|By Ryan J Lobo SJ [ Published Date: September 5, 2012 ]|
September 5th, the Birthday of our second president of India, is proudly remembered as ‘Teachers Day’. It’s a day to gratefully remember our teachers for making us who we are. What is ‘India today’ and what will be ‘India Tomorrow’ greatly depends on these great souls called Teachers. I won’t be wrong if I call them the Architects of tomorrow.
As we gratefully commemorate the service of all dedicated teachers on this special occasion, I would like to remember a few great souls who formed and shaped this humanity and lit a bright light in the hearts of many.
Mahatma Gandhi: Truth, non-violence and love is the other name for Mahatma Gandhi. He taught the lessons of honesty and lived this value throughout his life. The architects of Indian freedom, is one of the greatest, role models of humanity. He was a person deeply touched by the reality around and taught the humanity the way to respond proactively to the problems around. The most touching part of his life is his' Self Reflection '. Whenever he had to sit on fast and Satyagraha, he spent days prior to them in intense prayer to purify his intentions. No doubt, he was able to see that, which was invisible to the ordinary eyes- The Precious Pearl of Freedom. His dream of ‘…Wiping away every tear from every eye’ still drives thousands in this country.
Nelson Mandela: 'A man with an iron will and determination can change any society', says the life of Nelson Mandela, the great Black Leader and humanitarian in South Africa. Fighting for the rights of the discriminated blacks, he almost spent his most youthful and energetic years behind the bars. Spending almost 29 years in the prison, his spirit did not grow old or diluted. Rather he kept motivating and energizing people to be determined to wipe away the racial discrimination, in the prison. Hats off to Sir Mandela, a inspirational leader and teacher, humanity ever had.
Mother Teresa: ' Symbol of care, concern and action', is Mother Teresa. She is one of the greatest souls lived in India after Gandhi. Being a teacher herself, in St Mary’s High School in Kolkata, Mother touched the lives of thousands of students, who passed through her hands. What is special and unique about this teacher is that, she listened to her inner voice, being deeply in touch with the reality around her. A lady of courage and inner strength, she plunged into the action amidst the oppositions of her own congregation. Slums and gutters of Kolkata will be eternally grateful for her works of charity and humanness. She lived out in her life, what she taught within the four walls of the class room. She is an exemplary teacher to break the barriers and live out one’s dreams to foster humanity amidst the roaring struggles around.
A.P.J. Abdul Kalam: “If you want to leave your foot prints on the sands of time, don’t drag your feet”, says an untiring visionary Dr Kalam. There are people who look at things that are there and ask ‘WHY’; But this man looked at things that were never there and asked, ‘WHY NOT’. As the president, he travelled through the length and breadth of the nation, motivating thousands of young minds to dream big and to work on their dreams to actualize them. A man with tremendous intellectual caliber, was also people’s president. His vision for the nation is the priceless gift. This captivating teacher, who taught people to dream, is my inspiration too.
A child that enters the school is nothing but a piece of flesh. Thus a teacher has the responsibility of shaping this child as a civilized citizen. The initial years of the schooling, matter the most as they form the character of a student. A teacher shapes a child as a potter shapes the clay.
With the changing times, the challenges before the teacher of today, are ever new and plenty. Moving into the high schools and colleges, we realize, that a large number of students, who put on a happy face in the class rooms are with broken backgrounds. With my own experience as a teacher, with youth, I realize that each student has a story to tell you. Thus a teacher come into the class room only with the information, will be little effective, for information is available at finger tips today. Situation demands today, that a teacher need to be a parent, who can understand, and at other times a good friend who can listen to them.
Quite often, we have students of tremendous capacities in our classrooms, but many a time unaware of their own potentials. Thus a teacher needs to be a person who can see through the students and guide them to grow in their potentials. A teacher never can/should underestimate his/ her students for there may be a Gandhi, an Ambedkar or an Einstein, still in the bud, sitting in the classroom waiting to be shaped and formed. Thus I repeat, a teacher needs to be a person having insights into human character, to lighten the lives of students.
Above all as we saw in the case of those four great teachers, every teacher needs to be a person of inner silence, deeply in touch with his/herself and also in touch with surroundings. And if the situation demands, a teacher needs to act at times radically listening to the inner voice. Let’s not forget that a student learns more from the life of a teacher than his/her words. Hence a person who takes teaching as a profession may succeed in some cases, but definitely it’s the one who has a passion to teach will become an effective teacher and only that person can change the course of the human history.
Finally putting things together, I would say, we need today more and more integrated teachers, to form the future of this nation. Amidst the chaos and conflicts in the country, where hope of the future looks dim, only a good teacher can brighten it with his/her unique contribution, in forming the young minds. No doubt, future of a nation lies in the hands of teachers. I wish today, that we have more and more inspiring teachers who dedicate their lives for the students; thus we may create a nation where everyone feels secure and belonged.
Hats off to all such visionaries of tomorrow, on this special occasion.