OPINION By LYNN D’CRUZ
DO you think a person wakes up one morning and decides - Hey! Let me try and become a teacher. There are so many holidays, it’s a half day’s job with great perks and allowances, and I can go ahead and have six children and still have a job.
Are teachers motivated by the perks, or do they have a calling?
A calling to a vocation that they cannot for some strange reason extract themselves from?
Blind Italian pop tenor Andrea Bocelli said: “If you are given a gift – you have a duty to serve.”
I strongly believe that most teachers are compelled towards the vocation. When I say teachers - I mean those who cannot be forgotten no matter how hard you try, not because they have been blessed with a beautiful face or smile, or have a sense of humour that cause you to laugh until you cry, but they live in a certain way which commands attention.
They’re like the Statue of Liberty - created as a gift to cause a monumental impact. They have no choice, they were crafted to cause a sensation. They cannot run away from a calling any more than you can run away from ageing.
Born to teach
I am a teacher. I was born for the specific purpose of teaching. I will teach until my last breath. I surrendered all efforts to do anything else.
I tried to write songs and sing - my songs were a lyrical lesson. I tried to dance and ended up assisting my classmates with the dance steps.
I tried selling a health supplement and ended up teaching people about exercise and leading a healthy lifestyle.
When you see a pattern like that - it is best to surrender to the call of nature.
If I tried to do anything else - it would appear meretricious - like Oprah Winfrey trying to drop out of talk show and becoming a trapeze artist.
My relationships with my teachers throughout my school-life had always been unique - Miss Agnes whom I love dearly was my kindergarten teacher.
She lives near my house and we still talk from time to time. You tend to forget the lessons but you never forget the essence. She was a “ballad” — a ballad of kindness, and she taught me never to be afraid to be fair and kind.
Mr Daniel Jeyakumar and Mr John Ebenizer (now Dr Ebenizer) were both my English teachers in primary and secondary schools respectively.
I know where they are and keep in touch with them until today.
These men were life teachers. They even taught us how to sweep the floor, handle our finances, manage our time, and be great winners and graceful losers.
They had philosophies for every aspect of life and it was with their foresight and wisdom that we learnt many of life’s lessons ourselves.
I never forget my well-dressed teachers. I think it is important how you dress when you are a teacher — you are making a statement about yourself, and your students are watching you with hawk-eyed scrutiny. They then emulate you.
Mrs Chan, who taught me Economics in Form Six and Mrs Simone Reuthens, who taught me English Literature, were two phenomenal women who sat with stick-straight backs and carried themselves with such grace and elegance that you felt like a wilting willow in their presence.
Their lesson-style matched their fashion-sense.
Let me assure you that a teacher’s dressing does have a monumental impact on her students, or at least, my teacher’s dressing had a monumental impact on me.
At University, I was extremely blessed to have a host of diverse lecturers who changed my life forever.
The English Literature department in UM had the most magnanimous people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.
Never once did any one of them demean, disrespect, infuriate or depress me in any way.
They had class. They had style. They were a breed of lecturers who were designed specifically for the purpose of teaching.
They took their jobs seriously and their sole intention was to teach. I always tell my students - we have a choice.
A teacher is a reservoir - you either drink deep, dive in and experience, or sip for a little bit. Either way, the choice is yours.
Not all sunshine
You understand that not everyday is about sunshine, lollipops and roses, right?
In order to create diamonds, some force is needed and the lecturers I had could rattle the daylight out of you with just one sentence.
“There will come a time when you need to let go,” said Dr. Niloufer Harben as she took the assignment out of my reluctant hands.
She spoke right into my soul and I knew it wasn’t the assignment that she was referring to. She was a “real” teacher and knew exactly what to say and do.
You are not here just to teach a lesson; you are here to stir lives and to see more than what meets the eye. You are here to act on intuition.
You are here to build, nourish, inspire, encourage, motivate and create. Teachers create lives.
They often underestimate their own power. They fail to see that they have a choice to either let a kid walk around like a techno-zombie or to breathe life into them by giving them vision, hope, inspiration, reason and to validate their existence.
Teachers are invaluable and play a significant role in our lives. A sky without stars is one of intense darkness.
Life without teachers would mean eternal bleakness, for they certainly do illuminate our lives.
Source : The STAR Education, Opinion : Lessons and essence of a teacher