Profullya Chakma has taught at Memorial Christian Primary School for 42 years. As he strides up the road to the school each morning, people of all ages greet him. Administrators smile and nod, “Good morning, Sir!” Nurses at Memorial Christian Hospital call out, “Sir, how are you?” His past students now hold high positions in various jobs, and they honor him with joy.
Profullya began teaching at MCS on January 21, 1973, after his pastor saw his gift in teaching and recommended that he become a teacher. He’s glad for that. He has taught generation after generation of students. One of his former students is now one of his colleagues; her children are now his students.
Profullya’s favorite class is English, though he has taught mathematics and art in all grades as well. Profullya explains that children usually don’t speak English in their homes, so he develops activities, like stories and vocabulary drills, that encourage his students to use their English and to gain confidence. He recommends that new teachers prepare carefully for their lessons, as he does.
A lot has changed since those early years. Back then MCS was a small school building in the jungle made of bamboo-weave walls; now MCS has both primary and high school campuses, computer lab and media room, playground equipment and soccer field. Back then, most parents had not received higher education, so they and their children deeply appreciated the teachers’ efforts; now education is an assumed right, so students don’t value school as much. Back then, in his younger days, Profullya was a champion soccer player himself; now he sits on the sidelines and cheers for his former students. He doesn’t mind the changes. Everything changes, and teachers adapt to each generation’s needs.
When asked how he would describe teaching, he quietly nods and says it’s a good life – a happy, honorable life.