Teacher’s Day is celebrated on the 5th of September in India – in honour of Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. Dr Radhakrishnan was a celebrated academic, India’s first vice president and second president. Apparently, his students wanted to celebrate his birthday, but he suggested the day to be observed as Teacher’s Day in honor of all teachers.
That Dr Radhakrishnan’s students wanted to celebrate his birthday got me wondering. Why do we want to celebrate some teachers? What makes them special? We surely don’t celebrate or remember every teacher.
We really remember two kinds of teachers. The first category are teachers are those who cared, identified talents in kids, and provided room for a ‘growth mindset’. The other category who were strict, somewhat mean and might even embarass students in the class.
Caring teachers who foster growth mindsets in students: Showing students you care about them helps create a positive and supportive relationship. It helps build an environment where learning can flourish. Makes the student feel confident and valued. Let me elaborate with some personal stories.
One of my earliest memories is that I used to pluck flowers and make a small garland everyday for my Montessori teacher. She used to thank me, take the garland, and tie it on her hair with utmost care. That used to be a proud moment for me. And the bond with her was strong! Now when I look back I wonder what made me do that for my teacher? It was her smile and the motherly care. Almost all of my batchmates still remember her, our Laxmi-auntie. And the memories are still fresh in my mind.
I fondly remember our sports teacher in primary school. He used to provide equal opportunity for football, cricket etc irrespective of gender. Just pause for second and focus on ‘irrespective of gender’ – because it was not very common. And that made him special to all us girls. In secondary school, once I had made a mistake during my physics experiment. Our teacher took utmost care in pointing out the mistake, patiently explaining the concepts, and even elaborating why it was an important thing to remember and be careful about. I felt indebted to him!
At medical school, it was all of new experience. The hostel life, staying outside home state, different language everything seemed like a challenge. The hostel warden took it upon herself to make us newbies comfortable.
Strict or mean teachers: One of our maths teacher used to be very strict in the classroom. All we remember is punishments. Punishments for not completing home task, duster taps for not doing a sum right etc. May be her intention was not wrong, but the way she used to express herself was not right. She used to teach maths very well, but all students used to be scared throughout the class. Well, “A school life isn’t complete without one strict teacher” – all of us must have encountered at least one teacher who was unnecessarily strict. Me and my friends remember our primary maths teacher for her strictness and the punishments. The memories are not fond though!
So who is an ideal teacher?
An ideal teacher provides kids under her/his care with the best foundation in learning. And this learning equips them with knowledge, skills and positive attitudes for success in future life. An ideal teacher cares for students and guides them through mistakes. An ideal teacher never gives up on a student, irrespective of the students shortcomings.
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around”. – Leo Buscaglia. A teacher must have all the qualities. Because a teacher “Takes a hand, Opens a mind, and Touches a Heart”.
Being a teacher is the highest privilege. Happy Teachers Day to all the wonderful teachers!
Parents, please encourage your kids to express their love for thier teachers through the painting contest. Please upload the paintings at http://bloombrite.com/contest/