“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops,’’- Henry Brooks Adams. Anatole France said: “Nine-tenths of education is encouragement.” Can you describe the teacher who most influenced you? I guess we all have, but the ones that quickly come to mind are not necessarily the teachers that taught their subject matter so well, but those that encouraged and inspired us.
The greatest influencers in my life have actually been my teachers. From the cradle to adulthood, our lives have been dotted with immeasurable influence of teachers who have surmounted great odds to add value to our lives.
Some of these teachers have broken self-defensive (insecure) walls that we have built around ourselves in order to reach out to us. John Quincy Adams, the 16th President of the United States (US) said: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” I have never seen a leader that has so much influence in the life of a child as a teacher. I remembered vividly how I needed to fight my battered self-esteem as a ‘stammerer’ while growing up. I withdrew myself from the world, as I saw everybody always wanting to laugh at my speech impediment until a teacher came. My teacher’s positive intervention and belief in me flabbergasted me and spurred me on. Right there on the front row seat, I made up my mind to pursue teaching as a career.
Teaching is not what a teacher does on the white-board; teaching is actually what a teacher does inside the student. Though I teach, but I see myself more as an ‘awakener’ than a teacher. The United Nations (UN) declared October 5 of every year as Teachers’ Day all over the world. It is a unique day to celebrate a set of people that have invested their time, resources and skills into moulding and shaping lives. Teaching is hard work and it is poignant if it is further made tougher when teachers are ‘forced’ to work in environment that are not conducive to learning.
Hain G. Ginott once said: “Teachers are expected to reach unattainable goals with inadequate tools. The miracle is that at times, they accomplish this impossible task.” I am not a teacher by accident, neither am I teaching out of frustration. I didn’t stumble on teaching while trying to look for other jobs; I made this decision because of the transformative power that my own teacher ‘wielded’ over me when I needed it the most.
In the midst of the meagre income and unworkable conditions of the teaching profession, I push myself beyond limits to reach out to my students. Many times, I will have to come down to my students’ level in the most unimaginable of ways. Just as the teacher that buoyed my self-esteem while I was struggling as a teenager with my speech impediment, I wanted to infuse so much hope and confidence into my students. Read more