After I left the job of the traveling typewriter technician, I realized that I need to upgrade my qualification if not my knowledge. I tried to get a degree but did not get admission and hence joined a post diploma course in Computers. My stream changed from Electronics to Computers. Although there is not much difference between the two, I became more of the logical stream with programs and logic.
It was a one and a half year course with last 6 months devoted to training where the students would be sent to work in companies without a salary but maybe with a stipend. When I say maybe, it means that salary or stipend as we call it is optional. A easier way for small companies to get cheap labor.
The first six month being a back bencher, copying notes and just scraping through exams. In the next six month I realized that it was not that difficult being among the toppers in the class. We just had a class of 28 students. I just had to use some brain of mine. So I cleaned the dust off my brain and started paying more attention in class.
At the end of the semester, I was the best Oracle student in the class that my recruitment teacher marked a job for me in a programming firm. As one by one, all my classmates got a job, I was left along with another guy. Finally the manager of the software company came from his tour and we both went for the interview there. My classmate got the job and I didn’t. Now I was the only one left without a job. All my classmates had secured a job.
Finally my teacher sent me to a Computer training institute for a teaching job. I didn’t want to go. I had been a back bencher all my life and never been on stage even to have a closer look at the stage. I had never spoken in front of anybody in my whole life and a teaching job was definitely not for me. A teaching job would need the confidence to teach and I did not even have the confidence to speak here.
However there were no more jobs forthcoming and the only choice was complete my project in college or get a job wherever offered. I was given a choice to come back if I didn’t like the job. I went for the interview, told them I had never taught in my life and still got the job. The salary, 1000 rupees. It was far too less but that’s what a trainee gets. Chetan and Vaibhav worked in a different company and they got nothing except the experience. However they were in much better job compared to the technical knowledge they got.
The institute was managed by a group of friends. One of them owned the place and as they had a place and Computer was a rage then, they started a computer institute. The location was right in front of the Vile Parle railway station and yet it hardly did any business. When I joined, there were two more faculties and the institute had just started. I was the one with no experience. In college I studied on age old system like DOS and Windows 95 and I had never in my life seen Windows 98 (its not much difference though) and Microsoft office.
Again I was given a crash course in two days by one of the faculty. Thankfully the institute had just started and was not doing well. Hence we did not get many students and whoever came was a one student batch. Everyday I would learn the topic and teach the same to the students. Any new query outside would have me struggling for words. Initially it was very difficult as I would be pushed in a corner by the students. I was just a few years older than the students who came to study.
Slowly I learnt to teach. I did not have any formal training in teaching or computers, at least the subjects I taught. While teaching my intention was to make it simpler for the students as well as make it interesting. Although a teacher is supposed to do that, I had teachers in my life, who had taught the subject in such a boring way that I had lost interest in the subject altogether. I would try to teach them in the way I understood the subject. The method had its advantages and disadvantages. The students understood better that way when the topic was taught in their way.
Many classes later I understood that some of the concept I taught were wrong, not completely wrong but I understood them differently and that is the way I taught. I was not so mature enough to admit my mistakes and so I let them be. My students went out with wrong information. But you learn from you mistakes and learn I did and I hope they did too.
Handling the first student was difficult. Handling my last student was easy. After all you learn from experience. So if I had a class in the afternoon, I would be studying that topic in the morning.
I worked with two women colleagues in the office. S was a faculty and V was the center in-charge cum receptionist. One was married and the other was engaged. As the students were less, we were the only three people around. One of the three friends was the manager and he would come sometimes to check on everything. He left the company after sometime. So we three would chat when there was no work. We would give the students some assignment and then chat again. It was an easy going, boring job.
Incidentally I worked with V’s brother in the next job. As the months passed, the job became quite boring. As a trainee, I could not say ‘NO’ to many tasks. At one time, I was teaching in another institute (an institute owned by the same people) then walking to the current institute and teaching there. In the last two months, I had two batches in the morning and one in late evening. I could not go home in between because the traveling would take time so I slept in the classroom. I would reach home after 11:00 PM and would start at 9:00 AM from home the next day.
I was taking two batches at the same time. For one student I was teaching the basics of computers and for other Foxpro programming. At the end of the day, I was drained of all energy I had. I wanted to leave the job but could not as I was still left with two months of training period. I talked to my teachers and they couldn’t help either.
In the fifth month, they asked me to take another batch in the evening and I had to put my foot down. I asked them to reduce my batches or put me in one half of the day or increase my salary/stipend. There was no other faculty who would stay after all they had a choice. I had no choices till my training period got over. I stayed but with an increase of 850 rupees. Although I got the increased salary for a month only, I was glad that at least I did not take it lying down.
Finally the six month of training period got over and I had not learnt any technical knowledge but I realize that I had become confident. Before the job I was a very silent person. After the job, I could talk and talk a lot.
The six months I stayed there, I was desperate to get out. I learnt that the typewriter company I had worked for had closed down. The owner of the institute offered me a job in the institute after the training. I was eager to get out and refused.
Two months after I left the job, the institute closed down. Three months later I got a job of a teacher again and life was never the same again.
To be continued…….