Wednesday, September 05, 2007

What teachers teach...

It seems that the one person who never really grows old is a teacher. In the company of his students, a real teacher never loses the pace of time, he always remains youthful in his thoughts and attitude towards life.

This species of human profession is most easily the one to be long remembered with deep gratitude and fondness. Everyone has a corner of reverence reserved in his heart for some special teacher. Here are a few golden words from my most beloved teachers…

“No matter what, love your students”, said Fr. John Joseph Morondo, the most lovable septuagenarian teacher of our high school.
“Some (students) might be naughty and some might be outright irritating, but no matter what, you should learn to love them all” answered Fr. Morondo when asked what he thought a good teacher should be like.
His way of teaching was passé any description- he drew and explained biology diagrams with the most obscure similies. Our favourite was when he likened a typical nucleated animal cell after drawing a largish cuboid with a circle inside- to a ‘washing machine’. His classes were pure, simple biology taught in the most direct and lighthearted manner…

Read, Read and Read More said Ishwarbhai Patel. He taught mathematics, but as is the wont of all good teachers, this septuagenarian taught his students much more than numbers.
He implored us to develop a solid reading habit and urged us to read: anything and everything from newspapers, magazines, literature to general knowledge. ‘The more you read, the more you grow’ was his motto.

Learn to say ‘I Don’t Know’ said Joseph Pinto, our editing professor. He was a taskmaster and scoring anything above six in his tests seemed a feat. He took the ‘I Don’t Know’ rule very seriously and promised us to give half a mark on each IDK in the answer sheet rather than we beat round the bush and ‘make silly stories’.
‘You either know, or you don’t know. There are no two ways about it.’, thundered Prof Pinto and how we still fondly remember that growl…

Have a cold shower”, said Rajendrasinh Jadeja, Camp Coordinator at the wildlife camps we went with him. ‘Cold showers shake of your sleep instantly’, he said. Hot water baths were a strict ‘no-no’ on his list and he supplemented his dislike for a hot splurging luxury by adding ‘It only makes you sluggish.’
Discipline was a way of life for this nature-lover and he saw to it that for the little while that we were at the camp, we stopped being the spoilt brats we were and adhered to a well-chalked out daily schedule.

“Respect food” urges my seventy-nine year old grandmother as often as she can. Aaji, herself a teacher by profession, taught unaccountable number of things- the foremost being respecting food. She insists that any kind of wastage of food is simply unacceptable- given the thousands of those who starve each day in spite of toiling hard in our country.

By Gauri Gharpure