Tall tales from school
Another set of school stories that are sure to keep you glued to the pages.
As the school year winds to a close, comes Role Call Again. It picks up where Poile Sengupta's Role Call left. Back are Mrs. Gangrade, Sundari, and Jenny trying to figure out their students.
How many students want to become teachers? "Careering decisions" leaves the teachers quite distraught as they find out that none of the kids wants to teach. And the teachers are also in for an eye-opener in "With a House on their backs". Are we training kids to become weightlifters? Since there are too many important issues to consider, the weight of the school bag is pushed to the background.
Staffroom discussions dominate. "September 5: A Tribute" has the teachers trying to stay neutral while the students organise the day's festivities. And again trying to find a chief guest for the school's inter-school competitions, leaves them quite frazzled.
It's not all about teachers. Students come in for their share too. How fragile is friendship? The answer is in "Fast Friends". And what of those super efficient kids ("Being Human") who know all the answers, never a hair out of place. Why do they bug us so much when we want the kid to be like that in the first place?
Think of the plight of the teachers who have to cope with teaching their children. As the games teacher says in "Parenting Teachers", "I have to meet me in the staffroom today."
The question of exams and their viability pops up again. How do we judge kids if not for exams? As in the last book, there are no hard and fast answers. And "An End, A Beginning" has both teachers and students quite wistful at the end of the school year.
The most attractive thing about the book is that you can recognise the characters here - even if you left school 10 years ago. Students, teachers and the issues involved don't seem to have changed much. And while it wasn't very funny when you were involved, now you can afford to look back with a laugh. There are no illustrations but the language paints word pictures that are probably better than any that an artist could sketch.
Role Call Again, Poile Sengupta, Rupa & Co. Rs. 95.
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