Even after what seems like eons ago, I can still conjure my first teacher’s face in my mind. On the eve of Teacher’s Day, when I, along with my crazy group of 170 odd school friends, all of whom are part of this common Whats App group, exchange jokes trying to reminisce those good old days and recall each teacher’s distinct mannerisms and quirks, we all crack up into peals of laughter. Can you imagine? It’s been 42 years and yet the memories of those wacky, fun-filled school days are still fresh in our memories even though some of us are now grandmothers!
Inspired by these wonderful teachers, there was a point in time when some or actually most of us wanted to become teachers when we grew up. We would spend hours bundling up into our mothers’ old sarees and miming our teachers in front of the dressing-table mirror. Complete with a chalk and black-board and dad’s boring spectacles, we would complete the charade and would squeal in delight if someone walked into the room.
Many, many decades later, when I dropped my daughter at her kindergarten, I distinctly recall how the teacher gently slipped her tiny hand into her own. My baby had been tightly clutching onto my hand so far with her fingers intertwined in between mine, and with a firm hand on her little back, the teacher guided her into the classroom. Muttering a prayer under my breath, I realized that this was indeed the first time that my little princess was having any contact with someone other than parents and family.
Fantastic thought, isn’t it? Here is a little one living within the protective environment of her home and when it is time to commence schooling, the first person whom the child encounters is the teacher. Hence, the role of a teacher is critical in moulding an individual and determining his or her basic tenets of character as an adult. So much is the impact of a teacher on a young one’s mind that even now me and my friends can’t help sharing an occasional laugh when we think of that mass punishment when all of us were pulled up for being so noisy or the Hindi teacher’s favourite red saree that she would don religiously every KarvaChauth and we would just giggle non-stop, then and now.
If the child emulates mom or dad in the house, at school he or she will look up to the teacher, his or her mannerisms, moods, reactions and react accordingly. Just like a sunflower has a natural propensity of turning itself towards bright sunshine, similarly, the impressionable mind of a child immediately gets drawn to the kinder or more sensitive or understanding teacher amongst the lot teaching him or her.
After the parents have committed the child under the teacher’s care and vigilance, the responsibility shouldered by the latter is immense as the teacher has full accountability for the child’s progress in all aspects: mental, physical, academic, extra-curricular, spiritual and even social and spiritual growth as the child usually spends more time at school than at home.
Akin to a potter moulding wet clay into myriad shapes and sizes of earthen ware, a good teacher has a sixth sense to assess and pre-empt what each student seeks and she or he acts in accordance…encouragement and support for the introvertish shy ones and an occasional nudge in the right direction for the go-getters. I salute these wonderful men and women who have chosen to teach and shape up the future of an entire generation and an entire nation!