Many hands were raised, as I displayed a fun picture depicting the job of the Astronaut, on the smartboard. All eager eyes were pleading me to give him or her a chance to speak about it, bobbing from their seats.
Before I go further, let me introduce myself. I am Parvati Subramaniam. I am a Kinder Garten teacher. For my Senior KG class, I had planned to introduce various professions throughout that month.
Here, I was in the class encouraging the students to speak about the picture. Letting the children open up on the topic and then supplying them with the details was my way of unfolding the subject. I was delighted at the response from the children. Kids these days are smart, aren’t they?
What caught my attention was a twinkle in the eyes of Tejas who had raised his hand. He was brimming with joy to share something special. What was more interesting for me was the fact that though sharp in grasping the concepts, Tejas was one of the most introverted and reclusive children in the class. He was the one who would need a lot of space and encouragement to open up and express.
“Children please put your hands together as I call Tejas to speak about the picture”, I announced.
Tejas came and stood facing of the smartboard. He looked at the board very carefully and said pointing to the figure of the astronaut….
“This is my father. My mother told me he lives amongst the stars. When I asked her about what he does there, she had told me that he has a lot of work to do. I guess that’s the reason he has no time to visit us or call us. I think, if I was also there amongst the stars, I would be lost in checking out a lot of things around me. There must be rockets whizzing past, shooting stars to say hello to. And maybe an alien space ship to check out. I will carry the magnifying glass that my granny uses to read newspapers, to find out tiny stars. I have no complaint now that my father has no time for us. Now I have some plans. I will join him up there in the stars when I grow up and then we will have lots of fun together”. With that he paused and looked confidently at me.
A tear was about to escape from my eye that would have thrown a wet blanket on the child’s newfound joy. For I was aware that Tejas had lost his father as the space ship he was in, met with an accident at the hands of the cosmic storm, when Tejas was a toddler. Clearing my throat, that was chocked with emotions, I clapped and said, “Well said. Don’t forget to say hello to us from your spaceship when you go up there. Children put your hands together for Tejas”.
The class clapped for Tejas as he returned to his seat confidently with plans of meeting his father among the stars, leaving a vacuum in my heart.