Teachers day-right mix of chalk and challenges

Lata Jain

September 5th happens to be Teachers Day because it is the birthday of Dr. Radhakrishnan, the second President of India, who happened to be a school teacher to start with. It is a wonderful compliment to the teachers of the nation that one of our Presidents was actually a schoolteacher. A teacher means, in that person’s presence, people should learn things that even the teacher doesn’t know.

lata jain

Lata Jain

A teacher has a significant role in the making of an individual human being, in the making of a society, a nation and the world at large. And a teacher definitely plays a big role in the process of enhancing capabilities and developing an interest in a particular subject. Largely for many children, which teacher is teaching a particular subject determines whether they love or hate that subject? It gets identified with that person. If a student identifies with the teacher, if the teacher is inspiring enough, the subject suddenly becomes interesting. A teacher does not mean 10 PhDs hanging from his head. It is not just that someone should wait for the dole-out of what a teacher knows.

Inspired teachers are very few in schools today. Some of the teachers who inspired me.

Lucy George is the kind of teacher you wish you had. An educator for 40 years, she is funny, sharp and simply has a way with words. The teacher who changed my life was, serendipitously, my English teacher for kindergarten, 7th grade and senior year of high school. Ms. Lucy taught me how to write eloquently, which helps me today and she had this unexplained faith in me that really galvanized me as a student.

Mrs. Sultana my 5th-grade library teacher, read to us every week. She made us put our heads on the desk and close our eyes and then read wonderful stories to us: The Golden Pine Cone, The Diamond Feather, gullivers travels, Red riding hood … It made our imaginations come alive.”

“My Intermediate Chemistry teacher, Dr. Ravi Prakash with his out sized laugh and booming voice, was one of my very favorite teachers. He demonstrated to us how important we were to him by making what were obviously personal sacrifices on our behalf: when the lab needed equipment, we knew he had purchased some of it on his own; when we couldn’t get a bus for a field trip, he took a few of us in his own car and had to hear to the Principals scolding’s and when a big science fair deadline loomed large, he opened the lab every weekend to help us with our experiments. At a point in my life when I didn’t have a lot of guidance or positive role models, he taught me a lot more than science; he taught me, by example, the power of sacrifice, discipline and self-respect. Thank you Ravi Sir.

“I took my first painting class after school hours, paying a minimum fee I fell in love with it. My teacher, Ms.Lalitha , told me I could use the art studio whenever I wanted to, and gave me access to all kinds of new paints and canvasses. I spent almost every lunch period there for a few years, and regularly stayed in the studio after school ended. Thanks to Ms.Lalitha s mentor-ship, I felt empowered to try to make money from something I was passionate about and loved to do.

Mr.Someshwar, one of my college professors, taught me that wisdom is the greatest pursuit, our skills and passions are transferable, and that fear will only ever always hold us back.  To this day, he’s a great mentor.  We’re now great friends.

Any human activity is significant only if we are able to touch another life. That you can actually shape another life is a tremendous privilege. This is one of the privileges teachers share. Happy teachers day.

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