past with not a single moment of ennui!
My baby was three years old and I admitted him in a nearby school in the nursery class. The school was good and the playroom quite large and well-equipped with toys and learning equipment. The teacher and other staff were very friendly and my son soon took to a great fondness for them. He would eagerly wait for me to take him to his school every day.
When he joined 1st standard, he would be away from home from 8 a.m-3p.m. Suddenly, it dawned on me that I could resume my career! But the timings had to suit my domestic ‘timetable’; I had to be at home when my son returned from school. A college schedule would certainly not fit into my requirement.
As if God sent, a friend dropped in and recommended the International English Academy, as I could opt for part-time appointment as consultant. She elaborated that the timings were flexible yet the remuneration handsome. The students were from various parts of the globe, apart from India. I would certainly enjoy. Above all, the institution was near my house! What more could I ask for?
Of course, the teaching and the courses were different from college syllabus. There would be no English Literature (which I love) as the courses involved teaching English Language, Grammar, Communicative English, IELTS etc.
Without delay, though, I met the Directors, a husband-wife duo, and got the appointment.
This was a new experience for me. In college teaching, grammar was an appendix but here it was a major course. The students too were different. However, I soon tuned myself to not only adjust but to love my new job and pupils. The classes were also small, maybe ten to fifteen students, whereas in college English classes are always large, not less than a hundred!
I am still a consultant, as the job and timings are comfortable. My students are friendly and cheerful. We are always chatting and laughing. I have students far of places like Mongolia, Brazil, Sudan, Trinidad, Libya, and Israel. I have also had students from Arab countries, Iran and Iraq. All these days, I had only read about these places but now I was conversing closely with them.
They were from different countries, different religions and culture. Yet, in the classroom they were my students and I their teacher. Many address me ‘mom’ and others as ‘teacher’. They are quite affectionate even after passing the courses and are in touch thanks to Facebook.
Once a student from Yemen was chatting, when his mom came and asked him to thank me for all that I had done for her son! Another mother sent home-made sweets from Dubai with special information that the delicacy was purely vegetarian.
Ten years hence, I am still enjoying my novel and wonderful experience as a consultant, teacher and friend of my Indian and International students! As a special bonus, I get enough free time to pursue my hobbies-reading, writing and gardening.
Image source: a still from English Vinglish
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