Rewards of teaching

Knowledge is the best gift one could give or receive.

On Teachers Day this year, kids from Mumbai-Pune based Akanksha Foundation were busy looking for teachers, so they, holding placards thronged public places to spread the message of constructive utility of time—their request was to use time to ‘teach them’. The response they received was large. Over a hundred people came forward and experienced teaching first-hand.

When I read the above news item, I could connect to it immediately. The willingness to learn in children can provide such an impetus to the ‘dormant teacher’ in people, that it can transform anybody into a teacher, provided one is willing to be receptive, to be responsive, to be empathetic. As a teacher how impactful one can be in a child’s life, I had experienced by sheer chance and good luck, and how mutually rewarding an experience it will be, I had understood only after experiencing it.

She was our maid’s daughter, a sprightly, intelligent girl, full of beans. I was aware of her impressive scholastic performance and was sure that she would do very well despite her cramping economic conditions. One day suddenly she told me that she would like to study in ‘English medium’, as she felt that it would give her more confidence and opportunity. Her mere mentioning of that wish had the underlying request that I must do something about it. I couldn’t remain blind to that ‘light’ in her bright eyes. Next day I went to meet her school principal, explained to her the situation and requested earnestly to oblige –she asked me straight, ‘will you tutor her at home? she would require that fully, because changing to English medium now may be a big challenge.’ After some serious convincing and promising, she shifted her to English medium in the same school.

Every evening from then on I used to don the robes of a teacher to that very bright, willing, eager student –and, the fruits of which are so sweet, that I get to hear the happy voice of hers wish me ‘happy teachers day’ on every teachers day. It always makes my eyes wet –  today she holds an executive MBA degree and is standing as a woman of substance.

‘Knowledge is the best gift one could give or receive’ – ‘teaching’ touches and transforms both – the teacher and the taught. I got the reaffirmation again, when I got a second phone call wishing me on the Teachers day this year. It was the girl who did her MPhil on my Telugu short story collection – all I did was help her understand the finer nuances of the stories and cleared few of her doubts and I get to be called her ‘teacher’…am I not ever thankful?

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