Many different teachers come in our lives and initiate us in this world through their passion and with the help of their own experience and knowledge. And while each of them do justice to this calling in their own special way and while every single one of them is special, there is always one or the other who is a particular favourite with children. Of course, this has more to do with the children than the teacher herself/himself; because one seeks and relates to only what one can appreciate. And so, if you want to know if there’s a certain teacher your little one thinks is special, and why, the best way to do that, is to ask the little one directly!
For me, this was much easier till a few years back, when, like they show in advertisements, I could sit with my little one, a plate of cookies between us on the table, and pretended to ask him casually, who his favourite teacher was. Because, that time, you see, he was so young and so naïve, he would be happy to chat. But as he grows in age, it gets more and more difficult to sit and have a coherent conversation with him. Because, although the cookies are still great, his attention is more on the book in hand at the moment, or some DIY project that is going on in full swing in his head, or something that his friend said on the playground about the latest game/rage, or one thing or another. Ergo, the plate of cookies, still present between us on the table, doesn’t really help much.
And yet, don’t ask me how, I have still been able to find out, who his favourite teacher is and what he loves most about her! I told you, don’t ask me how.
Well, over the years, the names of his favourite teachers have changed many times. But the thing I have found interesting, is the reason he gives me for liking a certain teacher. Any guesses?
Let me tell you.
He loves those teachers, who let him do what he likes to do, the way he likes to do it. Who do not insist that he does something only the way the teacher says. Who are happy to let him (and other children in his class) work out the best way to do something. And, wait for it, are actually happy and appreciative of the children’s efforts!
There! (If anyone is planning on becoming a teacher, this is the Holy Grail!)
Some years it is the history teacher, other times it is the English teacher, sometimes it is a Hindi teacher, and sometimes, the Maths and Science teacher. The favourite teacher changes every year. But the criteria that makes them his favourite, doesn’t change any year. And I couldn’t be prouder! Because believe me, to expect someone to be atypical and individualistic all the time, is definitely a tall order.
For every parent, their child is special; and they have eyes only for their own child. But teachers? They have to look after more than 20-30 children per class. And what they see in each of them, affects the child’s self-esteem to a very large extent. And then if some teacher encourages individuality; and lauds the child’s innovative ideas, instead of forcing the child to blindly adhere to prevalent practices, I think that teacher definitely deserves a special mention and adoration from the child.
This year, it is my little one’s English and Social Studies teacher who commands his unwavering adulation because she applauds his attempts as innovative when they do not conform, instead of putting him down for doing something different than expected.
His Literary Club teacher, also gets a special mention this year, for how cleverly she has the children do something that she wants them to do, by making them feel it is their wish to do it, rather than hers. (His words.)
And of course, his Library teacher, is his all-time favourite, because she never judges or stops him from borrowing books that are meant for much older children; as she understands that he is an advanced reader, and is actually happy to let him try something more challenging when he refuses to borrow what kids his age are borrowing from the school library.
His Hindi teacher gets a mention too, as she gives the children an impression that she knows they are up to some mischief and yet, she is letting them go, this time!
And the Maths and Science teacher, has earned his respect for being playful as well as strict when needed, thereby ensuring that while children are scared of her, they love her all the same!
Then over the years, there have been several teachers who he has loved and adored. When younger, it was just because a teacher would hug them all for no reason (reminding the children of their mums, perhaps). Another year, it was when some teacher appreciated his drawings and sketches, when others thought he was just doodling in a free period, and so on. But there is one underlying fact that hasn’t changed, no matter how many different teachers have taken their place on the pedestal.
And that is, that they have all, never tried, to fit my little square peg in the proverbial round hole.
And as a mother, I am eternally indebted to them for that!
So this teacher’s day, I applaud all those teachers, who appreciate individuality and encourage originality. Who are selflessly helping create an entire generation of free thinkers who believe they can achieve anything in life, anything!
Thank you, teachers, and more power to you!
Happy Teacher’s Day!