Wednesday, November 25, 2015

What my teacher unintentionally taught.

Summing up the week, saree day went well and most importantly, it did not fall apart. My son is a big time fan of the saree because the Principal of his school wears it oh-so-elegantly every single day. He thinks she looks like a bride. Yes, Bride. Since he was born four years ago he must have seen a lot of brides by this time. His grandmothers have tucked their sarees to the top shelves and are flaunting their churidhars with chiffon shawls with much élan. All Indian dudes grow up to be total suckers of the saree, because a major part of their lives are spent watching others suffer – be it wearing a saree or in a labor room.

It is a fact that we all adore well-dressed teachers. Particularly in colleges where students are only physically present and are forced to focus their eyes on the teachers. My Mom was a teacher and she dressed immaculately every single day to college. She, being a fan of well ironed and tediously maintained cotton sarees, effortlessly gained respect from students and colleagues alike. A teacher who has a sartorial sense gains respect irrespective of her teaching abilities. Some others may not dress as well, but has good knowledge of the subject. Others are friendly and just let live. Then there is that fourth kind.

About that.

Image Courtesy: Here

So back in my Engineering days, most of our teachers were really young so they were fun and harmless. Then there was this lady, senior most in our department, short and stout, shrill, and always carries a ‘F you’ expression. She taught us that not all teachers deserve to be respected. Unfortunately, semester exams came every six months, and during the final classes of each semester, most of the staff used to get friendlier and wished us best of luck. Engineering exams are passed only by God’s grace which roughly translates itself as ‘luck’ in Layman terms. However, the lady in question begged to differ. She used to walk in on the last class before the exams and curse us. “You know what. I wish you guys don’t pass this semester. None of you. I will be here in my cabin and I want to see each one of you coming year after year to clear your arrears”.

I did not fabricate that sentence. These were the exact words spoken to us. Not once, but on multiple occasions. Most of us, far away from home, just needed a gentle push to keep going. A few words of kindness to keep ourselves afloat. In the case of this lady, if she hadn’t turned up at all, that would have been a big favor for us. However, she decided to do what no teacher should do under any circumstances.When I told this to my parents they couldn’t possibly believe what they were hearing. Even though I was capable of hating anyone who did not agree with me, they knew that it was beyond me to make this up. My Mom was literally shocked to know that anyone can talk like this, let alone a teacher. Just because someone is a ‘teacher’ according to the payroll of a college doesn’t mean she is one. 

Such people come into our lives for a reason. Now I know how a teacher should not behave. Some kids have shown me what my son should not grow up to become. Some have shown me that a degree in medicine does not make a Doctor. Some friends have taught me never to trust a single human being. Since I have been doing a lot of learning, I am exhausted. It is high time I start teaching a lesson or two.

Now, what do I teach? :-|


  1. More importantly, what can you wear when you teach :p
    Now that I think about it, it must be so hard for a teacher to plan her wardrobe. 1000 students looking at you every single day and judging you. Man!!!

    1. Correct! But each morning it is a motivation to dress up . And pay attention to details.

  2. Oh that lady seems so rude. Thankfully I have not encounters any such teachers in my lifetime of learning.

    Sarees and teachers are like made for each other na. Except ofcourse if you are Vidya Balan.

    1. Not a single day is passed without learning something small or big from others we meet in our daily lives. Some are here simply to teach us how not to behave to our fellow beings.
      'No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind'- Taylor Swift

    2. Correct Sony! Just be good to is that simple, right? How can people find themselves comfortable just by being rude?

  3. As you say, one can't demand respect just because one is a teacher. One has to earn it. And those who earn it with their knowledge of the subject, camaraderie and compassion, remain all time favorite teachers.