An advertisement of a cement brand featuring Amitabh Bachchan in which the actor narrates in his resonant voice as to how we can see the reflection of our parents in our children; feel their presence in the mannerism of our offspring, touches my heart. Children inherit physical attributes and traits of their parents and also of their grandparents through the genes. But here I am referring to inheritance of another kind– the traits that we acquire from our teachers, the values we imbibe from them and the influence a teacher has in shaping the personality of the students. Not only do we learn a lot from them but also tend to emulate the style of the teachers whom we admire and hold in high esteem. I can feel the touch of my economics professor in the way I conduct myself in the class and deliver the lectures, a stamp of my Ms Pamila Bedi, whose legacy I carried on as an economics teacher.
As I go down the memory lane, I fondly remember my teachers from the school days. Mr Vyas kept the class spell bound as he dramatized the scenes with all the action and histrionics while teaching prose and poetry. Equally mesmerizing were Ms Handoo’s lectures as she unraveled the mysteries of history in her soft and gentle voice. I consider myself fortunate to have been taught by some of the best teachers. Each one of them had a distinctive teaching style but it was the passion for teaching which was common to all the remarkable teachers. They had zest to learn and zeal to teach, a sort of missionary zeal. I can’t say that teaching is in my genes but can proudly state that I have inherited the love for the profession from my teachers.
My teachers have been my role models, from whom I learnt how to make the students comprehend the subject in a lucid manner, how to hold their interest and curiosity. From them I have learnt how to humour the students and also to reprimand, when required. Undoubtedly, teaching is an art that I acquired from my gurus, but the most important lesson being a good teacher teaches from the heart, not the book.
A good teacher is one who inspires and guides the students, never encourages rote learning from notes, but is a facilitator in learning. In this age of knowledge explosion, information is just a click away but a virtual teacher is no substitute for a real tutor who connects and engages with the students. ‘Google Guru’ can never replace a good teacher in flesh and blood since a teacher not only imparts knowledge but is also a torch bearer for the students who motivates and guides the students. Teachers are the role models whom the students tend to emulate.
Today I look back with a deep sense of gratitude and thank all my revered teachers for nurturing me into what I am today. On this Teachers’ Day I remind myself of my responsibility as a teacher in shaping the young minds, not only educating them but also inculcating human virtues and values in them. It is quite possible some of my students may be looking up to me as their role model and I must set a good example.
(Published in Chandigarh Tribune on 5 September, 2019)