Guru Brahma Guru Vishnu Guru Devo Maheshwaraha
“Everyone who remembers his own education remembers teachers, not methods and techniques. The teacher is the heart of the educational system.”
— Sidney Hook
Being a professor is different from being a teacher. The role of a teacher goes beyond that of being an instructor of a classroom. The teacher is a facilitator of knowledge, diagnostician, an advisor, a guide and a positive influence. The art of a teacher is not simply providing the students with the answers but providing them with engaging questions, handing down experiences, opening up young minds and inspiring them to follow their dreams. Almost all of my English teachers have checked all the above boxes.
Growing up in an institution that celebrated strict discipline, my English teachers always enthused us to tear down the systems that restricted our creativity. From breaking into poetry in the classroom when encountered with a spider that was dangling from the window one rainy morning, to encouraging us to be politically active and create a safe space for the minorities, they covered it all. They shared our oozing passion for romanticism when reciting John Keats, made us politically aware when reading Spivak and uncompromisingly perfected our grammar. They truly saw us and we wanted to be seen and be noticed.
I remember this one English Teacher I had for a semester when I was 14. Although I do not remember her name and can vaguely remember the outline of her face, I’ll carry the influence she had on me for the rest of my life. She helped me personally and acknowledged my struggles and accomplishments and allowed me to be my authentic self. She was thrilled by the first confessional poetry I wrote and encouraged me to continue writing. She also helped me socially and opened my mind to the ideas that were stigmatized and tabooed in the society and inculcated the habit of unabashedly questioning the institutions that upheld regressive ideas. It was also her passion towards the subject and teaching that encouraged me to pursue English as a degree.
A teacher is far from being someone whom we need when we contemplate our career but someone who transfers an important idea with grace and effectiveness into the deep minds of the students. Good learning and teaching are the only ways we will be able to progress and grow and that is why we need to celebrate the gifts they truly are!