Founts of experience

The burden on the teachers then was probably less, or did they do the balancing act?

They may not be people who have risen to great heights by excelling in their work but their love and dedication towards their ‘karma’ has had an impact on all our lives.

The lessons they taught us have been etched in our hearts and will continue to be remembered with affection till we breathe our last. I am talking about teachers, who could say ev-erything without saying anything at all.

It is sad, but true, that the teachers of today have no time for themselves, let alone teaching children the lessons of life. They feel fortunate if they get enough time to complete the curricula.

It’s a tight ropewalk what with projects, preparing children for competitions, oral tests, monthly tests, worksheets, events in school and  house duties taking away their time. And then come evaluation of assignments, tests, examination papers, submission of marks sheet and the sword of Damocles – the PTM. No wonder youngsters think umpteen number of times before opting for a teaching job.

During our times, the burden on the teachers was probably less, or did they know how to do the balancing act? We found them cheerful and eager to teach every day. From St Micheal’s School in Madikeri, where I did most of my schooling, I fondly remember my math teacher Ms Dulsin, who was patience personified.

Like a whiff of fresh air, she would walk into the classroom with a smile. She wouldn’t show an iota of anger even when we asked the silliest of doubts. As she worked out problems explaining the steps, even the dullest head would feel that math was definitely not all that difficult. Though we missed her a great deal when we went to high school, we could easily follow what was taught because she had instilled positivity in us.

We adored Mrs Parameshwari, who taught us Kannada. Her language was impeccable. When she would narrate stories from Mahabharatha, we would all listen with rapt attention. When the story of Karna and the plight of a helpless mother in Kunthi was poignantly desc-ribed, all of us were moved to tears. I remember how we tried to hide those tears putting our heads down on the desks.

We loved Ms Seethamma for she always tried to make her class special. When she taught us a lesson on how our heart functioned, she made a few of us run a short distance and come back. Then she placed a stethoscope on our chest and made us listen to our heartbeat. She would tell us how wonderful God’s creation was and how science still struggled to match up to it.

My sports teacher, Ms Rita’s simplicity was her charm. She instilled in every athlete the ‘never give up’ attitude. Her only ‘mantra,’ that helped us win many a match, was to keep calm whenever the opponent team was stronger.

Two other teachers whom I have looked up to are my parents. Their advice always was to not opt for a job enamoured by the charm and razzmatazz associated with it. Though qualified to take up better-paying jobs, my dad George William (who is no more), remained a teacher all his life, because he was passionate about teaching. My mom Padma, still teaches in a school in Mysore.

While I salute all the teachers for their service to the nation, I keep my fingers crossed that they get a chance to ‘teach with their heart,’ than just being forced to complete portions in view of exams.

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