Mystic Mantra: Thanks a million, dear teachers!

The qualities that I’ve admired in my teachers can be summarised with the alphabets of the word: T-E-A-C-H-E-R.

When asked, “What’s the one thing that characterises our modern education?” a wise teacher replied, “Today, our educational system teaches us more and more about our cosmos, but less and less about ourselves.” She added, “We have two types of teachers: those who teach us how to make a living; and those who teach us how to live.” Today, on Teachers Day, let’s be glad and grateful for unforgettable teachers who taught us not how to make a living, but how to live. The qualities that I’ve admired in my teachers can be summarised with the alphabets of the word: T-E-A-C-H-E-R.

“T” for Truth — must prevail in all our teaching and learning. The Satyameva Jayate national motto from the Mundaka Upanishad animated great philosopher-teachers like Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, whose birthday marks this day. It ought to animate us, too.

“E” is for Education, which is not synonymous with mere teaching. Education — from the Latin ducare, meaning, “to draw out” — is more than simply teaching since it inspires both — teacher and student “draw out” the best from each other. A teacher is only as good as her/his students; hence, each is challenged to tap the very best in the other.

“A” refers to Affection, which makes teachers love their profession and their students. Amusingly, students are often told to “by heart” lessons, which is nothing more than parroting of spoon-fed points. By contrast, teachers like Saint Mother Teresa — whose feast is celebrated today — teach us lessons in love, entailing service and sacrifice.

“C” stands for Creativity, which features low in the list of essentials in today’s education where students are forced to cram, copy, stick to the syllabus, imitate the teacher, concentrate on exams and earn degrees. When asked why she was unimpressed by degrees and titles, a teacher said, “When you have ears to hear a bird singing, you don’t need to look at its credentials.”

“H” entails the Hardships that must be borne if one is to excel as a teacher/student. There is no substitute for hard work to be an authority in a subject. While netas are often paid handsomely for being kaamchors, many teachers slog to impart wisdom, not mere information.

“E” is for Encouragement needed to make “small” students feel big, dream big. An encouraging teacher sees golden eggs lying latent in some goose of a student and will help her/him to lay them! Such teachers help students realise their true “self”.

“R” is the “Response-ability” that enables educators to look beyond and respond to each person, each event in unique ways. It also demands “social responsibility” towards the children who can never go to school for whatever reason.

Thanks a million, dear teachers! God bless you all!

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