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Trains of taught- The New Indian Express

9


By Express News Service

BENGALURU:  With years of responsibilities, stress and pressure of the future on our shoulders, we tend to lean on the memories of our younger years for a sigh of relief. The good ol’ days when life was simpler and the future often referred to lunch breaks.

In these memories, you may also find the voice of some of the greatest influences of your lives. The ones who not just taught you English, Maths or Science, but also helped you navigate your life. For some, they even left a legacy to continue. On this Teachers’ Day, educators open up about which teacher of theirs inspired them to take up the profession and why.


BENGALURU:  With years of responsibilities, stress and pressure of the future on our shoulders, we tend to lean on the memories of our younger years for a sigh of relief. The good ol’ days when life was simpler and the future often referred to lunch breaks.

In these memories, you may also find the voice of some of the greatest influences of your lives. The ones who not just taught you English, Maths or Science, but also helped you navigate your life. For some, they even left a legacy to continue. On this Teachers’ Day, educators open up about which teacher of theirs inspired them to take up the profession and why.

There have been many teachers in school and college who have left me inspired. But if I have to pick one who left me in complete awe and inspiration, it would be Dr Salim Thomas, my General Surgery teacher who taught me during my under graduation. His intellect and persona left us always motivated to learn more. We never missed any of his lecture classes. It was only years later when I was applying for my son’s KG application that I learnt that he is a trustee at KIT Thomas Educational Society. He is also a leading onco-surgeon in Chennai. I draw inspiration from him; he kept teaching despite his busy schedule as a surgeon.

— Dr Krithika Datta, professor and head, Department of Conservative Dentistry, Endodontics & Cardiology, Saveetha Dental College & Hospitals

I owe my entry into the teaching sector to my Class 12 Economics teacher who kindled an interest in me for the subject through her wonderful teaching. Though Economics is sometimes touted as a dry subject, she made it my favourite with her innovative and creative teaching skills. I went on to do my Masters in Economics because of her. She used to relate concepts to day-to-day life situations which made understanding the most difficult concepts very easy. A teacher’s job is not just teaching a subject, it also includes preparing and moulding them into fine human beings. And I can now make a small difference in the moulding of future India because of her.

— P Diva Krishna principal, Sherwood Hall Senior Secondary school

Ms Romila Roche, my class 10 Biology teacher, brought her love for the subject to the classroom every day. The diagram of the human heart that she taught us to draw easily is still imprinted in my mind, so much so that my twin daughters were astonished when I taught them the same when they were in their tenth grade. Amid humans, as they are — with all their imperfections and mistakes — a teacher is someone who brings their exuberance for life and learning, and is someone who says, ‘I am just who I am!’

— Priya Victoria author, educator, founder of Bloomsbridge

In 2000, I was feeling upset because of my performance at previous chess tournaments. So, when I got a wild card entry into the Asian Women’s Chess Tournament in Chennai, I thought of not attending it. I emailed my trainer V Hariharan expressing my fear. He replied quoting Swami Vivekananda, “Arise, awake and stop not until the goal is reached.” He consoled me by telling me that I have great potential and it was time for me to emerge victorious from the failures. I attended the tournament and even qualified for the world championship. Even now, when my students aren’t confident enough, I tell them this story. The correct advice at the correct time makes a big difference.

— Aarthie Ramaswamy,  grandmaster, FIDE trainer, Chess Gurukul

Two of my English teachers greatly influenced me as a student. Ms Janaka, at a government-aided school, drew me in greatly during my school years. Her teaching style, English accent, strictness, and motivation encouraged me to major in English Literature during my undergraduate studies. When I was in college, I was inspired to become a teacher by Professor Shantha, whose explanations of poems, reading and recitation style, and approaches for developing the emotional fortitude of adolescent females inspired me. Teachers must constantly learn new material to deal with pupils who have a variety of intelligence and learning styles. I will always be appreciative of them for choosing this noble profession.

— D Ganga Gowri,  principal, Ramakrishna Mission Matric Higher Secondary School

My father R Boopathy was a Physical Education trainer and brought the traits of a disciplinarian to our home. As a result, fitness was an important part of me from a very young age. His advice to exercise every day, consistently, even if it is for 20 minutes, made me who I am today. I was inspired by his efforts and wanted to choose sports over academics. Most school teachers shamed me and told me that I wouldn’t be able to get a job. But, he stood beside me and motivated me to pursue whatever I wanted. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2006 and didn’t get to see me become a scuba diving instructor and all my other achievements.

— SB Arvind Tharunsri, PADI master instructor, disabled diver instructor, Temple Adventures

My inspiration to get into the profession of teaching is Dr Fatima Vasanth, the former principal of Madras School of Social Work. I greatly admired her qualities. She was a great guru, mentor and friend. She showed great courage, and has been an extraordinary leader. She had the unique ability to put students at ease. Her crisis management skills were excellent and she turned setbacks into success. Her meticulous planning and eye for detail have had a profound impact on me. She has created a remarkable impact in the academic and administrative domain, which I see very rarely in academicians.

— KB Inian, assistant professor, Department of Social Work, Madras School of Social Work

I would say my class 10 Tamil teacher, Ms Gomathi, was my inspiration to take up the profession of teaching. The way she explained stories and poems was very interesting. It’s difficult to find a teacher like her. I remember that no one would miss a class and everyone wanted to score well. Even when I made mistakes, she would correct me kindly. I am a special educator and so, our studies with children with intellectual disabilities are a bit different but while I can’t read them the same stories and poems, I do share small songs and rhymes.

— A Sangeetha, special educator

A teacher does not just merely teach but will help find a path in our lives. One such teacher was professor Jeyachandran who taught the subject of Empathy in Special Education while I was doing my B.ed. This has always helped me  understand the learning abilities, moods, and attitudes of a child with special needs. As a teacher-trainer, my duty is not just to pass on the knowledge but to see that the trainee enjoys learning together with me. The subject of empathising has helped me to work in an unique way as a trainer for special education students, in school as well as during remedial teaching sessions. 

— Hemamalini V S,  special educator

As a teacher, I try to create an environment where students can come out of their shells and cast aside their shyness and inhibitions. I also make sure my students can comprehend a topic before moving on to the next one. These were qualities I saw in some of the teachers I admired, like my Hindi teacher at Kendriya Vidyalaya and my Economics teacher in high school. Both teachers had a way of teaching and dealing with students, which made learning a lot easier. My Economics teacher, in particular, was very calm, and I learnt from him that teachers are also students in a way, because there’s just so much they can learn from their students.

— Neelavathi Pillai, language teacher (Hindi), Lady Andal School

Compiled by Diya Maria George, Nikhil Jayakrishnan, and Sahana Iyer

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