Garodian Alumni Times
From The Editor's Desk
In this issue of the Garodian Alumni Times, we have several important updates and announcements.
First off, we are hosting the second episode of our talk show, celebrating the International Women's Day, on 12th March, 2022, at 5:00 PM. Furthermore, we have also launched a Mentorship & Internship Program for all Alumni members. The details of these can be found below. Next, in the 'A New Side to Them,' column, we catch up with Mrs. Vanaja Elangovan, who taught English, Math & Social Studies and left the school in 1995.
As always, our goal with this newsletter is to keep you informed of all the activities of the PGGS Alumni Association and to give you a platform to share your creative side with a community of your past peers. We have come a long way since we started but we still have a long way to go. If you have any thoughts or suggestions or contributions for the next issue, feel free to hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org
A Happy Holi from the PGGS Alumni Committee!
Signing off for now,
Batch of 2019
Editor, Garodian Alumni Times
International Women's Day 2022
Building on our efforts from last year, the P. G. Garodia Alumni Association is hosting another episode of the our talk show. This year's episode is titled 'Healthy Skin & Vigilant Mind'
It will be streamed live on YouTube, on Saturday, March 12 2022 at 5:00 PM, on the link given below. Feel free to browse our channel as well.
Our speakers for this year are:
Nankani & Associates
Dr Raj Parikh,
MBBS, DVD, DNB in Skin & VD,
Skinodent, Consultant Dermatologist & Owner
The show will be moderated by our Joint Secretary, Mrs. Ritu Joshi
Mentorship & Internship Program
To help our members reach higher in their professional lives and gain real world experience, the P. G, Garodia School Alumni Association has launched a Mentorship & Internship Program.
Any member* can participate in this program:
as a mentor or mentee
as an intern or by providing an internship
You can fill in the form below and we will reach out to you with updates via email. In the mean time, join our LinkedIn group.
* This program is only for paid members.
A New Side To Them
This section is dedicate to reconnecting with some of the people that have nurtured our lives and shaped our being, our teachers. Here, we interview some of the teachers that have retired from our alma mater and get to know a new and more personal side to them.
In this issue, we spoke with Mrs. Vanaja Elangovan, who taught Math, English & Social Studies to several of the older batches.
When did you start teaching and what did you teach?
I joined the school in 1980. I had always wanted to teach the pre-primary section, but was offered standard first. I taught grade1 for a year and then subsequently taught the entire primary section.
In 1989, I was promoted as the Head of primary section and my subjects were English, Social Studies and Math. I was later made in-charge of SCA (Social & Cultural Activities) additionally for all classes until Std 8.
After upgrading my credentials with a diploma, I taught students of eighth and ninth standards as well.
Honestly, I hadn’t retired as such. My husband and I, shifted from Mumbai to Chennai in 1995, until when I was the Head of Primary and then started my own set-up in Chennai.
We know that teaching is one of the most underappreciated jobs in the world. So, what pushed you to take it up instead of any other profession that you could do with your qualifications?
Firstly, I don’t agree with that ! Teachers are never unappreciated or under appreciated. We get a lot of appreciation from parents and students.
I was offered a job in State Bank of India but I have always enjoyed teaching and being with young minds (to be able to mould them). That is why I looked for a teaching job in pre-primary. In my first year, I got Std One. Whenever I come to Mumbai, if I meet any parents or teachers on the road or somewhere, they used to tell me ‘Teacher your base in English and Math was very good. You have given a very strong base to my child and they are doing very well in life now. That gives me immense satisfaction. Moreover, the interest and attention that we get from the smaller kids can’t be equated to any other rewards. They really look up to their teachers and have such inquisitive and impressionable minds.
When teaching in second standard, I enjoyed that the most because during the recess the children would come and say ‘Take my tiffin teacher! Take my tiffin teacher!’ That love, it is pure, innocent and wonderful!
What made you apply to P. G. Garodia School in the first and what kept you here? What was your first day like? And what was the first-class you taught?
As I have said earlier, the main reason was my passion for teaching. The second one is that my house was just opposite gate number 5. So, there was no need to travel in the scary Mumbai traffic, local trains, etc . It was really just a hop, skip and jump to the school.
And my first day, what to say? I was so nervous and anxious. I got standard I- B division. I went to the class thinking I could teach well. Turned out, I could teach well but I couldn’t control the class. I couldn’t shout at them. I was too, what to say, loving. They kept shouting and jumping and all. At that time our principle (Father Abraham), had kept a speaker set in each class and would listen from his room . He spoke to me via the speaker, saying “Vanaja control the class!” I was so lost at that time. I kept searching where the voice was coming from ;)
Throughout the years, there must have been a lot of changes in the school, but I think what happened in the last two years must have been the most drastic and sudden. You are already retired but in the last few years, we have seen major differences in the education system. Schools are functioning through online mode Could you share your opinion on how it has disturbed the teaching pattern or how it has innovated it?
I used to see my grandson in the online classes. He would sit in the class and would randomly come out, drink water, take a bio break, etc. For some or the other reason, he would keep coming out. Am sure it was quite a task for the teacher to keep a watch on all the students in such classes.
In the pre-primary section, children learn by seeing and imitating their teachers and even copy their teacher’s activities in real life. They learn a lot from their teachers by simply observing what they do. In online mode, they can’t do that. That’s a huge disadvantage. Increased screen time is another down point here. But, the new generation teachers have adapted really well with the technology. I am sure I would have struggled for a while, if I was to do that now.
Over the years, you must have formed an image of how your last day would be. So how was it different from what happened?
I never expected I would have to leave the school in between like this. I thought that I will be with Garodia school until my official retirement. But, I had to do it due to unavoidable circumstances.
My last day was a truly memorable one. The management gave me a very warm farewell with lunch, flowers and even a lovely gift . All teachers were invited and so, we could be together on my last day.
I couldn’t reach the children as much when I become the head teacher compared to when I was a class teacher or a subject teacher. When you are a head teacher, you are away from them. So, from my older students, who had gone to tenth standard, they came and met me and asked “Are you leaving teacher?” but the primary section didn’t feel much because they hadn’t interacted with me much.
What do you remember most vividly in all your years of teaching?
When I became the primary head, I wanted to bring some changes in education pattern. We started our then Prime Minister’s (Shri. Rajiv Gandhi) play-way method. Then , I also changed the examination patterns to start weekly tests, that is after every lesson, the teacher had to give small tests, 20% marks of which will be included in the final. This helps to check the level of understanding of the topic by the child. I also changed the question paper pattern. I used to take 20% of the questions for intelligence of the students. Those who used to get full marks I used to give some small prizes. Many of them could not score full marks because the question used to be twisted/ tweaked. Even if they get 80% marks, it was a very good score. So, with that I changed the pattern from mugging up to better understanding of the subject. All the Parents were eagerly waiting for the question paper to see what and how I would ask during the terminal exams.
Being the cultural activity teacher and SCA incharge, I used to take the children for numerous interschool competitions. The Nrityanjali Group used to conduct interschool competitions all over Bombay. Along with Sukhada teacher, Sushma teacher and Ramya teacher, we used to go from 7:30am in the morning in our school bus with the students and came back at 8:30 or 9:30pm at night. And we used to win a lot of prizes. Our children were a matter of pride for our school.
I was the cultural in-charge for our annual day celebrations and we had a cultural activity group who used to train our children for the annual day. We used to celebrate all our festivals in the primary section with grandeur and do so many memorable things like Projects and exhibitions - science exhibitions, history exhibitions and especially those volcanic eruptions. Other schools used to come and watch our exhibitions.
In my last year 1995, we had an interschool sports activity organized by the Bombay Municipal Corporation and the prize distribution ceremony was held in our school. So, we arranged an exhibition. It was very well appreciated by the department of education and also many other schools. We collected teacher’s welfare fund in case of any emergency for the teacher (personal or otherwise). We had organized a teacher’s welfare fund program and conducted a workshop called Shakuntalam Dance-Drama & also a Fashion parade by the teachers themselves. When we did the fashion parade, it was well appreciated and enjoyed by the parents, students and the teachers alike. I really can’t forget the fashion parade and many other events conducted at the school.
According to you, how different are you comparing your first day at school to your last day?
I was quite nervous, not only for a few days, but for a few months infact. Later, I gained confidence. Then, as the school grew, I have also grown – my confidence, my interpersonal skills, my administrative skills and most of all, my communication skills. The school activities gave me experience, so now I have the confidence to handle anything.
For the past several years of your life, teaching must have been a major part of your life. Now that you are retired, what do you spend your time doing?
In 1995, I came to Chennai, but after that as teaching my passion, I started a playschool along with my neighbour. For a few years, I have done just that. At the same time, I was invited as an advisor and consultant to a higher secondary school. I accepted it as an honorary position because I wanted to do something for the society. That school caters to students from the lower economic group. The children there had filthy language and behaviour. So I wanted to bring about a change in them. I am also an advisor to a Primary-level village school funded by my family. I train the teachers there on how to handle the children and also talk to the parents in a rural set-up , every once in a while.
After retirement, I am travelling the length and breadth of India and even to some foreign countries frequently. During the pandemic period, I have written a travelogue in Tamil about my travels to various temples in India and other South Asian countries. This was published and officially launched in the month of December 2021.
All of us wait for our retirement and only then start to travel. By travelling, you get to know about many things. That is the biggest teacher- the experiences, seeing new places, interacting with new people. I request to all of you to take at least a week off from your busy schedules every year to go someplace new. In our country, there are so many places that are incredibly beautiful. So don’t lose time. The pandemic has taught us an important lesson too- that life is truly unpredictable !
Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to share my thoughts and taking me for a walk down the memory lane.
During the pandemic period, be careful, be safe and all the best to all of you! God Bless!!
- Taken by Aekta Doshi, Batch of 1992
Edited by Sumitra Venkatesh, Batch of 1989
Some Light Jokes
PGGS Alumni Association’s One Time Registration
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Editor: Siddhant Shah, Batch of 2019
Co - editor: Aekta Doshi, Batch of 1992
Ishwar Nankani, Batch of 1983
Dev Bakshi, Batch of 1984
Sumitra Venkatesh, Batch of 1989
Megha Gohel, Batch of 2020