- Some parents have abandoned these special kids and some other believe that these children are a curse on the society.
- Due to the lack of funds sometimes, there is a scarcity of teachers, books, and even food.
- Teaching Blind and Special kids is all about passion and commitment that you have for the society.
- It is not an easy profession. It requires a lot of patience and persistence because here you deal with kids who are “Differently Able”
- Although remuneration is not the thing one should look for in government schools, it is good enough.
Name — Hari Sankar Das
Profession — Hostel Superintendent, Blind School in Alipurduar, West Bengal
Age — 50 Years
Gender — Male
City — Alipurduar
Industry — Teaching
Where have you been born and raised?
I was born in Dhaka, now Bangladesh. After partition, we shifted to West Bengal. In the initial days after the partition, it was a struggle as there was nowhere where we could get a shelter. Finally, we decided to reside in Alipurduar, a place near Darjeeling. Back then, most of it was a forest. Lots of tribal people lived there. I was raised along with three elder sisters.
What is your family background?
My father had a small medicine shop. Back in those days, medical facilities were not so developed in our area. So, my father was a part-time doctor. My mother was a homemaker. We initially lived in a joint family. That time was different from now. Life was less complex and competitive and there was peace all around.
Who had the most influence on you?
Well, I was very interested in International politics and was highly influenced by the ideas of Marxism and Leninism. I liked the way they had defined life and how that could be a beneficial idea to promote equality and eradicate the concept of poverty.
Please give us a summary of your career?
My life can be summarised in a graph of numerous ups and downs.
My initial days were filled with tough struggle. I started my career at a very young age. I joined CPM (Political Party) at a very early age. Also I was highly influenced by the contributions of the great leaders in the freedom struggle and at one point in time, I too wanted to do something big for the society.
But slowly due to certain reasons and commitments, I backed out and found a job. I did my B.Ed. (for special students). I joined as a teacher/Hostel Warden in a government school for Blind children.
From there onwards, my journey started as a teacher. I also learned special courses like the Brail technique to teach the Blind. Right now, I am the Hostel Superintendent of the school. I also take classes in Arts group.
What are your educational qualifications?
Well, after completing my 12th standard, I had to take a break for numerous reasons, including financial problems.
However, I completed graduation later in life Humanities and also did B.Ed. for special children (autistic & blind). I wanted to pursue further education but due to certain financial constraints, I had to quit.
Which institutions are best for the entry in the profession of Teaching Special Students?
There are a lot of government and private institutes from where you can do Bachelor’s, followed by B.Ed. If you want to teach special students, then you will have to find colleges that help you learn Braille and other languages for Deaf and Blind. There are various levels of the course and the fee structure varies. One can opt accordingly.
What has been the approximate costs involved in pursuing the profession you are in?
The cost of graduation can be negligible in Government colleges and can be few lakhs in Private ones. For B.Ed., it takes around 2–3 Lakhs. I did my B.ED from Ramkrishna Mission.
For the Special course such as braille Technique or courses for Deaf and Blind, it takes around 15–20K depending on the level you opt for. There are various levels.
What is the remuneration one should expect while starting out as a Teacher for Special Students?
The work that I am involved in is more or less a social work and commitment towards the society. So, more than remuneration what matters is one’s passion towards the work.
If you work for a government institution, a fixed scale is followed. For private firms, it varies greatly.
For the government sector, the following is the average income:
Starting Out — 3 to 4 lakhs per annum
5 years of experience — 4 to 6 lakhs per annum
10 years of experience — 8 to 10 lakhs per annum
Describe your work? What do you typically do on a normal day?
My day begins at 7 am. I go to the school at around 11 am. There, I take classes and check hostel records. It is almost like a normal school routine.
I work from 11 am to 5 pm. Some days, I work beyond 5 pm, when I help students with their studies or solve issues in the hostel.
I work from Monday to Saturday.
As these students are special and their needs are also special, I act as their father. There is a very wonderful bond that we teachers and student share.
What kind of person would be happy in your career of helping Special Children?
This field is more of a social commitment where you want to contribute to the social good. It is not easy at times. One needs to have a lot of patience while dealing with the special kids. If you are ready to cope up with these challenges and want to help those who need your help, this can be your calling.
What are some of the positives that would encourage someone to take up the Job of Teaching Special Students?
Ok. So, there are a lot of pluses. The very basic and the important one is self-satisfaction that you get. In our day to day life, we forget that there are so many people who require our assistance in a leading a normal life. Your efforts bring a smile to many.
Remuneration is good enough. With experience, you get a good scope of promotions.
Although there are a lot of responsibilities at times, you get to interact with really rare and special talents. These people inspire you greatly.
You get a lot of holidays.
What are some of the challenges one is expected to face in this profession?
This profession tests you daily as it demands an extreme level of hard work, focus, passion, patience and a never give up attitude.
At times, there is hardly any support that we get from the child’s family. Some have already abandoned them while some are really ignorant. They believe that these children are a curse on the society. We, teachers, take these as challenges and keep you going.
At times, due to the lack of funds from the government, there is a scarcity of teachers, books, and even food.
What are some of the skills/technological advancement one is required to possess in your job profile?
Skills as such I would say you need to be good at communication and have a lot of patience. You need to be an expert in the special language so that there is no gap in communication between you and kids.
Given a choice, would you have preferred another career?
Honestly speaking this was never my choice. I always wanted to be into politics.
What would be your advice to students or professionals who are just starting their journey on a path similar to yours?
If you want to get into the field of teaching special kids, first of all, you need to be very sure about this. Secondly, you will face a lot of problems but always remember if there is will, there is a way.