Friday, March 24, 2023

Jamshedpur’s Chalil: The teacher who gave English language new dimension


Jamshedpur: Popularly known as the ‘Best English Teacher’ in Jamshedpur, Philip Chalil passed away on January 8, 2022. He is survived by his wife and son, Nikhil Gerard. His wife was also a teacher at DBMS School in Jamshedpur. After retiring from Loyola High School, Philip Chalil did not let go of his love for English and of course, the student community. He started his own English coaching class. The students of Loyola School considered him more of a coach and classmate rather than a teacher. Later he shifted to Mumbai with his family. He had kidney problems and was on regular dialysis. He died in his sleep.

The void created by his demise would be difficult to fill. Thousands of students who dropped out of Loyola School acquired proficiency in English language from their “Chalil Sir” and many among them are presently working at the top echelons.

Students who studied at ‘Chalil Sir’s’, still remember him with reverence and are finding it tough to cope with the truth of Philip Chalil’s death. The biggest feature of Chalil Sir was that he used to give preference to weak students. For the meritorious students, he still had to work less, but the real challenge was to instill confidence in the students who feared English and he had mastered this task. That is why even the weakest student started loving English after being coached by Chalil Sir. The fact is that Philip Chalil gave English language a new dimension.

Philip Chalil was born on  April 21, 1951 in Calicut, Kerala. After completing his education, he joined Loyola School, Jamshedpur as an English teacher and made the students his admirers with his different style of teaching. He had taken ESS from school even before retirement and later used to run an English coaching class. Later he left Jamshedpur and settled in Mumbai.

In 2017, a rumor was floated about the death of Chalil Sir. After this, Chalil Sir himself wrote a post on social media on April 29, 2017, “I am healthy and fit. Please don’t pay heed to rumours.”

Philip Chalil had attained mastery on the works of William Shakespeare, especially on the Bard’s platys. In general, students between classes 9 and 12 found Shakespeare’s works very tough to comprehend but Chalil presented the esoteric in a very different way that was at once easy to follow and remember and loved for a lifetime. Chalil had mastered teaching Shakespearean drama. The specialty of Chalil was that he used to present such an esoteric subject very simply in his own style and the result was that his students scored high in English. In fact, Philip Chalil was on the CICSE panel that set the questions. His help and advice was always sought while setting question papers for ICSE (10).

Jayanti Seshadri, a teacher at Loyola School, said, “Chalil Sir was such a teacher who used to keep his students happy. Many students fell in love with Shakespeare because of his method of teaching. His passing away is an irreparable loss to the teaching community.

Pinky Midha, former vice principal of junior section at Loyola School, said, “ Chalil sir was a great personality. He never asked the students to go for tuitions. But even students who used to secure 80 percent marks used to rush to him in the faith that he would secure 90 percent. Such was his charisma and popularity among the students’ and teachers’ fraternity.”

As soon as the message of his death spread, his students and well-wishers paid tribute to Philip Chalil on their own way on social media platforms. Noted writer, Loyola alumnus and BJP leader Tuhin Sinha  said that Chalil Sir taught him English in 9th and 10th standards and it was Chalil Sir’s contribution in mastering the English language. Tuhin said that like him, the rest of Loyola’s alumni must have had a similar experience. Another Loyola alumnus, Praveen Mishra stated that Chalil Sir contributed a lot in shaping his career. “It will now be difficult to compensate for the educational loss caused by his death. Students will continue to miss his way of teaching, especially in a lighter vein that made learning so fun.”


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