A Quest on Overdrive … :)

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

Incentives :)

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tangytuesday

 

 

Why do we do what we do?

“We do what we have to do in order to do what we want to do” James Farmer Sr. – “The Great Debaters”

(Note (Wiki link): The Great Debaters is a 2007 film about the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College in Texas who, in 1935, inspired students to form the school’s first debate team, which went on to challenge Harvard in the national championship.

Directed by Denzel Washington. Written by Robert EiseleWhen the nation was in need, he inspired them to give us hope.)

If you haven’t seen that movie, please do. And another one called “Finding Forrester” 🙂

 Makes sense, I think, to a great extent. Sometimes, the what what we need and want become the same thing. That is joy. That is fruition of a hope, a dream. Sometimes, it is a miracle, especially in this jaded world.

I think of the endless times I’ve cursed where I’m at, especially career-wise, and I wonder what the heck I’m doing here in a world where nothing seems to go down well, from either side of the Teacher’s Table; when kids become aliens and colleagues are no different. Lest I sound defeated, I must assure you this here is just a vent, at the end of a long haul of paper correction combined with a challenging number of marklists to be prepared in the new CCE Format of the CBSE Board. Sibal’s 100 days wala brainchild. It’s good enough, but with the forbidding class strength and the norms to follow, it becomes a nightmare, especially towards the end of the year. It’s also this way because some wonderful workers like me have Procrastination for their worshipful deity. 😛

So, back to my first question. Why am I doing what I do? Apart from the fact that I am ‘trained’ to, (doesn’t that bring that performing trick monkey to mind? 😀 ), and I ‘need’ to, for purely survival reasons, I find reasons. I find incentives, and once I’ve had them for a bit, I find it’s hard to give up this sort of thing. (Hrishi is the one who gave me this idea for the title :D! Thanks Hrishikesh!)

Inspiration, pure and simple. That’s the first one. Whether it’s your usual sixth standard kid who persistently wants to know your birthday, or amazes you with a fully grammatical and awesomely sensible answer to a complicated question; or a tenth standard student who writes, in a composition ( a bio sketch about a teacher), details that you find are so YOU (:D – it was the ‘active on social networking’ and ‘has dogs’ amongst other details), whether it’s the naughtiest kid in class telling your own child, years later, after finishing school, that the only reason he reads is because I hounded him in class to do so… the way that living asset you deal with inspires you is like nothing else.

Affection. In the form of cards, at Christmas and New Year time (I found out that not every teacher got cards :D), little notes at the end of the year, confidences shared, when they are about to leave school, there is so much. You sow very little, you think, till the rich harvest tells you how much you can be proud of… for how they grew themselves up! 🙂

And there comes along a child, someone you were so fond of, but tried hard not to be too obvious about so that the others did not pick on him/her and felt that you were partial – who comes up and gives you a note, nervously, on the last day of school, telling you that what she wanted to say was right there… 🙂 You suddenly feel that ogre-ish is ok too 🙂 🙂 Shrek has seen to that anyway!

sreelakshmi letter 1

sreelakshmi letter 2

At the end of 7th March, when it was officially the last working day for the kids, before they went in for their study holidays, S, from Class VIII came up to me with this letter, shyly 🙂

The Leo in me is flattered no end, and the head says this is just something to perhaps make me value her paper a bit generously. The cynic in me says that. But she’s anyway going to cream the paper, I know, being an outstanding student, and at the end of the year, there is no need to tell me anything at all … except good riddance… 😛 but this really touched me. Have been waiting to share this from that day. It IS inspiration, incentive and the needing and wanting overlapping, for me.(And yes, I did reply. With a Thank You Card, and a Bookmark 🙂 Forgot to scan those!)

And that is how I know, the incentives hereabouts in the job profile in very very undefined and inarticulate ways are powerful. I know I’m where I want to be. For now that is enough. 🙂

31 March, 2013
Online (And thank you Hrishikesh :D)

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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...

30 thoughts on “Incentives :)

  1. That’s a lovely, thought provoking piece, Usha. It captures the essence of what teaching ought to be; thanks for making the world a better place by shaping future generations!

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  2. The girl is great! She didn’t keep her affection/respect in her heart for you but expressed it!

    I know that my sons had some very good teachers. I remember my son asking me for a hair clip for his teacher because he liked her! He was in II std. then!

    I too had some very good teachers but we never had the guts to express our respects to her personally. I should have done that!

    The title is very apt. Many of your students must be there like me who are keeping their affection to themselves. Great, Usha!

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    • Sandhya, thank you for sharing that! Indeed when we were in school, we would hesitate to go up and speak to even a teacher we appreciated. Nowadays, with some, children are still like that, but more or less, children have grown in confidence and their ability to express themselves. A good thing!

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  3. Ahh.. thank you for the credits

    Such are teachers.. A teacher as the name suggests, teaches.. Which is why you have many teachers who will just stick to their class room teaching jobs. Then you get a teacher who will touch you, because he or she inspired you to think or do something you wanted to but didn’t think you were capable of. Sometimes they see through you and into you in a way that others have not been able to… When one does that, they get a response like the one you have got in this letter.

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    • Ah, Hrishi, the credit is due, definitely for the idea, and the title 🙂 I hope your blog is getting done; the incentive is already ready 🙂 🙂
      You know I finally did get to express myself, all the adulation I had, for a wonderful teacher in my life, only recently, during the past year… and I love how you put that:
      “Then you get a teacher who will touch you, because he or she inspired you to think or do something you wanted to but didn’t think you were capable of. Sometimes they see through you and into you in a way that others have not been able to…”
      I know for sure I am where I am because of her 🙂
      I’ve written about it here
      https://ushus.wordpress.com/2012/09/05/discover-wildlife-be-a-teacher/

      So thank you ever so much more, Hrishi, for the inspiration and the way you see this 🙂

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  4. Oh, but this is so wonderful Usha and rather sweet. I still remember my Social Studies teacher from my 10th standard. She is no more. One of the best teachers I have ever had.

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  5. So sweet of S. Such letters are the real incentives. The satisfaction we get knowing what good we have done for someone is the real inspiration that keeps us going.
    Paper correction, tabulation – the dullest part, taking away all the fun. 🙂
    “Those rare smiles” – I often hear that from my students. Rarity makes them valuable. Let’s continue being thrifty about them. 😉

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    • Bindu, you picked out a line from the write… and that makes me know you too 🙂 🙂 I already do, but then the connect has become more tangible!
      I’m sure you have your own hoard of such collections as well!
      Thanks so much, Bindu!

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  6. This is lovely. Somehow it reminded me of my school days – though the “Snape”ish teachers come back more readily to my mind – there were some that really inspired

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    • Thank you for being here Ritu.
      LOL @ ‘snape’ish teachers. There are those, and there are the ones who inspire, as you say! – but it’s always the learner group that makes the teacher, I think 🙂

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  7. This is so sweet Usha teechare 🙂

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  8. That is so sweet, Usha! And I’m sure every bit gratifying for you :).

    “Sometimes, the what what we need and want become the same thing. That is joy. That is fruition of a hope, a dream. Sometimes, it is a miracle, especially in this jaded world.” must be such a wonderful feeling! You’re so fortunate to be experiencing this joy!

    God bless you and inspiring teachers like you always 🙂

    As for the movie, The Great Debaters, noting it down. I wish to watch it soon 🙂

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    • Thank you Deeps 🙂 And I am sure you’ve been witness to a lot of affection students have shown, to your mother too. Inspiration and so much more there too 🙂 But do watch the movie, and the other one too. “Finding Forrester”

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  9. From one teacher to another.

    What a child’s appreciation truly means. When a student comes to meet one long after he/she has passed out from the school. Or long after one has left the school. When they say a word of appreciation. Just a word. Or a gesture that can mean so much. All of it is priceless. Really. and truly priceless.
    And here dear, darling Ushus you have a whole letter. And such heartfelt emotions running through the whole thing. Her emotions are naked and her vulnerability is so visible.

    And so I say again dear Ushus,
    From one teacher (learner:)) to another.
    To have a child show her love is beautiful in itself but that vulnerability is a gift beyond compare. Here is a child who can show her vulnerability with her teacher. It takes a great teacher to inspire such love and such vulnerability.
    You are something else:)

    And to your student.
    Thank you dear heart. This love will fuel your teacher for many, many years to come. You would be surprised.:) It means the world to a teacher.

    Saw the great debaters this jan for the first time. Loved it.

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    • Indygurl, I know you’ve been here. Literally and figuratively 😀 😀 And thank you for the abundance of affection I’ve been showered with here, each a gift on the fourth anniversay (so wordpress says 😛 ), on so many of the posts. You understand the little ones like no one else I know 🙂
      “To have a child show her love is beautiful in itself but that vulnerability is a gift beyond compare. Here is a child who can show her vulnerability with her teacher. It takes a great teacher to inspire such love and such vulnerability.”

      So very very true. And that amazes me. The courage with which they open themselves up and show that vulnerability. I know I’d rather have kept quiet and admired from afar, but these children are such an inspiration (I know I’m sounding like a broken record here 😀 ) that one cannot help be a better person for all of that 🙂

      Thanks a bunch, Indy 🙂

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  11. Shall I ask you a favor, Madam? 🙂

    Rahul

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  12. As promised I am here 🙂 i was so touched by this post and was reminiscing the years i too went through the same feeling.The best part of this profession is the way we impact the lives of so many students, We have no idea of that influence, until and unless A LETTER like above brings in home.This bond between a teacher and students envelopes all the hope, expectations and affection in the journey called life :)Thank you very much for this post Usha mam 🙂

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    • Sunita, first of all, very many thanks for that lovely note you lend this write, with your sharing too!
      “The best part of this profession is the way we impact the lives of so many students, We have no idea of that influence, ” … indeed, till much much later. And how fulfilling that is 🙂 Not having known the extent of the influence and having that nice and warm feeling inside when it does happen!
      Thank you so very much!

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  13. this is indeed very beautiful letter… lovely post.

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  14. Usha teacher, i want to thank you too! 🙂

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    • David, thank you too 🙂 for always being here, and reading the rambles, and contributing to it and bringing so much joy! The teacher, the rambler, the mumbler… she thanks you from the bottom of me heart 🙂

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