Published: 31st January 2018
This headmaster from Villupuram begs his students to study, quite literally
G Balu takes it upon himself to individually visit the students and their families in their homes and discuss why they are unable to study, he feels kindness goes a long way in helping people change
A few days ago, a video surfaced of a school headmaster kneeling in front of his student with his hands joined together. The headmaster was actually begging his student to study for his exams since he had failed many of his subjects but this was apparently not the first time he was doing it.
Fifty-six-year old G Balu from Villupuram has been a teacher for 30 years and a headmaster for the last three years. He has always been very popular with his students because Balu has always felt that nothing works better than kindness when it comes to dealing with students. "The students who come to our school come from extremely underprivileged backgrounds, economically and caste-wise. They don't really have too many ambitions and they find it very difficult to find the will to study. You can't deal with such students with anger or punishment, what they need is for someone to be compassionate to them," he explained.
But kneeling down and begging, that does seem a tad bit much, right? Well, Balu doesn't think that at all, "I always hold the hands of the child when I give them such advice and sometimes just automatically I go down on my knees. When I do that, it also leaves an impact on the students, they have a change of mind. When they see their headmaster kneeling down, they want to at least try and study well."
Reaching Out: Balu with one of his students at their home, as others gather around in admiration
In this particular incident, Balu said that the school had achieved a 65 percent pass percentage in the 12th board but this year only 25 percent of students passed in the half-yearly, "I was very upset with this, I wondered what to do. I decided to go to the student's house and meet the parents and when I saw the students I held their hands and pleaded with them to study well for the coming exam, that's when someone took the video," he explained.
A lot of teachers in today's world don't even take an interest in troublesome students, usually dismissing them the minute they see the students disrespecting them. So does Balu's ego not get hurt when he kneels down in front of someone probably quarter his age, "When it comes to academics, I'm strict about students handing in their work. But in case they, I don't immediately scold them or provoke them, I give them extra time. This is generally how I deal with students, it isn't really about ego. It just comes naturally to me to do these things."
"I have a very high level of tolerance. So I have the patience to deal with difficult students. We have students from the most backward of castes and those are very poor. it's very hard to convince them to train harder, study better and dream bigger," he said. Giving examples of people who inspired him, Balu said that even Periyar dealt with everyone with love and so did Mother Theresa.
One of a Kind: Balu feels that the only way to get through to a child is to be their friend even when they are breaking rules
But has this method worked in his favour? "I taught in a school in Selaiyur once, there were about 4-5 students who would always come to class drunk, they were going through a very rough phase in their lives. I used the same way to convince them. They actually ended up giving up alcohol, performing really well in their exams. They all passed that year and until today they remain in touch with me," he said with a smile. But what such a method also teaches the students is that kindness can work wonders, "More than excelling academically, it is important that they also grow up to be good human beings and only if they are treated with kindness and compassion can they show that same kindness to other people."
So is this a method that he would other teachers and headmasters to use as well, we ask him- "Well, we obviously cannot expect all teachers to fall on their student's feet to ask them to study. But I do believe that it is important that they have a friendly approach with their students, we have to give them a chance. ," he added.