The teaching job as a trainee in the small institute left me quite drained that I decided not to work for some time. After the final exams in January, Chetan and I just chilled out and it means we totally chilled out with no idea what we would do in the future. We had an uncertain future and surprisingly we were not worried.
Somewhere at the end of March, the sitting at home and the fun just got boring and we decided to look for a job.
It was not that we didn’t have opportunity. Just after the exams, our college arranged a campus interview for us. The campus interview was by the company which I am currently working for. I was one of the three people selected for the job. The people who took the interview told me the profile of the job. The job involved work in computer hardware and working in circuits. The job profile took me back to my 13 days job repairing electronic typewriters. I remembered myself during those 13 days and even though this was a much bigger company, I refused. At that time, I was considered stupid because this is a BIG company. In my defense, I had never heard of the company. I did not know a lot that time.
So after 2 months or so, Chetan chanced upon a teaching job in the newspaper. I already had an experience in teaching and the institute was a reputed one. I was not sure how it would go; I went for the interview and was selected. It was a piece of cake. The earlier teaching experience helped and I was selected.
The company was a technical institute which had a big contract to teach state government employees. The government decided that the government offices would be computerized and every employee should know computers.
The catch here was they had to learn during office time which meant that the classes would be in government offices. We would set up a temporary computer lab in the government offices and teach there. The course was linked to their promotion and salary increment hence the course became all the more important. The final exams would be in the institute’s premises.
Most of these government employees are beyond 25-30 years of age. They have supposedly worked in a laid-back government environment and were very reluctant to study computers. Most of them did not want to study anything. They had studied long time back. Some had children who had studied long back. When I joined, the institute had already conducted a few batches. We had new government office in the pipeline ranging from Tax offices to police personnel.
We had a rival in another institute also a reputed one. The competition for the student was fierce. Each course was conducted for three months for five days a week comprising of computer basics, Microsoft Office and Networking fundamentals and some Indian language software.
My first few days in the company were spent having an overview of the course with ample practical time. We were told to be well-versed in all application we had to teach. There were a total of 30 faculties who would go to different location in government offices and teach. All of us were in the age group of 23-27. For most of us, it was the first official job. The salary was about 4000 rupees. It was not much but enough for us. I pretty much enjoyed even after giving three-fourth salary at home.
After about two weeks, we were allocated ‘center’ as we called them. A group of two faculties per center. Sometimes 3-4 depending on the number of classes per day. Each center would have 60-100 students per batch. These students would be divided into different time slots. Each faculty would take a maximum of two classes per day. The course was divided into modules like computer basics, operating system, Microsoft word, Microsoft excel etc
I, along with a colleague was in charge of a 80 student’s batch in Old Custom House in South Mumbai. The office was near the Asiatic library. Everybody knows Asiatic library. It’s been the favorite location for Hindi movies and is normally shown as a court. The collection of books is also quite impressive.
Coming back to the batches, we had 4 batches of 20 students each which would start at 9:00 AM and the last batch would end at 6:30 PM. my colleague took the first batch and I would take the second and then he would take the third and me the last batch of the day.
Contrary to popular belief, this was a very busy office. It did registration of documents and was always crowded. Sometimes it was difficult to walk around the office. In addition a small room also carried out the registration of marriages. Newly weds who just got married and those who did not want to spend money on the marriage function or those who expected opposition to their marriage would register their marriages here. We would witness actually marriage ceremony (garlanding of the bride and groom) in the room.
The only available space for the classes and installation of the computers was the marriage registration office. The office, a small room about 20×20 feet was divided in two parts, three-fourth being allocated for the computer lab of 10 computers and one-fourth for the marriage registration office. The two entities were separated by a small partition which was about 3 feet in height.
The room itself was so small that when 20 people got in, the faculty had to stay at the entrance of the computer lab. Behind the faculty, people were registering their marriages. It was a very strange scenario where we would be teaching students and two officials would be registering marriages. The officials, mostly women would be talking in low voices so as to not to disturb the class and at the same time trying to control the enthusiastic new-weds.
My colleague and I were worried how to conduct the classes between all the chaos. One week was spent in setting up the lab. On a Monday morning, we started the classes. The first class was taken by my colleague and I observed how he taught. I had no experience in handling so many students at once. I had my first batch at 11:00 AM. Observing my colleague, it did not look difficult until I saw my batch of 19 women and 1 man.
The next three months turned out to be quite an interesting experience.
To be Continued……….