Over the years, I have realised that no matter whatever else I do, teaching is what keeps me ticking. I started teaching primary school children donkey’s years ago since the time I was in high school. This exercise made me realise that teaching made a better student out of me. I had a better grasp of the basics, the cobwebs that blurred my clarity vanished and I developed my communication skills with the aim of putting across the concept. Ever since, there has been no looking back.
However, as all of us know, our education system boils down learning to clearing a set of examinations. After a certain point, I felt that I had begun fitting square pegs in round holes. That is when I decided that I would teach only for dissemination of knowledge or very simply for the joy of teaching.
But, as they say, “It is simple to be happy but very difficult to be simple.” It was after giving some deep thought to the matter, I zeroed in on a plan to have the cake and eat it too. I started putting in more hours in a conventional classroom if I had to elaborate on various dimensions of a subject effectively.
At a personal level, I also scouted for students who wanted to learn a subject and not study them merely to appear for examinations. Initially, the search proved to be tough. Over the years, I managed to establish my point and carve a modest niche for myself.
More recently, I landed an assignment to teach Sanskrit to a couple of senior citizens including an octogenarian. This experience strengthened my belief further. Teaching them was like a cakewalk because they had all the makings of diligent students.
Once the primary obstacles of learning the exhaustive grammar of the language were done with, their motor skills had improved vastly. When we started elucidating a literary text, classes metamorphosed into extensive talk sessions. Their vast experience of life and extraneous knowledge on various counts percolated through in our dialogues.
I gained new perspectives while they gained the happiness of reading a classic in the original. They personified the saying that age is no bar if one really wants to learn something. Their attitude towards life and learning has made me look at my sunset years in a new light. Besides, I just proved to myself all over again that I always end up teaching only to learn!