School Days Reminiscences of Balroop Singh

School Days, Reminiscences of Balroop Singh

Welcome to the School Days, Reminiscences series in which my champion bloggers and authors share reminiscences of their school days. It’s my small way of thanking them for their support and of letting you know about their services and publications.

This week, I am pleased to introduce Balroop Singh, poet, writer, blogger and teacher. On her blog and in her poetry, Balroop speaks deep truths about life, relationships and emotions. Wherever you are, whatever your stage in life, I’m sure you’ll be able to connect with Balroop’s wisdom.

When responding to other interviews in this series, Balroop commented, “I have some interesting memories of school, very different from the ones shared here”. How could I not invite her to join in too? I’m sure that, as you read her interview, you will see not only the differences but the similarities, between Balroop’s school days and those of others.

Before we begin the interview, I’ll allow Balroop to tell you a little of herself:

Balroop Singh, a former teacher and an educationalist always had a passion for writing.  She would jot down her reflections on a piece of paper and forget about them till each drawer of her home started overflowing with poetic reminders, popping out at will!

She is a poet, a creative non-fiction writer, a relaxed blogger and a doting grandma. She writes about people, emotions and relationships. Her poetry highlights the fact that happiness is not a destination but a chasm to bury agony, anguish, grief, distress and move on! No sea of solitude is so deep that it can drown us. Sometimes aspirations are trampled upon, the boulders of exploitation and discrimination may block your path but those who tread on undeterred are always successful.

When turbulences hit, when shadows of life darken, when they come like unseen robbers, with muffled exterior, when they threaten to shatter your dreams, it is better to break free rather than get sucked by the vortex of emotions.

A self-published author, she is the poet of Sublime Shadows of Life and  Emerging From Shadows and Timeless Echoes. Her latest release is Moments We Love.

She has also written When Success Eludes, Emotional Truths Of Relationships Read FREE with Kindle Unlimited and Allow Yourself to be a Better Person.

Balroop Singh has always lived through her heart. She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling leaves and the sound of waterfalls. The moonlight streaming through her garden, the flowers, the meadows, the butterflies cast a spell on her. She lives in San Ramon, California.

Balroop Singh school days reminiscences

Welcome, Balroop.

Let’s talk school. First, could you tell us where you attended school?

I attended various schools in India, all of them in my hometown Ludhiana, (Punjab, a state in Northern India.) 

Did you attend a government, private or independent school?

In India, private schools are called public schools, which are managed by an organization or an independent authority. I attended both. I was sent to a Government School after 8th grade. It was traumatic for me because the atmosphere and standard was much lower than the Public School I had attended till then but I adjusted quite well and made some loving friends.

What is the highest level of education you achieved?

I got a Master’s degree in English from Punjab University. Later on I also got a Bachelor’s degree in Education and became the topper of Punjab University.

What work or profession did you choose after school and was there anything in school that influenced this choice?

The first job that I picked up was that of a lecturer in a college. I was proud of myself that I got the first job I had applied for! At that time earning some money for my family was the main inspiration but I was married off soon and I quit this job just after one year to join my husband in New Delhi. After 6 six years of hiatus, I joined a public school and became a high school teacher. 

Balroop Singh school days reminiscences

What is your earliest memory of school?

I must be in Kindergarten or class – 1, the teacher told us to learn a story and narrate it. I was beaten for not learning or failing to recite. The memory is hazy but I remember the cane falling on my legs even today.

What memories do you have of learning to read?

Balroop Singh school days reminiscences 

This one is from the school I liked the best. Language teachers were so kind that I developed a love for reading all the three languages we were taught.

What memories do you have of learning to write?

Balroop Singh school days reminiscences

Good handwriting was nurtured and emphasized upon. Initial lessons were given on slate, which was like a small blackboard. We had to write on a wooden slate, which was washed and plastered everyday with a special material. We used a wooden pen and the ink, which could only be used for a wooden slate. This was done at home everyday.

What do you remember about math classes?

I didn’t like Math class and got punished, probably for talking and disturbing others. Learning multiplication tables was the initial dislike that grew into larger proportions.

What was your favourite subject? 

English. I admired my English teachers and always got the highest marks in this subject, which further boosted my interest. They praised my handwriting and my papers were shown to other students to exemplify neatness. 

What did you like best about school? 

In middle school, I learnt self-discipline, which was taught by the Headmistress in a novice manner. She didn’t believe in corporal punishment. She had her own ways of convincing the students that hard work is a matter of habit.

She had a number of black conical caps, which were placed in one corner of her room. All those students who didn’t do their homework were brought to her room. She didn’t need to say a word! All of them knew they had to wear those caps, one by one and go single file, out of her room. Nobody accompanied these students, they knew that they had to go into each class, hang their head, stand for a minute and go out. Nobody dared to laugh at them! Nobody wished to repeat this act. Every student learnt a lesson after wearing that conical black cap! The magical cap!

You may call this a harsh punishment but it carved a deep impact on the students. At least at me! I could never think of neglecting my homework.

What did you like least about school?  

I didn’t like PE (Physical Education) classes, as no real training was given about sports. I never played any random games, as I was scared of falling and getting hurt!

How do you think schools have changed since your school days? 

There is a sea change! Schools nurture social and emotional development, respect the students and teach them with the latest techniques. Corporal punishment has been abolished. Creativity, cultural awareness, freedom of expression and sports training is encouraged at all stages of schooling. Public schools compete with each other to produce best academic results. Some schools encourage competitive spirit by placing the top scorers in an ability section.

Balroop Singh school days reminiscences

How do you think schools could be improved?

First, recruitment of qualified teachers who feel inspired to take the responsibility of teaching the next generation is essential. Second, they have to be paid at par with others to attract intellect and talent to this profession. Number of students in a class needs to be reduced and value-based education with flexible curriculum could be helpful for those students who want to pursue higher studies.

thank you for your participation

Thank you for sharing your reminiscences of school and thoughts about education in general, Balroop. It’s been wonderful to have you here. Although there may be differences in your school days, there are familiar threads that seem to run through them too. 

Find out more about Balroop Singh on

her blog: Emotional Shadows

her Goodreads author page: Balroop Singh

her Amazon author page: Balroop Singh

Connect with her on social media

Twitter: @BalroopShado

Facebook: Emotional Shadows

Pinterest: Balroop Singh

Balroop Singh school days reminiscences

Purchase your own copy of books by Balroop Singh

From Amazon

If you missed previous reminiscences, check them out here:

Charli Mills

Sally Cronin

Anne Goodwin

Geoff Le Pard

Hugh Roberts

Debby Gies

Pauline King

JulesPaige

D. Avery

Christy Birmingham

Miriam Hurdle

Robbie Cheadle

Marsha Ingrao

Ritu Bhathal

Joy Lennick

Darlene Foster

Susan Scott

Barbara Vitelli

Sherri Matthews

Mabel Kwong

Chelsea Owens

Carol Taylor

Pamela Wight

Pete Springer

Look for future interviews in this series to be posted on Sunday evenings AEST.
Coming soon:

Yvette Prior

Colleen Chesebro

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your comments. Please share your thoughts.

 

77 thoughts on “School Days, Reminiscences of Balroop Singh

  1. Erica/Erika

    Nice to meet you Balroop! I can see why Norah used the word “wisdom.” Unfortunately it is often challenges that help make us wise.

    I know many of the comments refer to “the beating.” I am sorry you had to go through this. I think it would forever change me. “The strap” was still popular in the school I attended in Canada. Archaic! And very unfortunate when you are wrongly accused.

    You also remind me how we were given grades on our handwriting.

    Thank you Norah for featuring Balroop. I learned a great deal reading through this article. I agree with Norah’s introduction when she says we will “be able to connect with Balroop’s wisdom.” A very interesting, informative and insightful post. I plan to head over to Balroop’s blog site to read more:) Erica

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment in relation to Balroop’s reminiscences, Erica. It’s a shame that it is the challenges that make us wise. People often say, when something unpleasant happens, that it was a learning experience. It’s much the same thing. I guess there is truth in it too. I think you will enjoy Balroop’s blog. Thanks for joining in the conversation.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  2. Pingback: School Days, Reminiscences — the first 25 | Norah Colvin

  3. Prior...

    Enjoyed reading about Balroop and her India roots.
    How awesome that teachers helped instill the love for lit – and now Balroop contributes with her own books.
    ouch – to the cane in kindergarten

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  4. Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life.

    A fascinating step back in time Balroop…our head teacher’s weapon of choice was a wooden ruler on the back of the calves.. boy could it sting. But I agree there has to be some form of deterrent and the most effective for me was being put in a corner for 10 minutes..nobody liked that.. A wonderful career that followed and thanks Norah for another riveting interview..

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. balroop2013

      Can you believe high school students could be slapped on the face but one of our teachers would put the student’s dupatta (a long scarf) on her hand and that mitigated the effect…I wonder whether it was due to summer heat or she was a little kind!
      Thank you for coming over to read it Sally.

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
    2. Norah Post author

      Being hit by a teacher is not much fun. I’m not sure which does most long-term damage – corporal or emotional punishment. Both can leave a serious mark.
      Thanks for joining in the conversation, Sally. I’m so pleased you enjoyed Balroop’s interview.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  5. Jennie

    Balroop wrote my words on how schools could be improved. She is exactly right. Her memory of being hit by a cane brought back my fifth grade memory; his name was Gary Dawson. I don’t remember what he did that was wrong, but the whole class had to watch as the teacher whipped him with a large paddle that had holes in it. I was traumatized. Thank goodness corporal punishment is no longer used. The coned caps are far more effective and actually teach instead of punish. Wonderful interview, Norah and Balroop. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. balroop2013

      While we all dislike corporal punishment, some effective punitive action has to be taken to convey the message of inappropriate behavior otherwise children get too many liberties and grow up like weeds.
      Thank you Jennie, for sharing your memories and thoughts.

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
    2. Norah Post author

      I agree, Jennie. Balroop’s recommendations are full of wisdom.
      Oh how I feel for Gary, and for all the children to have to watch. So traumatising for you all. Discipline through fear is not real discipline. So sad. It’s a good thing it’s not so common any more.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  6. Bette A. Stevens

    Thanks so much for sharing your school days’ memories, Balroop. I have no doubt that you became one of those kind, compassionate, encouragers like the teachers who made a positive difference for you as a student. ❤ Blessings and love…

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
        1. balroop2013

          I had bigger dreams Norah. Teaching was considered to be a profession of average persons. Anybody who couldn’t do better became a teacher and that notion is still alive. But I loved each moment with the teenagers and they really enriched my personality 😊

          Liked by 1 person

          Reply
          1. Norah Post author

            I’m a bit taken aback by your words, Balroop. All I ever wanted to be (other than a writer) was a teacher. I think it’s a wonderful profession. I guess I can’t claim to be anything other than average though, so maybe you are right. I’m pleased you enjoyed teaching. Did you ever realise any of your bigger dreams?

            Liked by 1 person

            Reply
            1. balroop2013

              I was just sharing what people around me thought about this profession. My students made me what I am and I am proud of my achievements. Never thought of other dreams in the company of youngsters and my loving family 😊

              Liked by 1 person

              Reply
              1. Norah Post author

                I know it’s an often quoted statement, but one I’ve never agreed with. Teachers require very special characteristics. There’s much to being a teacher with which many would not cope.

                Liked by 1 person

                Reply
  7. robbiesinspiration

    The corporeal punishments and even the wearing of the hat that Balroop underwent are terrible, Norah. We had corporeal punishments at school too, but nothing as bad as she has described. Balroop has identified some pertinent improvement points for the education system.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. balroop2013

      Have you heard of this Robbie? Placing pencils in the fingers and squeezing that hand as punishment? Sitting outside the class in a posture of holding your ears through your legs! Walking on hunches in a big ground? But all this was reserved for boys. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
    2. Norah Post author

      It is scary to think that corporal punishment was commonplace in many schools across the world not so long ago, and still is in some. I’m pleased its days are numbered.
      I agree — Balroop’s suggestions are full of wisdom.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  8. petespringerauthor

    It breaks my heart to read that students are beaten for not doing well or are intentionally humiliated in front of peers for not doing their homework. Praise is a much better way to develop good work habits. Nearly every child I taught (granted, it was an elementary school) had a natural desire to please the teacher. Some of my favorite teachers were the ones who I was determined not to let down because I respected them. I’m sorry that you had to experience that type of treatment, Balroop.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Beatings and humiliation are not the way forward, are they, Pete? I agree with you about praise being preferred. Positive rather than negative reinforcement works for me.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  9. Susan Scott

    It was so interesting to read of your schooldays Balroop but I was saddened to hear of your being caned so that you fell on your knees. Even though corporal punishment is now banned here in South Africa, it still happens. I loved the story of the mistress with the coned caps, very dark and evocative but it was clearly effective in instilling self-discipline.

    Teaching like nursing is one of the noble professions and deserves to be more recognised as such and paid accordingly.

    Thank you Norah for this – I much enjoyed it!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. balroop2013

      What teachers do can never be fully paid by anybody… still they need to pay their bills…I wish teachers get paid well for all they do – I agree with you, Nursing and teaching are two matchless professions. Thank you Susan.

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
    2. Norah Post author

      I’m pleased you enjoyed learning about Balroop’s school days, Susan. I agree with you about corporal punishment. It’s a good thing it doesn’t exist (or not so much) anymore.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  10. CarolCooks2

    Lovely to read Balroops school reminisces…Unfortunately, even now in Thai schools, some teachers use a cane and if the hair is too long will cut lumps out so it has to be cut…Although both are against the law the law states it is also down to individual schools…One day maybe that will change..slowly it seems…An interesting read 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      That’s interesting about Thai schools, Carol. There was an issue here a year or two ago when a teacher at a private boys’ school, cut the hair of one of the students. There was a big hullabaloo about it, but I can’t think what the outcome was just now. I know the teacher was stood down then reinstated due to overwhelming pressure (of support) from parents and students.

      Like

      Reply
      1. CarolCooks2

        They are very strict here with hair girls have a school style bob and boys are almost a military cut… It has been relaxed a little but one particular teacher is scissor happy. We have had to go up the school… He now tells Aston if he thinks it needs cutting.. We felt he was picking on him as he has short hair anyway… The teacher now seems to have stopped and focuses on children whose parents don’t question him… I think he is a bully personally…

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
  11. Ritu

    Fascinating reminiscences, Balroop!
    I didn’t know your origins we’re Ludhiana! My in laws are from that elaka too so when we go back home, I visit Ludhiana a lot!
    The difference in your schoolling and that if now us sobdufferent, isn’t it!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

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