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Teachers, you are the champion for your students.

“Have you ever liked school?” This was my question to a 9 th grader, who despite his best attempts was unable to score better grades. He replied that his senior kindergarten years were the best years of his life. I asked him, “why?” And he answered, “The teacher cared for me and loved me”. Years later, he still remembers this particular teacher for the way she cared for him and showed him that he was valued. This simple dialogue led me to think on the impact teachers have on the lives of the impressionable minds entrusted under their  care. An impact that not only stays lifelong, but also effects on the outcome of an individual, that can bring out the best or damage a child. As teachers we often fail to realize that every single day when we enter our classrooms, we hold a future of a child in our hands. So much is at stake where we can literally, like brick upon brick construct a child’s life or  cement a lifetime of failure depending on our efforts But unfortunately, when we as teachers shirk from giving our best, a cycle of damage continues in the lives of many kids. These are so subtle that nobody is able to catch the culprit, often blaming the child for his/her lack of achievement, enforcing the belief that they are good for nothing.


A typical case is seen in the movie, ‘3 idiots’, where Aamir Khan on the death of one of his co-student, tells the director of his college that it was not a case of suicide but of murder. He squarely blames it on the teachers who put unnecessary pressure on the boy’s mind, a heinous  crime at best. Teachers, we aren’t here to create herds, who excel at one thing only. We are champions of people who can think, innovate, create, lead, empathize and bring change. Let me share my own example. I loved and enjoyed mathematics. If you ask me why I liked that subject above others, I would say I liked the teacher before I started liking the subject. She was a gem of a person. I have fond memories of her travelling in the bus with us, talking and having fun with us. Memories beyond the classroom that brought us close and made us take interest in what she taught as well.


Another interesting example is of my brother. I consider him a genius, primarily because he could completely dismantle a tape recorder, a cycle etc and join it all back precisely, and in the process service it and repair the fault. For me it was nothing short of a miracle. I would look at him do it with my jaw dropping and be amazed at the sheer intelligence he possessed. But here’s the irony, he could not clear his 12 th grade board exams and had to try a couple of times. He failed badly in Mathematics but scored full marks in Biology Practicals. It makes us wonder why such a capable boy would fail! Here was an engineer or a doctor in the making but unfortunately that wouldn’t be. The answer is again ‘The Teacher’. One teacher who beat him black and blue because he did not do his homework, resulting in his disinterest in that subject. Another teacher who labeled him as stupid, killing his interest in the subject and thus, he could never clear it. Things did turn for the better when he eventually went to pursue a career in healthcare in the USA, which required him to take college level Mathematics. He did really well and later told me, “Man, Mathematics is so easy and interesting, if only I could have done it in my school days”. I strongly believe that, as teachers, our attitude is what matters before our proficiency in teaching a subject. A teacher who loves the kids and takes interest in the child. A teacher who is merciful, forgiving, gives chances again and again. Someone who believes in the child, motivates and encourages not once but everytime s/he needs it. One praiseworthy word can build up a child and make him a genius. At the same time when we use words that are discouraging, insulting, clumsy or careless we destroy the future of a child. Take the lives of legends like Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein etc, somebody told them they could do it, it was as if ‘life’ was spoken over them. I believe that understanding a subject for a child is dependent on the genuine love and care we show to them. The child first accepts us and then it accepts the subject and vice versa. As a teacher I often ask myself this question. I encourage you to do  the same time and again. “What are we really here to do? Do we want to make a difference, change a life and be remembered or do we want to earn some money and just do a job?”

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