“A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination,
and instill a love of learning.”
- Brad Henry
‘A TEACHER BY DESIGN OR A TEACHER BY DEFAULT?’ This is how I have captioned my session tomorrow. A reputed college in the city has invited me to conduct a session for its senior college-teachers… some eighty of them, of which about sixty are Ph.Ds. And, yes, about 60 to 70 percent of the teachers are female!
A female, always, makes a better teacher… Any dispute on this?
Most of us have tender memories of our earliest teachers… Invariably all of them female teachers. Mine was a teacher by the name Satvavati. She made our lessons so dramatic with her stories and songs…
One late evening, a cow was returning to her home through a jungle. A hungry tiger came to attack her. She was the ideal dinner for the hungry tiger.
“Master,” the cow cried before the hungry and fierce tiger, “I know you are hungry and need me for your dinner.” She continued, “But, please be little kind. I have my little child at home, who is hungry and waiting for me to come and feed. Please allow me to do it… I promise to you that I will come back and offer myself for your dinner.”
Obviously, the tiger did not believe the cow. It said, “You think I should believe you? Remember, I am not a fool.”
“Trust me Master, I will not go back on my word.” The cow pleaded. “Have mercy on my little child… I will return to you after I feed and send my child to sleep.”
“It is hard for me to trust,” the tiger announced. “I will not let you go.”
“Please my Master… for my little one’s sake,” the cow kept pleading, “Trust me, I will come back to you. I will not break my promise.”
“Alright then,” the angry tiger roared, “remember, if you break your promise, I shall have your child too along with you for my dinner. Understand?”
The cow thanked the tiger and headed towards her home.
After feeding its child and sending it to sleep, the cow proceeded back to the tiger. By now, the tiger had already concluded in his mind that the cow would not return. So, when he saw the cow back before him, he was shocked! “It is unbelievable,” he exclaimed in his mind, “What a rare species is this!”
“Master, I have come… I have kept my promise,” the cow said gently. “Please take your dinner.”
The tiger’s heart melted at this. “No, I cannot do that with you. You are too good, too honest to be harmed.”
“My Maser, it is late and you must be hungry,” the cow cried, “please take me for your dinner.”
“I am moved by your honesty, O the truthful one,” the tiger repeated, “Please go back to your little one.”
The cow, too, was touched by the tiger’s gesture. She thanked him profusely and returned to her home.
By a strange co-incidence, this amazing teachers’ name was ‘Satyavati’. She taught us is 1st or second standard… some fifty-three years ago! There have been moments in my life when I have been tested on my loyalty, integrity and commitments. I will not say I have scored ten on ten in these tests. But, yes, I have fared very, very well most of the time. It really makes me feel good…
Females do make good teachers, sir. They do.
Last week, a mother of a thirteen-year-old boy was here. She was remerging her own third-standard teacher, back home in Indore. I encouraged her to write about it so that I could share it on my blog. Here it is…
Mrs. Veena Sangwan was her name… It still rings in my ears, giving me a touch of sweet and affectionate memories.
I remember clearly… I was in the second grade, all of 6 to 7 years. She would call me a parrot, because I would talk nonstop. I was her favourite...Why I wouldn't be? I did all that she wanted us to do… She made every effort to make us warm and I felt the warmth a little more.
I remember, in the third grade, she taught us how to make sprouts of grains. She had asked all the day-scholars to make and get them, and we had a party in the class. When I see grown-ups, not knowing how to make them, I silently laugh at them. This was the lesson she taught me at my tender age and she taught it so well.
Going to the school backyard for a picnic and playing educational games was all fun. The day would start and end in a jiffy. How happy I would be in the morning while packing my bag! The thought of being around her presence made me cheerful. Vacations were over… and happily we went to the fourth grade. Slowly I realized how much I missed her… The sense of belonging was gone… Sometimes I would see her in the corridors and blush with happiness and so would she!
So, tomorrow, when I will be talking to all our ‘city’ college-teachers – very highly qualified – I will surely talk about our ‘village’ school-teachers… who taught us with their ‘heart’.
Pic.: Avinash Mantri