Yesterday was teacher’s day. Newspapers are awash with articles on “My best teachers” and “why I love my teachers” and so on. Facebook status updates are full of poems sung to long forgotten Madams and Misses ( thats what we used to call our convent school teachers, Miss. Thomas and Miss. Mukit etc. etc.).
It is not as though I dislike (d) my teachers. They were, by and large, well meaning human beings who mostly tried to do their job well. Some, such as our Social Science teacher, actually managed. Her classroom was packed with eager kids waiting to hear the next “story” from her. She was one teacher who really inspired us to listen, think and understand.
But, mostly, I am sorry to say, our teachers inspired us too… come first. Yes, that is what was taught to us ( or should I say me?). Personally, I think this is a rather sad thing for teachers to do. I remember being praised as a “jewel”, no less, by my teachers, for bagging the highest position in class and for being a good sportsperson. My teachers could not praise me enough. But not one, not one of them really taught me to think beyond first position.
This was a rather unfortunate situation. For yours truly, like any normal human being, was set upon a pedestal by her own teachers. And yours truly became really really scared of falling down from that high pedestal. What if I did not get the first position in the next exams? I was in such a state where I needed to be first in every damn thing – sports, maths, science, literature, what have you. In the process I got so self-absorbed I failed to notice or appreciate my classmates and the awesome stuff some of them were capable of.
It is perhaps strange for somebody who would be considered an awesome student by any of her teachers to write a post such as this. But with hindsight I think I could have done better with learning something else apart from how to hold on to that tenacious no. 1 position!!
So here, on teacher’s day, I hope that all future generations of teachers, who after all have a great influence on the kids they teach, will concentrate on making their kids better human beings. Of giving them the ability to think for themselves, to deal with failures as well as to enjoy success, to enjoy life for what it is and not merely to compete.