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Aunty Dolly Message

It was a dark grey morning in the fifties (I don't remember the exact year) when I first saw Besant. Monsoon had broken and school had reopened.

We had just come to settle down in Jogeshwari. I had never heard of Besant Montessori School or the Theosophical Colony when I was asked to see Miss Wadia in the evening.

At that time I was class teacher of STD II in the Cumballa Hill School and was contacted for the same by Mrs. Sheroo Tarapore.

Besant Montessori was started by Miss Tehmina Wadia who ran it until 1991 when she expiried.

That first day stands out in my memory. The moment we met, we took to each other. Later on I found that she had been co-worker of two of my aunts at New Era High School and also knew many of my husband's family.

At first I found it very difficult to adjust to the new method with every child in the class working at his or her own level. But I soon got used to it and adjusted.

Since then I have never looked back. Within a very few years, Miss Wadia left me in charge of the school when she went abroad for her cousin's wedding. After that whenever she was not around or went for a holiday, she not only left me in charge of the school but also asked me to come and stay in her bungalow.

It was the centenary year of Dr. Maria Montessori when we had an exhibition of the Montessori method and the director of the AMI course, Mr. Joosten, was invited by us to grace the occasion as chief guest. It was at this urging that I was granted a scholarship to do the next montessori course in Hyderabad.

In the meantime I had taken time off to start a family. But from 1962 onwards, I have been a permanent fixure in Besant. I started assisting Aunty Tehmi with the administration and the accounts. She was my mentor and my guide. I still go according to her principles. I always remember what she had told me that -- the child comes first. Do not think of parents or teachers and whey they would like. Her values are what keeps Besant going and I am still following her advice.

I must be the only teacher in the school who has taught all classes from Montessori Group I to IV (including Hindi in STD I to IV). And even now I am in favor of innovations.

The trustees of the school have believed in me and that is why I have been granted the priviledge of continuing in Besant as long as I am able and have also been made a trusteee of the school. It is my sincere prayer that I may die in harness. Never once I have thought of leaving Besant. It has been my love and my life.

This year I completed 50 years ub tge school, and I still remember the good old days when Besant was lie one big, happy family.

-- By Aunty Dolly

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