Saturday, September 6, 2014

Teacher and Janitor

Me: बड़ा होके क्या बनोगे?
Student of rural Bengal (smilingly): बांग्ला (बंगाली) टीचर
Me(with pleasure): बहुत अछा.

Brian(American teammate): Ask if anyone would like to become a garbage disposal man.
Me: Ok...
Brian: It is a very socially useful profession.
Me: Very true. Just don't know how to translate the question into Hindi or Bangla.
(true but also think about how this conflation of teacher and janitor may offend rural Indian students raised to respect teachers)
Later realize that neither American culture in which teachers aren't really respected by students nor traditional Indian culture where teachers are venerated but not paid enough and janitors often ostracized are ideal. Perhaps a need for a new society that can learn from both and respect both professions equally but differently.