Sports for middle-aged Indian female? Sports for female teachers? We are used to seeing teachers teach or dance on stage once in a while. But play? Like every week? That is new. It is new at our school as well.
GGIS has an almost all-female staff. Since November 2015, every week we all get together and play Kabaddi or Kho-kho (native Indian sports) or some other game for at least 30–45 minutes.
So why do we invest this valuable but little time of our playing? Why not do checking and lesson planning? Why?
The obvious reasons being better health, physical fitness, etc. As schools when we do such things, we look better employers too.
But we started, and continue, with sports for a very different reason. We women are pretty emotional. Small things make us unhappy and even smaller ones make us cringe. When we work together, we form our own biases. And unlike males (in most cases) we do not forget them over a cup ofchai or a round of drinks. We carry them. Carry them to our sleep and beyond without even realising that when we hold the grudge, it is we who take the worst of it.
At GGIS, we work in a team and we encourage sharing and being honest. Our culture expressly curtails backbiting and sniggering. But how do we put this across? This question haunted me for days together. And sports is what came as an obvious answer. There are plenty of benefits to playing sports, but we do it so that we develop a team-spirit, a sportsman spirit. Heck, there is not even a word like sportswoman spirit!
When teachers are on the field playing kabaddi, they form a team and choose the best raider. They hide the one they know is going to make them lose points. They work as a team. And curse each other at times, but they also lend a hand to the one on the ground. Isn’t all this as much required in our staff room as on the ground? With that hope, we play rather than check and plan!
How long will this last and what will be the long term benefits, I do not know. But when teachers get together to play after a long, hard day, its sight worth beholding.