I was thrilled to hear so many different perspectives from my readers - who are also very good friends of mine - on my article series on help and my article on schools, teachers & parents . Guess, only friends can drill you like this :-)
I have tried answering their questions here. Am sorry if this article looks / reads more like the official reply mails you guys are used to than a blog post!!
The questions are:
- Did you not have a bad teacher at all? Did you not go to a bad school at all?
- You have mentioned many teachers in your articles. Have you ever met them in the recent past to convey your regards to them, do they even know that you think of them so much?
- Did your teachers give you same kind of support ? in other words, were supportive all the time as if they were spoon feeding you?
- Why do you care so much thinking about them? Till about end of your teens, you may listen to your teachers, your teachers may play a role in your lives. Are you stuck in your teens, by any chance?!? (Wow!!)
- You have taken so much help and support from your teachers, school and parents. Taking help is not new. Why is it hard for you to accept help?
Here are my responses:
- I sure had bad teachers; not so cruel as described by Pe. Karunakaran in his article. But these teachers did not know how to connect with students, did not consider imparting knowledge as their responsibility. There was a maths teacher who never touched a chalk in the class! There was another maths teacher who wrote down from her notes even if there were glaring mistakes like 1=0!! But those were exceptions. They were not my role models. In such scenarios, I resorted to other teachers who will teach me properly. I went to a school that was not as supportive as my favorite school. They even tried forcing me how do I pray, whom do I pray to. I was stubborn on how and whom do I pray and won at the end!! I think that school gave me the strong will to fight anyone for my cause!! Sure, I agree if I had to go to this school before my favorite school I may not have had the confidence to fight them!
- I have mentioned about a few of my teachers in my articles; all of them know that their names are mentioned in my articles (of course if they are alive). They have reviewed and approved the content to be shared that way (a couple of them are my readers too!). In fact everybody - teachers or others - referred to in my articles know the reference and are ok with the content. Only exceptions are Pe. Karunakaran, Director Mahendran, and Artist Manohar Devadoss. In these cases the reference is to their articles that came in magazines!! Every single role model teacher who taught me knows how much I respect them; I have not written about all my favorite teachers yet. But they know! I visit them or call them even now! With most of them, I have the proximity to visit them any time of the day!!! With some of them even unannounced :-)!!!!
- Not all my teachers were similar in the way they gave me guidance. Same teacher did not give the same kind of support all through. None of my role models tried spoon feeding me, even if I tried to get spoon fed!! They all know when to support, when to push you to your own solutions. Some times they pushed me and some times they pulled back. I think, it comes with their instincts!!
- Wow! I was taken aback with this question! I do not believe that one needs a teacher only till end of teens! I do have my teachers even today! not because I am trying to pursue higher studies; even otherwise I have my teachers. They may or may not work in a school or college as "teachers"; but they teach me valuable lessons in life!! I believe they play a significant role in all our lives. Like our school teachers, they also instinctively know when to support and when to push. In the recent past, I got a critical lesson from one of my teachers that influenced my life a great deal. I am only thinking of the poem by Christopher Logue when I think of him… the poem goes like this…
'Come to the edge.
We might fall!
Come to the edge.
It's too high!
COME TO THE EDGE!
And they came,
and we pushed,
And they flew. '
I did not want to go to the edge! I was stuck gazing at the sky, wanting to fly but without any move! On his support, I moved inch by inch towards the edge and finally flew! Of course, it was scary to move, the path was rough, sticky and smelly… many times I felt I should run back off the edge… but then, the final flight is worth the effort and pressure! Without that careful push, I would not have even fluttered forget about soaring high! I wish you would change your attitude towards the support you can get from your teachers!! I truly believe, I am what I am because of all of them! Each one of them!
- This is an interesting aspect I was not thinking about! Hmm… If I got support from all my teachers and schools all through my life (from first standard till today), if I accept that the village I grew up helped me learn what I learnt and openly acknowledge all these, why am I finding it hard to accept help! May be all the help I got from my teachers were available to all the students, nothing specific for me and that is why I did not feel uncomfortable or may be because, I did not ask for it but it was given! I will introspect and post it a later point in time!! I will be glad if someone can help me find a convincing reason for this!!