Meet the teacher from TN who turns ‘Appa’ for his students
A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind, and touches a heart.” So goes an adage, and this mathematics teacher at Sripuranthan Government Higher Secondary School in Ariyalur district has been doing exactly the same for the past 12 years.
Fondly called ‘Appa’ (dad) by students, C Appavu (56) has been shelling out his money to buy uniforms for over 300 students studying in Classes 9 to 12 every year. Once a year, he also arranges a feast for all students in the school and provides Kadala Mittai (peanut candy) on occasions like school reopening, Independence Day, Republic Day, and such. The story goes a long way. Born in an economically poor family in Pasumbalur, Perambalur district, Appavu completed his MSc., B.Ed., MPhil., MA., and BL. He lost his father 30 years ago and his mother when he was a child. He has lived all alone since then.
His experience growing up in a poverty-stricken household helped him bond with the rural students when he got in his first posting as a teacher on January 19, 2009. This was a turning point in his life. Appavu came to know about the government providing uniforms for Classes 1 to 8 students and realised he should help the higher class students and motivate them too. This year, after schools reopened, Appavu provided 399 school uniforms to students at a cost of Rs 1.60 lakh.
Speaking to TNIE, Appavu said, “I suffered during my younger days because my family was poor. But once I started earning, I did not want students to suffer like me. I have been helping students who have been asking me for help. Over the years, this led me to help more students. I started buying uniforms for the students when I came to know that students come to school without uniforms because they were not able to afford one. And also, I want my students to have good food and I arrange a traditional feast with payasam and vadai for them every year.”
He decided to stay off marriage so as to continue with his service to the children.“Perhaps, if my mother had not died, I would have got married by now,” he smiles. Appavu pointed out that he was against discrimination among students. “I have been told by people many times to provide uniforms for only those who cannot afford it. But, I have been providing it to all because they should know all are equal.”
Proud of students calling him ‘Appa’, he said he doesn’t need anything more.”Education is important and my service will continue for students even after retirement.” K Kaniya, one of his students from Class 12, said, “My parents are working as agricultural labourers, and they are working hard to provide me with an education. Appavu sir is helping a lot of students like me. We are very happy and lucky to have him with us. I am enjoying school for four years because of him.”
C Kannan, father of Kaniya, thanks Appavu profusely for reducing their burden. “He is not only providing uniforms but doing all the necessary help including buying notebooks. He treats students with so much care.”