“Teaching is a thankless job!”, she says.


I have seen her struggle alone with two toddlers and a teaching job. I have seen her sitting late at night to finish her teaching diary. I have seen her scold her children to go to bed faster than usual, so she could check the examination papers carefully. I have seen her prepare her lessons thoroughly when the syllabus changed all of a sudden. I have seen her packing her bags with one hand while pricking herself with the insulin needle with the other hand for years. I have always heard her prioritize ‘ente makkal’ (my children) over her biological children.

And when her students ran up to her or wrote to her from different cities, I used to envy her.

She did all of this with utmost dedication for three and a half decades. But now, she says that teaching is a thankless job. She retired as a TGT (Biology) teacher from a Delhi Government Aided School on the 30th of September, 2015. She still hasn’t started receiving her pension. When she approached the Directorate of Education for her health card, they told her it had to be applied immediately after retirement through the school authorities. The school authorities tell her that it can be done only once her pension papers are through. Based on two RTI applications submitted, she is informed that her pension papers have again been sent back to the school because her pay fixation of an earlier date has not been computed correctly.

She is someone who refuses to share her grief with anyone. I haven’t seen her smile for a long time now. I haven’t seen her enjoy her time with any of us for the last few months. My mom who used to call me 10-15 times a day has now stopped calling me at all because she doesn’t want to add to my already stressed life. The other day when I gave her a surprise visit, she broke down.

She says, “I didn’t even bother to check if you girls were having your breakfast properly and ran off to school for this job that does not even guarantee me my pension which is my right. I haven’t been able to sleep for days now because I feel betrayed.”

Do you know how difficult it is to see your ailing and aged parents cry helplessly in front of you? Do you know why she is suffering?

She is suffering because she and her husband have refused to pay a bribe to obtain her rightful pension. I am not sure whom to address this grievance to. The school, the management, the principal, the Directorate of Education, the Delhi government or the teachers who were ready to pay the bribe…I have no idea whom should I direct her to. Because at every door there are infinte bats hanging with hands openly begging for a bribe. Not Modi. No Kejriwal. No one matters to these shameless corrupt employees of the system. It’s a venomous cob web out there. Why should we vote? Whom should we vote for?

What if we lose her? What if something happens to her? What if she dies before getting her pension? Who’ll be at loss?

It pains to even type this but these are questions she asked me.

The country and the government benefits….right???

What about her family? Her children may still be able to cope because they have their own responsibilities. What about her husband? May be his children will take care of him. May be they’ll try their best to help him survive. But will he be happy without a partner to unconditionally share his words in his retired life? My parents have struggled all their lives for a bright future. If this is that bright future, I am sorry to say that no one should work towards a bright future.

If this is what a teacher has to go through, I would like to agree with Amma.

“Teaching is indeed a thankless job!”


29 Replies to ““Teaching is a thankless job!”, she says.”

    1. I know I am more hurt because it is happening with my mother. But it is the same with almost all departments. These people have slogged hard to give a strong foundation to the youth of the country and this is what they are compensated with. It’s a very sad state of affairs.

  1. Rex,
    Is this the related to that issue that you’d mentioned once (during P365)?
    It’s pretty devastating to think that someone who spreads so much light and joy through learning has to jump through so many hoops to get something that is theirs.
    I’m not even sure what to say. I just hope it all gets sorted soon.

    1. Sid, that was sorted. LTA received after six years. This is her pension and gratuity. They are raising objections for no specific reason apart from this that they feel offended because of the RTI enquirer raised after three months of waiting.

  2. And this same process will go thru just fine if we pay the bribe! I dono what these people think they will do with all this money – they do not realise they will be made to pay back – Karma will come back to haunt them!

    1. Karma will definitely haunt them because my parents need the money not for themselves but another family that has been orphaned suddenly with the demise of the only earning member who has left them (the wife and two young children) nothing but a huge load of loans from various people.

  3. It was very painful to read this, Rekha, but I am not sure what to say. I hope it gets sorted soon, but knowing how Indian systems work, this could take a while. Wishing your family the strength to deal with this. So unfair!

  4. Really Rekha, it hurts to read this about such a dedicated and soulful teacher, I hope and pray that things get sorted out soon for her and you as well, it is indeed difficult for us to see our parents suffering at a time wherein they are supposed to relax and be peaceful. It is really upsetting to see our once beloved school deteriorating to this level….
    take care

    1. The school I knew was in wrong hands, but was never expecting it to be this worse. But this is not about the school alone. It is about the administration as well. I have lost all respect for our systems. But then, it is people like you and me who are charging this percentage game at various levels. Sad state of affairs.

  5. It is painful to read that your Amma has to go through all this. I remember when my mother retired in 2000 she had her own set of difficulties to get her pension stuff sorted out. But thankfully it did work out with some persistent pressure. She worked with MCD schools for more than 35 years, and had stories to tell about how deepseated the corruption is in almost all departments of Delhi govt she had to deal with over her career. In fact, it may sound strange but seeing her struggle and yet remain fully dedicated as a teacher made me want to be a teacher in the first place! But I had decided I will never teach in a government institution.
    I am not holding my breath for any radical changes in the system happening any time soon. And that’s why I think the best thing that can happen to Indian education system (at least for some decades to come) is more privatisation. Governments and bureaucracies have played havoc with our education system. And they will continue to do so until there is a drastic change in their outlook on many things.
    I sincerely hope and wish that your mother’s situation is soon rectified.

    1. I always thought I was foolish not to have taken up teaching. But after watching her difficulties, I feel whatever I chose was much much better. She does receive a lot of love from her students, but at this juncture she is in desperate need of the money to support a totally orphaned family. I sincerely hope her fight doesn’t go waste. She’s suffering a lot health-wise and that is taking a toll on almost all of us, especially Dad. That frightens me.

  6. Oh, that was sad. I believe teachers who give so much to others and in some way have the most important job of all – taking care of the Future (Our children) should be met with the respect, gratitude and thanks that they truly deserve

  7. I understand what this means. My Amma works in a bank and just like yours, she used to run at the beckon call of the bank authorities. Even now she does that. SHe works until 12 Am or 1AM and when there are some minor issues which are due misunderstanding, that is the only thing pointed out. It wasn’t even her fault.
    When she took ill once, harsh words were used against her and to see her so helpless, it hurt. A lot.

    In case of teaching, as you said, I envy all the teachers. Situations like these are really unfortunate 😦

    1. Why am I not surprised?
      After sharing this post, I have had at least a dozen messages from dedicated people who worked relentlessly and then suffered. If you know how to flatter, or can resort to wrong ways, you have it all easy. If you want to be righteous, your path is filled with difficulties. Big hugs to your Amma! Thanks for dropping by!

  8. My mother was a teacher, so I can imagine the amount of pains your mother must have taken for her ‘children’, and her job. And, now that she isn’t getting her dues, I can understand the pain she must feel. It is frustrating having to go through such harassment after having sacrificed her whole life for the job! My sis-in-law teaches in a Government aided vocation class, and each month, she has to go visit the govt offices to seek their signatures on a handful of papers after which she is ensured a salary, which lands in her hands after more than two/three months! She doesn’t take any leave, else her students will suffer, and look at what she gets in return!
    I truly hope your mother’s pension matter gets sorted real soon. She deserves the peace of mind after having sweated and toiled in a really thankless job! Hugs to her!

    1. Teachers who happen to be lifetime mentors are that population which is most underrated these days. The other day, a teacher was sacked from the school the children go to for pinching a kid for hitting another child. While I am all for I punishments for children, I don’t think teachers should be treated this way. It’s a very very noble profession to say the least.

  9. I am really saddened to hear of this treatment, Rekha. Our teachers are everything to us, much like our parents and nobody should have to run from pillar to post for what is rightfully theirs. I hope this post gets shared widely and reaches the concerned authorities. May she get what is due to her without paying a single paisa of bribe. I fervently hope she gets it.

    1. Those who fight through the right path never have it easy. Things are super screwed to say the least. All I am worried is about her health which in turn is affecting Dad. She walks up to hi, at 23 in the morning asking if he called out for her. Her right side is occasionally going numb. I am praying so hard to have all of this sorted once and forever. I hope my prayers are answered soon.

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