Sandeep Dutt: Teachers Travel With You All Your Life

Learning is a lifelong process; it is imperative we have the best teacher accompany us on the journey of life. We may grow up and follow a 'guru' or a mentor, whoever we follow the teacher's leadership is supreme, the teacher travels with us for life. The empathy and care our teachers bestow on us will be etched in our memory for life. No matter where you go, you will always carry your teacher in you. The empathy and care our teacher bestow on us will be etched in our memory for life. No matter where you go, you will always carry your teacher with you.

What Makes Teachers Great?
There are characteristics that can predict whether a teacher will be a great teacher even before they get into the classroom. Studies show the teacher is one of the most crucial factors in your child's school success. A poor teacher can set your child back forever; a great teacher inspires them forever.

I discovered some great poetry in Pat Kozyra's book on Tips and Tidbits for Parents and Teachers:
I am a counsellor and psychologist to a problem-filled child,
I am a police officer that controls a child gone wild.
I am a travel agent scheduling our trips for the year,
I am a confidante that wipes a crying child's tear.
I am a banker collecting money for a ton of different things,
I am a librarian showing adventures that a storybook brings.
I am a custodian that has to clean certain little messes,
I am a psychic that learns to know all that everybody only guesses.
I am a photographer keeping pictures of a child's yearly growth,
When mother and father are gone for the day, I become both.
I am a doctor that detects when a child is feeling sick,
I am a politician that must know those laws and recognise a trick.
I am a party planner for holidays to celebrate with all,
I am a decorator of a room, filling every wall.
I am a news reporter updating on our nation's current events,
I am a detective solving small mysteries and ending all suspense.
I am a clown and comedian that makes the children laugh,
I am a direction ensuring they have lunch or from mine, I give them half.
When we seem to stray from values, I become a preacher,
I'm proud to say, "I am a teacher."

Children require guidance and sympathy and not mere instructions. The degree and certificates a teacher carries will not be of any use if there is no empathy and concern for the child in the teacher. You do not need a classroom to teach, what you need is a heart with all the room. Look back and recollect the best teacher who touched your heart, who made you feel very special and who had full faith in your ability. A teacher is with you all your life, even today I remember my first teacher in Kindergarten, my special teacher in Class I and others who have helped me find myself. Their love and care irrespective of domain knowledge will always carry me for life.

As we grow up, we strike a chord with a 'guru' or a mentor and sometimes the person is even a colleague. Learning is from the heart, the mind is a mere knowledge bank. For effective learning the teacher must become an integral part of your life, you will have the teacher in your heart, it is the true disciple who becomes most successful and inherits the mantle of the successful leader.
Mark F. Goldberg states "Greatness in teaching is just as rare as greatness in medicine, dance, law, or any other profession. Although the qualities that make great teachers are not easy to inculcate or duplicate, understanding these qualities can give all teachers a standard of excellence to strive for, and guide schools in their efforts to recruit and retain the best teachers."

You may not always find the real teacher in the classroom, as the walls often box the learning process. The teacher has the burden of the curriculum, the challenge of living up to expectations, the need to work for a livelihood and finally KRAs to meet! A teacher who will be part of your life's journey, who you will love, adore and even try to emulate. For me, the classroom is a mere brick and mortar description of a location and not a place of real-life learning. When you start limiting the learning to hours, books and time, you will have a challenge at hand.

In our journey, we will have the opportunity to travel with many co-travellers. Dr Mary Kay Whitaker says "Think back to a great teacher you’ve had in your life. Maybe there was an exceptional teacher who encouraged you and helped you explore future career opportunities that would incorporate your talents. Maybe you had a coach who not only taught you how to do a perfect lay-up but also reminded you of the importance of getting good grades in addition to high scores. How about your friends or parents and all the lessons they may have taught you: to push yourself to succeed, to do the things you love, to believe that you can be or do anything that you set your mind to."

The teachers who have been a part of my life taught me how to appreciate others, care for nature and play the game to find the joy within. When climbing mountains, doing a cross country, cooking at home, standing up and speaking... all they said was follow your heart, be true to yourself and you will find the leader within. Being a person with no particular religious beliefs, I am sure when you hold someone in high esteem you will carry that person in your heart, this is your teacher. Some may say you are a follower but remember you are simply travelling with your teacher and doing it at your own comfort and pace too.

Teachers have faith in you, this is why you never get lost! In my school days, as a group of boys we went trekking, in those days there were no mobile phones and we lost our way. After a days delay when parents and the community would have gone wild, my real teacher was very comfortable and simply assured all that "they will find their way".  The great teacher had an intuition and tremendous faith in the ability of his pupils, when we finally trooped in a day late, he was ready to welcome us with a plum cake and very eager to hear our experience and exploits, he smiled warmly and with a heart full of compassion and care stood by the boys for their efforts. Note there was no panic, no chastising, no questioning, just celebrating the spirit of exploration and faith in the 'shishya' (student).
Stories and fond memories are treasures we all share, this is where the teacher must be the most prolific artist. Your favourite teacher will be able to correlate 'reel life with real life' and make every moment a moment of learning. It is very important for us to understand that learning has to precede teaching. While teaching may be a process,  the outcome has to be learning and that too learning for life. Find the teacher you cherish and travel with the individual for life. Let your teacher reside in your heart, you will be able to overcome any major challenge or obstacle in the journey of life.

"You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul. "
- Swami Vivekananda

Care in abundance, desire to find out more, cherishing the students, knowing them very well and being a knowledgeable person will all help you be the person who will be able to deliver lifelong learning. This is the teacher you will travel with all your life.

- Sandeep Dutt
Email Sandeep@ebdmail.com
The post was published in The Doon School Weekly, October 13, 2018
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