School is the most memorable place in our lives. It’s where we made friends for life, met our future wives/husbands, where we made career choices and where we spent most of our happy times. Other than homework and classwork, we loved every minute of it. We were moulded by our teachers. Good or bad they formed the foundation of our outlook on life. Here are some of my teachers who influenced me. Maybe you have/had one of these at your school too.
- The Forgiver: This is the only memory I have of the teacher. She had punished me and two others for making noise in class by making us stand outside for half-an-hour. After we came in she hugged us. She said she was proud that we faced our punishment without breaking down. Being forgiven was the best feeling in the world.
Lesson Learnt: Make mistakes as long as you don’t hurt anyone. Forgive people who make mistakes because no one is perfect.
- The Punisher: Ever been the only one punished for laughing with everyone else? Ever been sent to a lower grade, made to kneel down in front of that class. All the while crying? Well, that was me. I was the special case with this teacher. I was always punished for the stupidest of reasons. She even tore my notebook into pieces at the end of the semester and made me write everything again. No idea what in me ticked her off.
“Lesson Learnt: There will always be someone who will hate you for no reason. Make your peace with it and move on.”
- The Judge: My school was very conservative. We were forbidden from sitting next to boys and talking to them. We were being groomed not to stand next to men but trail behind them. They could play in the ground but we were forbidden because our “assets” could cause “incidents” like being proposed to or having a boyfriend. You were a sinner and a person of bad character if you talked to boys. I was a sinner. And I don’t regret any part of it. These teachers even instructed parents to keep their children away from me.
“Lesson Learnt: Be open-minded. In the end, you will always be the better person.”
- The Sadist: Every teacher has a favourite student. This teacher did too. Not me and I am glad. I was his least favourite. He humiliated me every chance he got. Reading out my wrong answers in front of the class, mocking the way I recited poems, laughing at my embarrassment were his way of teaching. His favourite students always got the highest marks just because they were pretty and sweet. Though I wrote the same answers I was not eligible for getting good marks.
“Lesson Learnt: Be fair to everyone and accept their shortcomings. Never humiliate anyone.”
- The Inspiration: This honour goes to two very special teachers. One made us her friend. She involved herself in the lessons, had fun with us, told us stories about her life and engaged in our mischief. The other was a disciplinarian. She was strict but never for the wrong reasons. She was like the parent who taught us how to ride a bicycle. Hold on for sometime and let go at the right moment. That was her approach to teaching. And that’s the way it should be. Both of them were two sides of the same coin. Different outcomes but same influence.
“Lesson Learnt: Respect difference. Only then will someone respect you.”
Whatever their approach to teaching was, it made an impact in my life. I am a better person because of them. My effort to be or not to be like them is what has shaped me. In the end, it does not matter how much you scored but how much you learnt.