Sharjah school teacher retires after 37 years, shares emotional journey

Sajini Narayanan Menon was the first South Indian Hindi teacher at Sharjah Indian School



Sajini Narayanan Menon (left) honoured by the Consul General of India, Aman Puri, for being the longest-serving teacher. Supplied photos
Sajini Narayanan Menon (left) honoured by the Consul General of India, Aman Puri, for being the longest-serving teacher. Supplied photos

By SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Sat 19 Mar 2022, 5:02 PM

Last updated: Sun 20 Mar 2022, 6:54 AM

“I was like a parent to the students, not a teacher, and I will miss their love,” said Sajini Narayanan Menon, a teacher at Sharjah Indian School, who is retiring after 37 years of service on March 24.

Menon came to the UAE soon after her marriage and joined the school as a Hindi teacher for lower grades on September 24, 1985.

“My father was in the army and we used to travel throughout India during my school days. Hindi was the medium of instruction for me at school. English was taught only as a special language,” informed Menon.

She was the first South Indian Hindi teacher at the school. “I landed up a job as a Hindi teacher because I am well-versed with the language,” she added.

Menon has mixed emotions about taking up the next challenge in life. “I am feeling happy as well sad. My life will transform completely after spending so many years (here as a teacher),” said Menon.

After teaching thousands of students, Menon believes she has contributed to something good and she feels a sense of pride.

“My students have been a big part of my life, and now, I’m going to be replacing them my granddaughter,” she explained

Menon said she lost her husband just 13 years after marriage, after which, life became much more challenging. “It was difficult to raise two young children. I worked hard to bring them up.”

Both her children are married and are working in the UAE. “My son, Nandakumar is an architect and daughter, Suchitra, is a chartered accountant,” she said.

During her time in the school, Menon has served under several principals, and she is thankful to each one of them. “I want to especially thank the former principals KNN Pillai, and KR Radha Krishnan for giving me opportunities to grow in life. Alos, the support of the school staff became a reason for my survival after my husband's passing away,” she said.

Menon cherishes a memorable event during her time in the school. “It was when I was invited and honoured by the Consul General of India, Aman Puri, for being the longest-serving teacher.”

“I was the only female teacher to be be invited on stage by the Consul General to light the lamp,” reminisced Menon.

She also finds students’ romantic tales memorable. “I was like a guardian them, so they would share their love stories with me. Many of them went on to get married,” she said.

Menon also enjoyed going on international school trips with the students. “Due to my bond with them, I would accompany them on every trip. I have visited NASA thrice and got a chance to several other countries,” Menon said.

“It will be difficult to adjust with my daily routine now. But I have my granddaughter, with whom I will be spending most of my time, said added.

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She advises future teachers to be dedicated and share a friendly bond. “Being a friend to your students. It will help them become better persons and instil in them a sense of humility. They will behave with their subordinates the way we behave with them. If a teacher is rude, they may also be rude to others. The more you respect your students the more respect you will get from them.”

“Do not focus only on completing the syllabus. Try to establish a student-teacher bond. This will help them complete the portion ahead of time and understand topics better,” advised Menon.

She calls UAE her first home as she has lived most of her life here. “Whatever I gained and lost in life was here,” she said as she looks forward to spending the rest of her life here.

ayaz@khaleejtimes.com


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