“teachers should be the best minds in the country”.
On 5th September every school child in India celebrates Teachers’ Day. When I was a school girl, this was the day when the Teachers were given a day “off” and we students took their place in front of the class, dressing up like grown ups for the day. The Teachers of course were around in school but it was a fun day where they took a back seat , enjoying the simple gift of a rose that we all presented them with and relaxing in the Staff Room waiting for the lunch treat that the PTA would organise for them ; and at the end of the day we all felt happy – the teachers for being made to feel special and the children for an unexpected fun day at school. This pattern I think continues even today – where children show their appreciation for their teachers.
I was blessed to have had wonderful teachers who not only taught us well but opened our minds to the world and taught us how to think. My teachers went beyond the call of duty and an incident I can never forget is when my Class teacher in Std 3 made a field trip of “Visit to the Hospital”. It was the middle of the monsoons and I was operated for an emergency appendectomy. I still remember how thrilled I was to see my class mates troop in to see me in the middle of a gloomy, wet morning, each with a small packet of biscuits and a fruit and a lovely Get Well Soon card (which they had made during art class) with cheery messages scribbled in . I was away from school for almost a fortnight and I missed school especially since those were the days without telephones and I felt happy when I saw those cards placed around my bed. For me it was a real tonic and for the rest of my school mates it was a lesson in caring which none of us ever forgot.
For my teachers what mattered was not the syllabus or the portion or even success in examinations – what they really wanted to know was whether we had understood what they were trying to teach. In our time, there was no such thing as “tuitions” but teachers did help weaker students voluntarily, giving extra work and spending extra time. I remember one of our Math’s teachers who painstakingly made up worksheets for us to do over the long summer holidays and would give them back to us with corrections and explanations written ever so carefully in the margin.
Teachers would give back papers with comments of appreciation or with sarcastic remarks – showing that they had read each word with care. Completely dedicated to their students, there would always be a teacher on duty who would stay back till the last child went home, sometimes keeping the child with him/her in the Staff Room chatting over a cup of hot tea and biscuits, reassuring him that his parent would come.
Reading the horrifying things that are happening in schools these days, I can only thank my stars that I had the teachers that I did.
This is my 5th post for the Write Tribe September Challenge