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You Don’t Know What You Have Until It’s Gone by Joanne Skourletos

August 30, 2015

Jo 8

Garbage in front of our school during the strike.

Reading the book The White Tiger gave me a better understanding about the lifestyle of people in India that I would have never fully grasped without this book. When Balram was describing his school experience when he was a young boy I was shocked at how conditions in their school could be so chaotic, until I witnessed it first hand. In my school in India, I went out to the courtyard while my class was still in session. I realized it was so loud in the courtyard and that many young students were running around, instead of lbeing in their classroom. I looked into one classroom to see probably around fifty students, mostly ages 6-7, running around their classroom, climbing on desks and jumping through windows. When I looked around for the teacher I realized they were nowhere to be found. Within the midst of all of this chaos I noticed one young boy, standing by his desks using his tip-toes to help him to reach the desk so that he could write. This really made me reflect on how hard this little boy was working to continue his education, even without a teacher in a very chaotic classroom.

Later, I asked my fellow what might have been happening in that classroom and she explained that as a teacher you are a government employee. Government employees can never get fired, and will continue to get paid even if they don’t show up. WOW! It is no wonder that teachers don’t show up, when they know very well they will receive the same benefits for staying home.

Witnessing this and learning about its cause really brought the scene from The White Tiger alive. When reading it I thought that it was likely an over-exaggeration, or something that rarely occurs. But, after witnessing this unsupervised classroom, it really connected that little boy trying to do his work in a chaotic classroom to Balram’s school experience as a young boy.

Jo 9

Student in an unsupervised classroom trying to do his work, while his peers become out-of-control around him.

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