A Quest on Overdrive … :)

An eccentric rambler on life's lessons and mercies, found and lost… :)

Teach, better yet, learn…

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5 September, 2011. Teachers’ Day 🙂

It’s that time of the year, when we, in India, suddenly remember it’s time to look up our Teachers from school and college; for those still at school it’s a day of celebration, when suddenly, all the Teachers are nice, well, suddenly, even if for a brief period 🙂 It’s a time when some of us teachers rest our radars, and ultra-sound sonars as far as stuff in school, like noise levels and boisterousness, goes :D! It’s a day we speak of the Guru, and spend a few moments, in retrospection, on the Great Teacher, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, who re-defined and moulded our perception of teaching and our attitudes towards teachers.

In India, most certainly, the profession of Teaching is much respected and looked up to. It is the heritage of the Aarsha Samskaaram, the legacy bequeathed by our Rishis. We still live it, to a great extent, even schools that have been started by the Missionaries,  or by those of other faith.And that is good, it has its due dignity and place.

How much, however, do the teachers themselves, this day and age live up to the legacy they need to live up to? Questions on this abound the discussions on many forums. When I was in school, and that is more than 30 years ago, in the seventies, the Teacher’s Word was final. Parents and students did not question it. Even if we felt we should, and we did, more often than not, our parents would side with the Teacher, and we learned to respect even that. So why is it not so today? I’ve seen the sea change that has come (well, it has, in practically every sphere of life, but as far as schooling, and education is concerned, you expect certain basic things to stay the same… 😀 )

Now? Well. Sigh. Yes, I grant you the argument that children are of a different generation, they are victims of inflotion (information explosion :D), they live by a whole new different set of rules, and play a different ball game altogether. Granted. But as I see, teachers have become punching bags. For students, for parents, for the Administration, most times for society itself. Yes, that is an extreme and perhaps a rather harsh statement, but what one sees in the final account, is just this, the shortcomings, and very little of innovative and proactive things they do. Fact. Been there. Heard that. Seen that. Experienced it.

Somewhere down the line we have lost the big picture in the analysis of detail. Each Class Meeting, or Open House, or a PTA Gen. Body, one hears of suggestions (most welcome) , listens to rants (welcome again, for we grow with each one), are treated to endless repetitions of the same item, by different people (because each person has his/her child to cater to), this we could do without.I admit there are many in the Teaching Profession that bring it a lot of shame, what with growing cases of Child Abuse, and less than Professional or Empathetic conduct both in and out of class. But to judge the entire lot by those yardsticks is to do great injustice.

No, we are anything but perfect. Just like you. Yes, we are human. Just like you. And maybe, we aren’t always right ( 😛 ), maybe like you?? But this I need to say, on behalf of each teacher who has tried his/her darnest… 🙂

  • You know, we do actually listen to the children…
  • Yes, we realize there is a problem, and we are willing to share it with you, and move forward by finding common ground; after all, we too are concerned about your child
  • Could you, perhaps, refrain from bad-mouthing teachers in the presence of your child?
  • Could you, also, recognize that we are NOT here to find fault, just help, and maybe you need to see your child for who he/she is and what he/she could become?
  • NO, we are not on the other side, we really are on the same side
  • We’re listening. Yes. Could you also listen? Not just to us. To your child too?
  • Do you read? Yes? Wonderful! Share that with your child!
  • You don’t read? No time? Oh! Perhaps you’d like to share reading time at home with the entire family reading for just 20 minutes each day? Great!
  • Do you talk? I mean like TALK, to your child? Good. Now, do you LISTEN? Great. Pl. continue to do so… 🙂
  • Ah! Is that so? Maybe you need to share what your child has said with us too…. and then see if you can really believe it!!
  • Oh, he doesn’t speak much English? Do you? Don’t worry, in English Period, he does!
  • How to improve it? Well, exposure to it, of course 🙂 You know, instead of serials and movies, why not a bit of news now and then, in English?
  • Perhaps  you could come more often to meet us?
  • Do you read the diary your child brings home?
  • You know, I’d rather meet and talk than endless talk on my phone, usually at 8pm when I’m busy at my home. I do have a family too, you know 🙂

These are but few of the rants I have today. I’ve lived each of them 🙂 But I send out my appreciation to all my colleagues, wherever they are, doing that thing they do, best. For, even though they say “Those who can do, and those who can’t teach”, I’d rather laugh it off, for it reveals just an earthworm tunneled vision of them that do say so 🙂 🙂 Taylor Mali’s Video , on his poem “What Teachers Make” is an alltime inspiration for me, from the time I have read it. So also, Abraham Lincoln’s Letter to his Son’s Teacher (mentioned with this post written, same time, last year :D), and the film, “To Sir, With Love”.

The Best Motivation for a Teacher? Be a Learner, all your life. Nothing inspires more than the curiosity you carry with you, and nothing will impress and engage and enliven the learner group you become part of. Heck! Teaching, anyone can do. Learning? Now that is something else 🙂 So Teach on, and keep learning too, all of you Teachers, Mentors, and Influencers … you all deserve an applause 🙂

Happy Birthday, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan! And Happy Teachers’ Day to all my Comrades in Arms 🙂 🙂 You are among the best of persons I have had the privilege to know! God Bless!

4 September, 2011.

For 5 September, 2011, Teachers’ Day.

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Author: Usha Pisharody

A rambler, pretends to be a teacher, loves to dream, and go on Quixotic Quests in the Realm of Romance With Life...

22 thoughts on “Teach, better yet, learn…

  1. Usha Happy Teacher’s Day. 🙂 You are absolutely right I still look up at my teachers though occasionally we take a dig at their idiosyncrasies. It is also true that children today are more aware of everything, thanks to the information era. As a product manager, I used to be kind of teacher. Batch after batch of new recruits were to be trained on products, selling skills etc. Once in a while we get questions that baffle us. I found that admitting that we don’t know the answer and that we will look it up to clarify is better accepted than bulldozing the poor guy for exposing our ignorance. After all it is not possible for everybody to know everything. But today I find a small percentage of teachers whose egos are hurt if a student asks them a question or questions their understanding of the subject. My sons have faced them, being book readers than TV watchers, they have multiple perspective on a subjects. Their doubts are shot down with phrases like ‘you think you are smart’ or ‘ are you trying to show off? so much so that they withdraw into a shell.Having said that there are other teachers that they simply adore. Prof. Radhakrishnan was spot on when he said we want learning teachers than learned teachers,

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  2. Govind, thank you 🙂 for the wishes, the resonance and the reminder on how children are growing and how we need to keep pace!
    Ironic as it may seem, i dont get many questions and i have to beg for them! I’d love to have more and more of them even if it eats into the tiemtable!
    I wonder too, at such persons who take questions to be an affront. Still, am glad there are still teachers your boys adore. May their tribe increase!

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  3. Happy Teachers Day Usha teacher! I loved reading all your points. Sigh, I was a teacher for a short one year period long long back!

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  4. Just loved your post.

    Coming from a family of teachers (my mom and grand mom and aunt being in the profession, I have seen and heard most of these things at home.) But as my mom says, if one person has a better life because of what you teach, it makes your day worthwhile. You are one of the teachers I admire most from my school times though you taught us only for like half of an academic year and you are my biggest inspiration to write and blog.

    Thank you Teacher.(With the bhavans tune :))

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    • You know Sunitha, it is that story of the man on the beach putting beached starfish back in the sea that comes to mind here. I had shared it with some of the classes this year, in school 🙂 How, if you can make a difference to one person, it is enough. Your mother has the right idea! Do convey my wishes to the teachers in your family too!
      And thank you for those sweet words! You too, along with the rest of your classmates, in 10C, made a lot of difference in the way I learned to look at a lot of things! Thank you! (Ah! the Bhavan’s tune… drawn out 🙂 )

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  5. Splendid, splendid post. As always Usha di. 🙂 Hope you had a great Teachers’ Day!

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  6. You’re so right, Ushus. There was a time when we never questioned teachers. But now sadly every action of theirs is closely scrutinized and dissected by parents. Wonder why! It as though, over the years the trust in them has diminished. Factors like CSA, corporal punishment could be the reason, I dont know. Whatever it is, I so wish parents and teachers would just introspect and restore their trust in each other for the sake of the future of their kin/pupils.

    Wonderful post, Ushus :). A post that every parent needs to read and understand.

    Thank you :). Here’s to you and all the teachers like you!!

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    • Deeps, thank you! Sorry to be replying so late. My blog would not load on my mobile but today I’v got a few minutes on my son’s laptop, on condition I dont strain too much 🙂 sigh. I’m no longer the parent!
      You say it right, when you speak of the introspection required by both teachers and parents, together. Much would come out of such an effort. If only. Each community, whether teachers’ or parents’ somehow have their own ego problems and their own agendas, to ever come to any amicable settlement, esp in schools out here. Truly a more sincere effort is needed.

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  7. A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops. ~Henry Adams

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  9. Ah! This I missed. Being in the no-net land I suppose.

    The Best Motivation for a Teacher? Be a Learner, all your life. Nothing inspires more than the curiosity you carry with you, and nothing will impress and engage and enliven the learner group you become part of. Heck! Teaching, anyone can do. Learning? Now that is something else .

    Truer words were never said. That’s why I call you what I do. Fits you to the T that description.:)
    I hope to do the same. To never ever say,”What? Ofcourse, I am right! You kids don’t know anything.” *sigh* As I see so many of the teachers do. Hope to always keep my ego in one corner while teaching.
    But then it’s learning is it not? You wrote this word in a reply of yours a few years back and it has stayed with me ever since.:)

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  10. Indygurl, I just dug this out from the Archives, and was going thru the comments, to find I have not replied to yours! And yes, learning learning all the way, is the best way to teach too 🙂 Hugs! And Teachers’ Day Wishes to you too!

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