My daughter completed 10th standard and has joined 11th standard. I and my daughter started to have casual conversation about her school subjects, as I still remember my basics Maths, physics, chemistry. Earlier childhood, my daughter started to read story books and continue to read school books with the same attention and never went for special tuition or extra classes. When she wanted more clarity earlier, I introduced her to Khan academy and how to search for topic on Khan academy and then she started to research for clarification herself.
If you live in place like Bangalore, 11th class child are under a lot of pressure to study well from your peer students and parents from peer parents. You have multiple coaching institutes that call parent on the phone asking you to put your child in their school. There are schools that call parent on the phone and ask you to apply for admission in their school and share their focus for entrance examinations.
I asked my daughter whether she wants to join any classes. She asked me a question “Did you attend extra classes while you were at school”
My answer was Yes. I reminded for Subramaniam Sir (Block-27 Neyveli) whose only classes I attended while studying 12th standard in my school. (different from Block-9 Subramaniam Sir whose classes were attended by lot of my classmates). Here are my memories at times when there is biopic release called Super 30 based on real life Super 30 classes.
Subramaniam Sir was maverick. He does not collect any fees to students and would not entertain fees from students. There was no application form to fill and he just reminded you by name. He worked in good position Neyveli lignite corporation and offered these classes as support to student to learn maths topics well. I have heard rumor that he had son who expired due to some snake bite or some unavoidable situations.
Admission process: No one get easy admission to Block-27 Subramaniam Sir. If you come wearing t-shirt and request admission, your chance of getting admissions are low. If you come in 4-wheeler with your parents and park in front of his house, your chance of getting admissions are low. You need to humble and simple and show urge to learn and respect to teacher. (not he expects respect).
You cannot move your hair in style or wear jeans to class. You run the risk of being asked to go home and cannot attend the class in future. When students of higher management of NLC come by car to get admission, they have their admission denied and no one can me Subramaniam Sir change his decision. If students come by 2-wheeler, your admission may be revoked. All of us come to class only by bicycle. You would have bicycle pump at Sir’s home if your bicycle has less air in wheels and you can self-pump air.
Classes: Block-27 Subramaniam Sir maths classes did not have table and chairs. Students to have sit on the ground along with the teacher and work on the problems. At times on weekends, Sir would sit down in the garden and there will be mats for students to sit around in the garden.
There was Chemistry Sir who would come and teach Chemistry and it was optional for student to attend chemistry classes. The chemistry class monthly fees was Rs 30 and Chemistry teacher would forget to ask for fees, effectively fees was not demanded. Chemistry class used to happen in open shed with wooden benches. Even when it rains, the students for maths class continue to sit down in Sir’s house living room and study room. (Remember it was D Type Quarters of Neyveli).
Learning: At times, you asked sir for doubt in one maths problem and have attempted and struggle to move forward, he would provide hint to move forward. I used to study for IIT-JEE entrance examinations in those times. At times, I would have difficulty to solve complex problem and this topic is also in school syllabus. When I asked for clarification, Sir would clarify my doubts and enable me to resolve the same with a word “that this problem is not in schoolbook. Are you preparing for some other exam? “
Internal tests: Block-27 Subramaniam Sir never asked students to take internal tests. The interest to learn was of the students and Subramaniam Sir played role of coach helping student become better in what she or he wants.
While I stopped going to classed post November 1992, I have heard that Subramaniam Sir helped student to perform night study in his office during exam preparation holidays. He used to be awake through the night with students and his wife would make all of them tea/coffee so that they can be awake and study well and get good marks.
After sharing this story with my daughter, I asked her whether she wants to explore AhaGuru, founded by Balaji Sampath of Chennai and offers online courses for school students. I was privileged as part of MobiSir to interact with Balaji and be part of software development of the online course of AhaGuru in early years. She explored AhaGuru and chose the option that allows to access explanatory videos and no online classes.
At this junction, I had mindset to write wrong about how things are today. Then I decided to kindly remember long term thinking of NLC, PSU company.( think all these benefits are still offered to their employees).
- They used to conduct free entrance class coaching classed for all students after completion of 12th class exams. NLC brought teachers from different part of Tamil Nadu, paid the teacher and made facility for student to study for free or for a nominally low account.
- Students scoring top marks in different Neyveli schools were provided with scholarship that reimbursed the whole tuition fees across the course duration of their engineering or medical stream. Students whose parents were NLC employees were eligible for this scholarship. NLC continue to reimburse student who completed 12th class in school of Neyveli whose father retires from NLC right after student completes 12th standard
- Prior to joining my first job, I had my medical examination done at Neyveli hospital for free. All dependent children of NLC employees received free medical facility (I was dependent of my father as college student)
To end, I decided that to mark all my volunteering activities in community and learning program offered by me at my work to be “Pay Backwards to Subramaniam Sir of Block-27 Neyveli”