Thursday, September 5, 2013

A teacher is nothing if not a lover....


All I can say on the Teacher's Day is that making me a teacher was one of two greatest gifts life ever gave me. It was a romance, a life-long love affair of the dizziest kind. it was never about imparting instruction,information, knowledge or stuff like that: that was always secondary to my understanding of my principle task. Awakening my students to the glorious and priceless wealth of love was the primary task, a key to everything else that was and is of any value in education. Igniting a passion for life, a zest for joy, a guiltless pursuit of happiness of the highest kind - this to me defined my job.

And I deem myself perhaps the most fortunate person on the planet for how many are rewarded for their honest work as handsomely, spontaneously and unhesitatingly as I have always been! For me, rewards came rich and thick and fast. Every moment of my life as a teacher was packed with these rewards: the smiles on the joyous faces of students when they looked at flowers and at one another in the college, the glow on their cheeks when they blushed for being too right, the shine in their eyes when they discovered that they were in love with just about everyone around them, even though a little more at one or two particular places or with person or persons or the other in their lives, and my own shy blushes every time I discovered that a student was in love with me too -- all this to me was always far, far more important than anything that I was supposed to "teach" them, or to receive as my remuneration for my "job". I received pay checks by the hundreds every morning as students would chance to pass by me in a corridor, through a colonnade, in a verandah, in playground, in front of class rooms - anywhere any morning , in fact any time of the day. My days and nights were packed with students and their love. I was with them during the day: they were with me during the night, in my loneliest hours even.
I was convinced I would be able to teach them nothing if I was not able to learn from them. And neither of the two was possible without my first falling in love with any student who came across to me with innocent queries or with just that look in his or her eyes which sang , "Won't you help me, sir?"

My sole regret - if any - would be that it wasn't humanly possible always to be equal to or worthy of the love that my students always gave me - even those few who thought they did not like me. But as Robert Browning says, "God above is great to grant, as Mighty to make/ And creates love to reward love." Sooner or later , at some point, somewhere, some day, nature brought all my students back into my heart's lap, where I had always kept, nursed, caressed and indulged them, each one of them - individually and together. How I loved and still love their little concerns, their little worries, fears, suspicions, unreal hatred, superficial dislikes and genuine and very genuine love ! So unashamed was I in my pursuit of love with my students that some girls in the Basic Sciences College had nicknamed me "Professor Love". ( Incidentally, Professor Love - Professor Paul L. Love - was an American teacher, a truly Christian missionary, at Baring Union Christian College, Batala, and he will always remain an icon to me for some of the things I followed in my life as a teacher)

I sincerely believe that its perhaps the highest honour for man to be chosen by life for a career in teaching. There is only one phase of my life which I might put above my years in love as a teacher: my years as a student in love with my teachers.)

I was one of the luckiest few who received and gave limitless love both as a teacher and as a student. In the final balance, I guess I perhaps received far more love than I can ever adequately acknowledge, far less return. In humble and sincerest apology to my students, all I can say is: " I do not love my son the less, but my students more."

And to my teachers: "I do not love my mother the less, but my teachers more." I was lucky that I had teachers who made me aware of all that beats in my bosom resembling what others would call "romance" - for want of a word still better than this. And I was even luckier that I found students who resonated to all that my teachers had put in my loving heart. 

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