Teacher’s Day: A Teacher’s Influence Lasts for Generations

Teacher’s Day: A Teacher’s Influence Lasts for Generations

No matter how old we grow, the lessons taught by our teachers can never be forgotten. Good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of right answers. Let us remember: one book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world. Dear readers, teaching is the one profession that creates all other professions. That is why no better tributes have been paid to any man on earth than to the teacher. East or west, the teacher has been respected. He has been called the architect of the nation, the harbinger of progress, the maker of man and the maker of history. Like a gardener caressing the plants, he caresses tender human beings and looks after their physical, mental and social growth and development. As God created man in his own image, the teacher fashions the child in his image. A teacher can never tell where his influence stops. Bureaucrats may plan a new system of pedagogy, but it is the teacher who directs and guides the young. He lives in obscurity and contends with hardship. For him no trumpets flare, no chariots wait, no golden medals are decreed. He keeps watch at the borders of darkness and launches attacks on ignorance and folly.
Patient in his daily work, he strives to conquer the evil powers which are the enemies of the youth. He awakens the sleeping spirit. He quickens the indolent, encourages the eager, and steadies the unstable. He communicates his own joy in learning and shares with boys and girls the best treasures of his mind. He lights many candles which in later years will shine back to cheer him. This is his reward. Knowledge may be gained from books, but the love for knowledge is transmitted only by personal conduct.
Certainly, heavy responsibilities lie on the shoulders of a teacher. A university degree or diploma does not make an ideal teacher. To be an ideal teacher there should be proper and harmonious development of the qualities of head and heart. The ideal teacher makes students spell bound by his very presence in class. Children fall in love at first sight and develop instantaneous loyalties with the teacher. A charming and dynamic personality really does wonders, as do a calm nature, serene face, and pleasant demeanor. Sound physical health brings enthusiasm, vigour, vitality and dynamism, so important for the job.
The ideal teacher possesses high intellectual calibre. The profession demands deep understanding, logical reasoning, resourcefulness, tact, intuition and memory. To meet the call of this profession, the teacher must keep his interests broad and varied. He must have deep thirst for knowledge. He must have keen powers of observation and an inquisitive approach to every new situation. His mental horizon is widened by acquiring more and more experience and by studying more and more. In a way, he is a student, a learner throughout his life, true to Tagore’s words: “A teacher can never truly teach unless he is still learning himself”.
With fortitude to combat any problem, with forbearance to face any hardship, with restraint to cool anger and frustration, with composure to bring peace of mind, with selfless submission to his profession, with resignation to divine will, and with faith in himself, an ideal teacher is like a demigod. He is all cheerful and optimistic, teaching the students with delight and creating a happy learning atmosphere in class. It was for such an ideal teacher that Kabir said: “Teacher and God, both are standing before me/ To whom should I bow? I bow to my teacher, who guided me to God.”
Such a teacher is motivated by a sound philosophy of life. His mission is to transmit desirable values through the medium of enlightened instruction and personal influence. An educational institution is a place of worship of wisdom, seed bed of character, a citadel of discipline, and a nursery of the nation. Its success depends upon the teacher. We may not expect every teacher to be a genius but the ideal for him is well set.
Some years back I went to a reputed school as a guest lecturer. At the very outset of my class, I asked all the students what they wanted to become in life. Many answered, IAS officer, Doctor, Engineer, Pilot, KAS officer, etc. The list was long. But not a single student said teacher or lecturer or professor. It appalled me to hear that none of them thought of teaching as a purpose in life. Then I remembered the words of J. Barzun: “Teaching is not a lost art but a lost tradition”.
Is the teaching profession unimportant? Of course not. Teachers help students to shake off ignorance, vices, and evils. Alexander the Great stated the importance of teachers saying, “I am indebted to my father for teaching me to live, but more indebted to my teacher for teaching me to live well.” In the developed world, teachers hold a high position with high social status and earn handsomely. But the case is different in the land of ours. Society still has to give due regard to teachers, even though teaching is not just for making money but for cultivating noble and novel ideas in the pupils. Once Adul Kalam was asked how he would like to be remembered by the world, as a scientist or Bharat Ratna recipient or the President of India or the Missile Man. Abdul Kalam said he wished to be remembered as a teacher! He said, “If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother, and the teacher.”
I honour all the ideal teachers on “Teacher’s Day” whose influence can be felt in generations that came after them. This is a day kept aside to honour the gifted souls who work every day to make sure that the future is bright for all of us. On this beautiful occasion, let me take the opportunity to convey best wishes to all teachers. Let all of us also pray for those teachers who have left for the heavenly abode. Let light perpetual shine upon them. May noble souls of all the departed teachers rest in peace.
—Khanhussain.ang@gmail.com

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