One of the most precious privileges showered upon me by God is the privilege of becoming a teacher. Nothing else beats this… nothing else can replace this.
Like millions of teachers all over the world know it, I, too, know that being there in a class room, day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year – yes, being there in the class room and impacting the lives of our students is unique about our profession. Our students come from different back grounds… some are from great families and some are from the broken ones… some kids are loved at home and some are abused… some have discovered their talents and callings in life… some are clueless… some are compassionate and kind and some are outright violent and volatile…
And, there we are, as teachers… battling with our choices: to accept and reform our students or to condemn and give up on them… We are there before them in our class room, every day and round the year with the choices: to work for the money our profession gives or to work for the joy and pride the impact of our presence brings in our students' lives…
As a kid and as a student, my memories are not very pleasant ones… I suffered from a deep sense of worthlessness – a killing inferiority complex… I was bad in studies… I was clueless about what I wanted to do in my life… And, all this changed in my first year degree college when Prof. B.S. Raman came to our class to teach us… My life was to change after that… yes, mysteriously, without having to talk to him one-on-one… just by being there in the class room and absorbing his goodness and inspiration… I call it grace, the ‘touch’!
So, today, I know – after almost four decades (I started teaching right from my F.Y. B’Com days ) – that, without I knowing it, I impact many, many lives… and, when I say that, I am being honest, not arrogant.
This morning, I chanced upon a video wherein, Johana Hayes was honored by President Obama as 'The National Teacher of the Year – 2016’. I loved the story of Johana… who grew up in a community infested by all the ugly things… who became pregnant as a teenager and had to drop out of the school… but, her life changed because of her teacher who saw something special in Johana… and, this compassion and kindness, this belief in one’s student… was the spark that caused the fire in Johana’s soul and made her a teacher… Johana became a teacher with a difference… who saw kids with compassion… “Your journey needn’t end with where it started,” yes, this was one of Johana’s key thrusts in the class room.
After listening to Johana’s story, I felt a lot good about my own self… I felt good about my own teachers… I felt good about millions of teachers around me who, in their own special way, do what Johana has been doing…
May my breed only increase… And, I am not being selfish when I pray like this!