Meet The Teacher Whose ‘Sweeping’ School Service Went Viral

Saba Khan

SRINAGAR

Zubair Khan cleaning his school. This photo went viral on social media.
Zubair Khan cleaning his school. This photo went viral on social media.

My name is Zubair Khan. I am a teacher from south Kashmir’s Kokernag, who loves his profession for the very spirit of it. I can sacrifice my life for the well being of my students. I love to teach students from underprivileged section of the society—why? Because, I was also one among them well before becoming their teacher.

These underprivileged students don’t have resources to rely on. Hailing from a humble family background, I can understand: what does it mean to be at their position.

In our Government Middle School at Vayilo Kokernag—tucked in a backward village—mostly poor students study. There are only five of us teaching 85 students. We have to give thirteen classes per day.

You know, the best thing about our school is the method of our teaching. We don’t stick to traditional methods. I hate to cause yawning in students with my teaching. That’s not me—and that’s not my teaching principles. I rather encourage them to think ‘out of box’ than letting them follow a beaten track.

While saying this, I don’t mean, my students must not learn basics. It is just that, they must stay realistic than idealistic. I reckon, that’s the most important thing a teacher can do to his/her students. While we must encourage our students to sour high like Shaheens, we must also help them to stay grounded. They must be taught small things—I mean skills, which are essential for life. This is how I conduct my classroom sojourns.

But I don’t think I am doing something different. I am sure – countless unsung teachers are silently serving the society to the best of their abilities. They have their plans, their own roadmaps. They are grooming students to the best of their abilities. We are all serving a cause—the cause of shaping our nation’s future.

In our school, however, a different situation prevails. Peon comes once in a week to clean the mess. But I believe school must be the model of cleanliness. That’s why after the school hours, I myself clean the premises of the school.

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Zubair Khan with his students.

I partly do it, because I want to give an impression to my students that no work is derogatory—as our perceived notions have dismissed them. I can tell you with an assurance that the very act does go well with my students. They also happily participate in it. It helps them to create a sense of belonging for their school besides helping them to stay punctual.

Also, I often take my students to a barber for hair-cutting besides taking them for bath. Most of them are so poor that they can’t even afford these basic things. For this, even if I have to spend some amount, I happily do that.

It’s not a big deal. Government teachers earn good—so even if they have to spend a portion of it on students’ welfare, it must be done and encouraged. I believe, God gives us—teachers—a beautiful gift of teaching. So, they look up to us, expect from us the things, which perhaps they can’t even expect from their parents. And as a teacher, we must respect that.

You see, I have seen poverty in my life. After my father’s death, my mother while upbringing me inculcated a sense of societal welfare. And today, thanks to Allah, when I am earning good, I am happily spending some portion of it on my students. And the same fact makes me happy.

For teacher, let me tell you, no welfare is as great as his/her student’s welfare.

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