I HAVE just celebrated in Khulna my 18th
anniversary of graduating as a teacher from my
teachersí training college in Manchester, England.
I was among the top five students that year and teaching
job offers were literally being pushed under my door as a
result. For five years I worked at one of the best private
schools in London, enjoying all the benefits and living a
carefree and grand life, but all along I felt there was
something missing deep down.
Twelve years ago, I returned to Bangladesh on vacation,
visited my old school and, as if the Almighty Allah had
opened the clouds and spoken to me directly, I felt I was
being called back.
I knew the material rewards of working in Bangladesh
were miniscule in comparison to those I had enjoyed in the
UK, but the voice inside was very persistent. Many nights I
tossed and turned in bed, just thinking through the pros and
Eventually, I spoke to my wife, who is also a teacher,
and we agreed to return Ďhomeí on a three-year test run and
weíve been here ever since and living quite happily, with
When in 2010 Sir Frank Peters campaigned to have
corporal punishment abolished in schools and succeeded,
he could never have imagined the enormous joy we felt. At
last someone had come along, seen corporal punishment
for the physical and mental destructive evil that it really is
and bravely protested alone.
Throughout our careers, my wife and I have never beaten
a pupil, not only because itís not necessary, but also it
degrades us as human beings and lowers our dignity and
I wrote to Sir Frank at the time, offered our encouragement,
support and appreciation. He wrote back a very kind
and appreciative letter, which weíve kept. He included a
beautiful poem he had written; laminated, and suggested I
hang it in my classroom. Not so much for the children to
read, but for my fellow teachers, to remind them who their
ultimate boss is.
The poem (which is both in English and in Bangla)