Sunday, September 28, 2008

School Days

When little kids are asked what they want to be when they grow up, most would blurt out ‘doctor’ without a miniscule of second thought. Some would say engineer or think of some extraordinary professions (my niece wanted to become a bus conductor when she grew up!). And though you will see them enact their teachers (shouting and scolding and beating an imaginary classroom), few kids would harbour a desire for the teaching profession.

Of course, that is not the ultimate truth. There are many whose ambition revolves around standing in front of a respectful class, with dignity, brimming with knowledge and having the power to mould young minds.

Kids love to enact their teachers – no sooner are they home from school than they take their long rulers and books and teach plants, walls or whatever they think could do for a class.

We celebrated the teacher's day a few weeks back on September 5, how many of us still remember that day. I personally believe that one should become a teacher only if one really has an insatiable thirst, an undying ambition and great respect for the profession. For being a teacher is not a menial job – it brings with it the immense responsibility of not just moulding young minds but also setting an example of oneself for the impressionist youth to follow. A good teacher can create wonders and pave the way for the future of the country, but a bad one can equally destroy both individual and in turn the society.

My purpose here is not to speak of those teachers who do not understand the basics of imparting education thereby depriving children of the advantages of good education, but of those who have shaped the lives of millions by making themselves the very epitome of righteousness and knowledge.

My own school life revolved around teachers as much as it did around my friends. It has been years since I passed out of my primary school, the school where I studied from my nursery to 7th standard, but their memories are so fresh in my mind. We had the best teachers in our school. One such teacher who taught us science really had a good handwriting. The best handwriting I have ever seen till now (other than my mom who also had a good handwriting to her credit). I used to love the Story telling class. These classes where not a part of our curriculum. They used to have it when a teacher felt that they are in no mood to teach for the day. They would come up with a lot of interesting stories to share.

I also miss out the food Fridays. This was a unique practice that was followed only in our school where a particular Friday of the month was declared as a food Friday and the management used to distribute food to all the students on that day (the normal menu would be bise bele bath and curd rice with other side dishes)

Two other teachers of whom I cherish a fond memory in my primary school are those who taught me Kannada and Hindi. We used to be so engrossed in their classes so much that each of their classes seemed to be too short.

Other than the teachers, we were also close to our school secretary. Since both my parents were working in the government service they had a good rappot with our school secretary, who was also the head of our school. Due to this closeness with the secretary, we had a special preference over other students in school. We also had the prevliedge of staying in our secretary's home (which was inside the school) after school hours when we were still young and my mom used to come over to pick us up. I still remember that our school secretary used to offer us Upma and coffee when we visited her home which we used to relish happily.

The Aayas were no exception. Our parents knew them as well and they were instructed to keep an eye on us. They also had the previledge of visiting our home if they wanted to inform our parents on anything important.

Perhaps you may wonder why I have not named any of my teachers – no, it is not because I do not remember their names – that is impossible. By not mentioning names, my only endeavour is to pay my tribute not just to the individuals who made me what I am today, but to the entire teaching fraternity, for those truly blessed people who touch our lives in a way that etches a life-long impression that can never be erased with the flow of time.

Teachers, without you, the world would have ended a long time ago. Thank you for weaving the threads of society that make up the colourful fabric of knowledge, love and humanity the world clothes itself in.

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