(Update: As per latest reports, the state education department has revoked its transfer order after a video showing children crying and pleading their teacher to not leave went viral on social media last week. The students have won.)
Despite the travails of the Indian public-school system, there are occasions when it throws up heart-warming stories.
One such story played out on Wednesday at a government high school in Velliagaram, Tamil Nadu, when the news of the transfer of G Bhagawan, a 28-year-old English and Tamil teacher, was met with widespread protests from both students and their parents in the Tiruvallur district.
When Bhagawan tried to exit the school premises on Wednesday, he was met with unbridled love, hugs and tears from students who held onto his arms, reported the Times of India. Not many teachers have the honour of garnering such degree of love and admiration from their students.
In fact, students backed by their parents decided not to attend school on Tuesday, expressing their displeasure at the state education department’s decision to transfer him.
“We don’t want him to be transferred. He has been one of the most supportive staff members and has been like a brother to many of us,” said Nithya, a student, to the Times of India.
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Over the four years he spent at the school, Bhagawan has gone beyond the call of duty as an English teacher, performing the role of friend, guide and brother for his students.
“Many of us were not comfortable with English, but with his encouragement, we were able to improve. He was always available to clear doubts at any time of the day, and we could call him even late in the evenings after the special classes,” said Tamilarasan, a student, told ToI.
Besides teaching English and sticking to the government-mandated curriculum, Bhagawan would offer them “information on GK, social service, developing skills and prepare for competitive exams and focus on employment-oriented education,” reported the publication.
Even the school principal has offered his support.
“We have requested the department to look into the possibility of retaining the teacher. He is one of the best teachers we have, completely involving himself in teaching students. During special classes that would go beyond school hours, he would help in arranging food for students and had been overall very friendly,” he told the publication.
With the story going viral on social media, the education department has put his transfer on hold for 10 days.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)