Special thanks to special teachers

Special thanks to special teachers

Guru Purnima is observed across India as the day when disciples honour their Gurus, and students honour their teachers. The tradition was started by the disciples of Sage Vyas, who celebrated Gurupurnima by visiting their Guru and worshipping Him on his Birthday. Thousands of years later, the student-teacher relationship remains one of the most respected and cherished. But some student-teacher relationships are more special than others. Like those between special children and their teachers.

On July 02, 38 teachers and five principals from special schools were honoured at a programme organised to recognise and appreciate their efforts. The occasion was Guru Purnima and the programme was organised by the Inner Wheel Club of Thane Hills.

The programme was held at the premises of Jidd School and principals, teachers from special schools Snehadeep, Jidd, Kamalini and Zaveri Thanawala participated. The chief guest was veteran teacher from Thane, Ashok Tilak, who is the former principal of Saraswati Secondary School (Naupada). Tilak has been teaching in Thane for over 36 years and has won several awards including the National Award for best Teacher in 1995, presented by the then President of India, Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma. The Guest of Honour was social worker Sunanda Patwardhan who is the principal of Deaf and Dumb School at Jawahar and is actively involved in helping adivasis. More than 100 parents of special children also attended the programme.

At the programme, Tilak praised the efforts of the teachers and also spoke about his personal experience with special children. He revealed that his sister is mentally challenged and therefore he shared the grief and plight of parents of special children. He said that as compared to a few decades ago when joint family was still the norm and it was easier to look after a special child, it is much more difficult in today’s world, which is dominated by the nuclear family system.

The programme was the idea of Sharmistha Choudhary, the president of Inner Wheel Club of Thane Hills. Sharmistha thinks that teachers of special children are doing a fantastic job and they deserve to be appreciated. She said, "I was a teacher at Sri Ma Bal Niketan School and I know how difficult it is to manage even normal children. So when I saw these teachers selflessly working for special children, I was moved. But I was aware these teachers rarely get recognition for their work."

The teachers and principals present at the dais seemed happy. Principal of Jidd School, Shyamshree Bhonsle, said, "These occasions give us reason to cheer. The day was special. Most of our children, especially those who are mentally challenged, are incapable of understanding the concept of Gurupurnima. Yet, when our efforts are recognised by parents of the children and the society, it feels good and motivates us to do even more."

Teaching is a noble profession, they say. But teaching special children is perhaps the noblest of all. On behalf of all special children and their parents, we take this opportunity to offer a special thanks to all their teachers.

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