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Back To School

by Vidya Sury September 4, 2015 17 comments
Back to school. My First Job. Vidya Sury.

My first job was back to school!

I graduated in 1983 and until the exam results were out, I was at a loose end, but impatient to get a job. As a single parent, I’d seen my Mother struggle to make ends meet. She was a school teacher who taught at a school from 7 am to 1 pm, then traveled to another school to work the afternoon shift until 5 pm. Then, she visited our neighbor’s house to tutor their highschool daughter. By the time she returned home it was close to 8 pm. This was followed by a hurried dinner, taking care of school work if she had brought any home, getting ready for the next day and bed. She was exhausted by the time her day ended.

While I earned a little cash tutoring a high school kid in French, English and Science and also went to college on a merit scholarship for poor students, I couldn’t wait to get a full time job and make Mom’s life easier. Of course I secretly dreamed of being a rock star – and my Mom secretly believed I was one, although her perception of the phrase was different. I also had lofty visuals of a very successful me doing great things and naturally, changing the world and making it a better place. Naturally.

And so, when one of Mom’s colleagues had to take a 3-month sabbatical to study for her exams, she requested me to stand in for her. I was skeptical. Never saw myself as a school teacher. A guest speaker occasionally, perhaps, but settling into the routine of a school teacher? Not. My Mom, however, managed to emotionally blackmail me by pointing out how I’d be really helping her friend out and I reluctantly agreed.

back to school vidya sury


Back To School

Thus I got my first job. As a Lower Kinder Garten school teacher. I believe nothing in life comes without its perks, no matter how tough we assume it to be. This job was no exception. I love kids. I had four hours and a class of 40 cuties for company and most of them spent half their time cuddling up and filling my ears with babytalk or asking hilarious questions – all in Gujarati, a language I barely knew. They also insisted I share their lunch, a little box of dry fruits!

I remember my first day vividly, all dressed up in a cotton starched saree and being introduced to my class. I had a hard time not laughing at the 40 cherubic faces looking at me in anticipation, and after the Principal left, talking all at once.

Besides the babysitting – that’s what it really was – what else does one do with 4-5 year olds? – I also organized activities to keep them engaged. Coloring, playing, and, hold your breath, home work. I also taught them the alphabet, which was in the syllabus. They loved to wash their hands – which meant playing in the water. I often had to clean them up after their out of class activities and that included potty. And no, nobody wore diapers. They invariably informed me after they were done – in their seats in the classroom. The thought of that still brings on a huge grin.

back to school vidya sury

Other perks of the job?


Commuting with Mom.

Spending a lot of time laughing, talking, window-shopping.

Eating lunch together.

It was absolutely wonderful.

Since she taught the higher grades, her day ended at 2.30 pm, while mine was done by 12. I filled the time until she finished by helping out with other classes whenever a teacher was absent, or shopping for the library, or taking care of school trips and escorting students who had to go out representing the school on some activity or competition.

Oh yeah, I also indulged in drawing on the chalkboard! It is like bubble wrap you know. Irresistible. (Yes, I have a black board and a white board at home!)

I loved Saturdays, when we worked half-days. The Kinder Garten wound up at 10.30 while the rest of the school worked until 12. After that, we would eat lunch, and sometimes stay on to finish school work, or leave. We’d walk around the area, looking at the shops, coveting sarees and wrapping up with cone icecreams at a particular shop. Aavin Dairy Kiosks made the best cones for Rs.1 each!

We’d return home by 3.30 – 4 and have coffee together.

Then I’d regale my Grandma with my stories for the day.

And thus the three month stint sped by. I was almost sad when the teacher returned after her exams. In fact, the school was kind enough to offer me a full-time job. Tempting as it was, I chose not to accept.

I learned a lot during those three months. Being a school teacher, especially to pre-schoolers is no cakewalk. Keeping them engaged and happy is a challenge. teachers day vidya sury

I am happy to think I started off a couple of systems there, one of which included storing a set of spare clothes and art supplies.

I went on to build my career in the corporate world and did pretty well, quitting in 1997 to get married. Ironically, my last corporate job included Training – Sales and Marketing. Life does come a full circle, or so my Mom loved to say.

Naturally, my first job has a solid place of pride in my heart. It is true that every life experience makes us stronger, and sometimes, wiser. As my Mom oft repeated – spending time with school children is good for the soul. And it is. Because they are little scoops of joy.


I am participating in the Friday Reflections bloghop by Janine Ripper and Mackenzie Glanville and I chose the prompt “My First job” and really enjoyed reminiscing! I admit I had a tough time choosing which prompt to go with – all of them are fabulous.

Here are the prompts for this week:

• Write about your first job.
• Are you a winter, summer, autumn (fall) or spring person?
• Reflect on why it’s important to express gratitude and/or the difference it has made in your life.
• Reflect on the following quote: May your choices reflect your hopes. Not your fears – Nelson Mandela

Join us, please.


Also joining #MidlifeLuv Link Party hosted by  Elena of Living With Batman. Thanks for the heads up, Corinne!

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G Angela September 4, 2015 at 2:15 pm

enjoyed reading every bit of this post vidya ! and a few thoughts of my first job came to my mind, hoping to make a post.. thank you for sharing, and am glad to be here now reading this lovely post.

Vidya Sury September 7, 2015 at 12:18 pm

Thank you so much Angela!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Give and Grow Rich #CharityDay

Vishal Bheeroo September 4, 2015 at 6:58 pm

Sometimes, destiny has something different for us. As long as we do it with passion and grit, we are happy and that’s what matters. We learn a lot through our different jobs. I had a small stint as a teacher for a year and learned a lot.
Vishal Bheeroo recently posted…Tornado Giveaway: myth=mithya by Dr Devdutt Pattanaik

Vidya Sury September 7, 2015 at 12:19 pm

Teaching is an amazing experience, isn’t it, Vishal? We learn even as we share our own knowledge! Thank you for your comment!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Give and Grow Rich #CharityDay

Shalini September 4, 2015 at 7:44 pm

So many wonderful memories! And your write has left me feeling warm and happy. That too, with your mom!Thanks for sharing a lovely moment from your life.
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Vidya Sury September 4, 2015 at 7:55 pm

That was the best part, Shalini! Thank you!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Back To School

nabanita September 4, 2015 at 7:59 pm

This really made me smile Vidya…It reminded me of the time when I was in the 10th standard..Why? Well, it was the job of the 10th standard students to organize teacher’s day and me and a couple of my friends decided to take care of the piece by the class 1 students..Oh they were so cute..It was a dance basically and getting them to coordinate and listen really taught us a few things about kids..We had to keep chocolates to reward them at the end of every day…I still hold the memory of those days very close to my heart…
nabanita recently posted…I Don’t Need Your Toxic Presence In My Life Anymore…#FridayReflections

Vidya Sury September 7, 2015 at 12:21 pm

🙂 I know, right, Naba? I also loved dressing up on that day – we had the same thing in our school and we would all be desperate to be assigned the primary section – and hate it when we had to teach the high school kids! KG is the best! 1st to 3rd comes a very close second!

Thank you for sharing your memories. These are evergreen!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Happiness is Homemade

Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life September 5, 2015 at 6:55 am

Beautiful memories Vidya…funnily enough, my first job as a professional {not casual ones while I studied}, was at a school too. Except, I went back as a school counsellor. I think I’d like to back to working in a school again after almost 6 years in the health department. School holidays are the best! 😉
Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life recently posted…Fitness Friday: 8 week update

Vidya Sury September 7, 2015 at 12:22 pm

Right you are, Sanch! No other job is as interesting or comes with the paid vacation perk! Hugs!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Give and Grow Rich #CharityDay

simple girl September 5, 2015 at 1:25 pm

Such a lovely story you shared.. Loved reading it..
I love how the sunshine in your posts manages to come out of the screen and rub into me .. 🙂

Vidya Sury September 7, 2015 at 12:25 pm

Come here, Simple Girl! Hugs! You say the sweetest things and bring your own sunshine!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Come September, 27 More Things That Make Me Cry

Vinay Leo R. September 5, 2015 at 10:26 pm

This post was nice, Vidya. Right before Teachers’ Day. 🙂 I think at one time, I too wanted to be a teacher, but that never materialized. A warm memory. Happy Teachers’ Day to both of you.
Vinay Leo R. recently posted…Friday Reflections – Mind over Money

Vidya Sury September 7, 2015 at 12:24 pm

Thank you, Leo! I realized the Teacher’s Day part just as I was writing this even though it has been on my mind – Teacher’s Day is kind of a big deal at home as my Mom was a teacher and so is my husband. Thank you, again!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Happiness is the Way #DrWayneDyer #Quotes

Birgit September 8, 2015 at 1:56 am

Your mom must have truly loved what she was doing and she was a mother to more than just you but to all she taught. It’s funny because today, many belong to a blog where the question was to pick your favourite job you had. Mine is the one I have now. I mean, I am in this for 24 years. I have helped many people which has made me happy and gives me some comfort that I may have made a small difference. I love that quote as well:)

Freya September 8, 2015 at 10:38 pm

Those 3 months sound like a lot of fun Vids… Except for the potty… Eew…
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Vidya Sury September 8, 2015 at 11:02 pm

Hehehe. It wasn’t so bad as long as there was no water shortage, Freya! 🙂
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