As kids, we sometimes didn’t agree with their teaching strategies:
“Why does ma’am repeat the concept so many times? We’ve already understood!”
“Sir catches every little mistake we make. Why can’t he be a little lenient?”
Little did we know back then that their attention to detail and constant vigilance would be instrumental in shaping us into the sharp and responsible adults that we are today. They have helped us develop a strong value system, to differentiate right from wrong. Our teachers are experts in their field, but they taught us beyond the curriculum; be kind, honest, generous, humble, don’t tell lies, don’t steal, be strong in the face of adversity, and so much more.
And what did they want in return? A Teacher’s Day gift? What WOULD BE the best Teacher’s Day gift? True, handmade cards and notes always bring a smile to their face, but what they would love most is for their students to reach their full potential and excel at everything.
For the sake of our school teachers, college teachers, professors, our first teachers (parents), and anyone who has ever taught us anything, let’s be the best version of ourselves. Let’s honour our teachers and appreciate their hard work.
On the eve of Teacher’s Day 2023, we spoke to some of our gifted Academic Specialists at BYJU’S. Without further ado, let’s take a look at excerpts from our conversation.
Q. Students often have misconceptions about their teachers. Would you like to address any?
A. There are instances where students initially aren’t on the same page as their teachers, only to realise the momentousness of their guidance later. Teachers who grade rigorously are not well-loved. Those who urge students to step out of their comfort zones face resistance at first. Teachers who are sticklers for discipline are termed “strict”.
Years later, students understand that discipline was essential for creating a conducive learning environment and instilling important life skills, like responsibility and time management. And that the challenging pathways paved by teachers pushed them to excel and prepared them for a competitive future.
A teacher’s effort to inspire, challenge, and guide students, can be misunderstood or disliked at first, but later evolves into a deep appreciation for the role educators play in shaping students’ lives. They have a positive impact on not a student’s academic development, but also their personal growth.
Teachers may not have all the answers, but their guidance can lead students to the solution.
Q. A pearl of wisdom you received from a non-traditional teacher (school bus driver, your niece, neighbour’s uncle) that changed your life.
A. I’ve been tutoring children for almost a dozen years, but would you believe it if I told you that I received my training not from a prestigious university but from my best companion?
The pal who made me become a warm teacher, storyteller, an artist, a great cook, a puzzle solver, etc.
One warm afternoon, over a cup of tea and a slice of freshly baked cake, I was trying to make my son understand the importance of figures in life. He calmly replied, “Mummy, 100 is just a number! Stop judging and start accepting.”
Wait…What? Did this middle school boy just throw a pearl of wisdom at me unknowingly? Something everyone should take home? That it’s not just about the marks, it is about accepting individual perspectives beyond academic achievements.
This understanding transformed my way of tutoring. I started to view challenges from the student’s perspective. A disruptive student began to appear as the most skilful child in the class. I started assigning responsibilities to the least-expected students; not to make them responsible (that they already were) but to let them know that I understood them. I was content and life became simpler.
From that afternoon till today, my son keeps throwing these unexpected truth bombs at me that make me question life itself! Life’s most valuable lessons often come from surprising places. Take life one step at a time, enjoy the moment, explore, and experiment. But above all, remember that “100 is just a number”.
I am his mom. But, HE IS MY TEACHER.
Q. One person, dead or alive, you want as your student, and what would you like to teach them?
A. Though I can think of many people, the one person I would love to have as my student, would be Albert Einstein. Being a former Maths teacher, I know that there is almost nothing that I could’ve done to enhance his contributions to science. But, as we know, Einstein drooped out of school at the age of 15, as he was frustrated with the rigid system.
He was forced to fit into the mould of the school curriculum by his teachers even though he exhibited clear signs of advanced intellect throughout his time there. As he started expressing his disappointment towards the education system, he was tolerated lesser and lesser, until he was expelled, because his attitude was “affecting”’ (I’d definitely say “influencing”) his classmates.
As a student, I always felt that the school curriculum needs to focus on nurturing the individual talent and skillset of the students. My opinion held good when I became a teacher. That’s why I’ve tried my best to compensate for this through the way I teach the students and interact with them, without dismissing the way they choose to learn.
I hope, had I been his teacher, irrespective of the subject that I taught, I could’ve provided a support system to the student, Albert Einstein, and helped him navigate the school journey without treating him like an oddball just because he was too advanced for the school.
And I also have a selfish reason for picking him 🙂 I believe that a teacher has a lot to learn from a student as much as the student has to learn from a teacher. If that’s true, I’d have learnt a great deal teaching the genius, Albert Einstein!
Q. Best piece of advice you received from your school teacher that you still apply to life.
A. “Embrace failure as a stepping stone”
One of my teachers always emphasised the importance of failure in our lives; failure isn’t a dead-end, but a stepping stone towards success. This advice has empowered me to take risks, learn from mistakes, and persist in the face of adversity. Today, I approach challenges with a growth mindset, knowing that setbacks are part of the process.
School isn’t just about textbooks and exams; it’s a place where we learn life lessons that stay with us long after we leave the classroom. The pearls of wisdom shared by our teachers often guide us through our demanding adulthood.
By embracing failure, practising empathy, nurturing curiosity, communicating effectively, staying organized, persevering, celebrating diversity, and spreading kindness, I’m able to navigate the complexities of adult life with confidence and grace. Let’s continue to honour the wisdom of our teachers by applying their advice to lead purposeful and fulfilling lives.
Q. Any book/movie that illustrates the student-teacher bond perfectly?
A. Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom, gives precious life lessons through the author’s tete-a-tete with his former professor (Morrie), during the last days of his life.
Morrie and Mitch’s bond is deep, genuine, and brimming with affection. Morrie was not just a teacher, he was a role model to all his students. He was always there for them, just like he was Mitch’s emotional support during a particularly trying time in his life.
Mitch and Morrie’s student-teacher bond leads to significant personal growth for both of them. The former becomes more dedicated and self-aware, while becoming more content and peaceful in his relationships and career. Morrie, being in poor health, maintains his optimistic outlook and passion for teaching, until the end.
This book shows that we always have something to learn from others, regardless of age and experience. Morrie shared all his learnings of life, love, death, family, and aging. Like a diligent student, Mitch absorbed his every word and applied it to his life.
From English teachers to sports teachers, maths teachers and science teachers, tuition teachers, dance teachers, here’s wishing a Happy Teacher’s Day to all our favourite teachers. You really make the world a better place. We are because you are.
(This story has been put together by Storyweaver, Neha Dua)
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