Schooling is something very important in a person’s life. Educate a child and you educate a Generation holds true today. Before a decade or two it wasn’t a big affair but today what school a child should go is a big concern. I’ve seen parents frantically running from here to there in order to crack the right education doorstep. Nowadays there is a myriad of options to chose from overpriced private ‘International’ schools to so-called clichéd Government schools, from Public schools to door to door opened private schools, all have something to offer. From all girls/boys schools to boarding schools, from vocational courses along with education to grooming of your child-they have lots to offer.
One of the oldest and preferably the best kind of schools are the Convent Schools. Maybe I’m biased because I’m a conventee. But there are several things that you can relate to if you belong from a Catholic based school. Basically they are opened with a purpose of admitting and educating Catholic children, they are opened for kids from other communities as well. From excellent academics to strict atmosphere, discipline and righteousness is what they basically preach. Following are some of the things you will relate to if you are from a Convent school.
I shudder in fear when I recall my school days ! HaHa !
From talking in hindi to strict dress code, from talking during class to neatly combed hair. The skirt’s length, boys pant’s style, the style of tying your Tie, plaits for girls and unruffled hair speak for the essence of discipline. My school had some really strict rules. We were fined for speaking in Hindi- a buck each for every word spoken. The only time speaking in Hindi was allowed was during Hindi class. It was annoying initially but now we all know the importance of Communication Skills ..don’t we !!!
Un-ironed uniform, sagging socks , uncombed hair, untrimmed nails, absolutely white sports shoes, perfect grades, compulsory extra curricular activity, disciplined code of conduct and overall perfect behaviour ! Pin drop silence is the essence of Convent schools no matter what. They completely modify and train you to talk, walk hands at the back, behave in public and even with people of lower status.
You are punished for coming untidily dressed and uncombed hair in Convent school- I admit never in my life after school I have dared to step out without being properly dressed to the occasion or worn un-ironed clothes ! You are not only expected to be neat and tidy yourself but also maintain your immediate surroundings spick and span including your desk,cupboard and lockers !
If you’re from a Convent school you must definitely remember the daily drill and the discipline lectures given every day. They’re very helpful today I admit but back then…it was a pain in the ass…!
2.THE MORNING ASSEMBLY
Who can forget “Our Father in Heaven” and “We shall overcome” which was daily sung with great zest and fervour. Devotion to the Almighty and encouragement to pray daily is what is the actual aim. Personally speaking, the strong belief I possess in God and the power of prayers, I’ve attained from my School. My school used to have monthly prayer meetings, where regular prayers were conducted with readings recited from all the Holy Scriptures. Doesn’t that create a feeling of oneness and tolerance and understanding of all faiths- the actual need of the hour !
I don’t know about most of the schools, but my school had a rigorous moral education programme. I believe most of the Convent schools have compulsory Moral Education-popularly known as Value Education,it includes stories based on values like Honesty, Discipline, Self-respect, Righteousness, Courage, Patriotism, Love for poor and needy, Respect for elders and Intolerance for Injustice. All of this is hammered all through the school life till the day you leave the school. Apart from the syllabus these values are inculcated through plays, speeches, social works, camps for volunteering for the poor, evening classes for children who were less fortunate and donation to the needy-when you grow up seeing all this, your horizons are widened and you develop a different outlook.
Prayers are an integral part of Convent schooling. Prayers before start of the day, prayer before eating food and prayer before leaving the school premises. You name it and we have a prayer ready !!! Jokes apart, this habit inculcated so deeply comes handy when we grow up. Later in our lives we turn to God in hour of need. They teach you “Our Father who Art in Heaven” to emphasise the presence of a divine power and to believe in the Ultimate Supreme Power.
Well not forgetting the taboos practiced in such schools, though they are mostly co-educational but having any other relationships with the opposite sex was considered immoral and against wish of God ! haha !!
It had such a huge impact on me that there was a time I distanced myself from anyone who gave slightest hint of importance to something or anything other than studies. (haha..I know that is very lame of me !) Not to be surprised there was a time when I was so much under the influence that I wanted to become a Nun !
From telling lies to having boyfriends/girlfriends, from indulging in any sort of bad habit to watching/doing obscene act was a taboo ! In fact everything is a taboo when you talk of Convent schools.
I do not know about others, but studying with teachers whom you call “Sister” or “Brother” or “Father” is the best feeling in the world. They are the most devoted people you will ever see. They technically give up everything sometimes their real names too in pursuit of service to mankind.
They are some of the most educated lots, amazing command over English language, great motivators and teachers. Not only they are highly trained in the subjects they teach, they set real life examples and you can look upto them. Plus the feeling behind calling them SISTER/BROTHER/FATHER instills a feeling of oneness and family like bonding.
Convent schools usually have some of the best architectures. While most of them mimic Roman architecture others are lushly surrounded by dense greenery. Love for nature is the ultimate motto along with some of the lessons they intend to inculcate. Vast playgrounds, beautiful gardens decorated with rarest of species of plants and flowers adding to the beauty and fountains to add to the heavenly feel to name a few.
I vividly remember my school had its own ‘grotto’ a man-made waterfall with a statue of Mother Mary with baby Jesus Christ in her hands. It was such a looker ! Beautiful and serene.
Where all festivals are celebrated with equal zest and fervour, Christmas is one of them.I personally know all Christmas Carols, the entire story behind birth of Jesus Christ and all the miracles he could possibly do !Thanks to my school. What a time it used to be at time of Christmas. Christmas celebrations ended with month-long winter vacations and used to be much awaited time of the year.
Plays are organised showing the birth of Jesus Christ and Carols recited. From “Silent Night” to “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer”, from “O Christmas tree” to “White Christmas” you will by heart them all. Main attraction is the legendary Santa Claus who visited at the end of celebrations and children went berserk with happiness.
9.ZERO PERIODS !
Just the name reminds me of the fun we used to have. The zero period ! The extra time given for preparation of special occasions like Annual Days, Teachers Day or other auspicious occasions. Bundle of fun time !
There are innumerable things which I can list but I should stop here and go down the memory lane ! All conventees are proud of their schooling background because no matter how strict our schools were, we ended up in becoming decent, disciplined and well-mannered human beings. Compassion, empathy, humanity and honesty-the qualities so stressed upon those days, definitely have an impact on us. I believe definitely it makes us stand apart from the crowd because every school gives you knowledge and education-but our schools have taught us the way to live and other qualities as well. Education is nothing without manners and empathy for fellow human beings, we know the best !