The Teacher.

kinds of teachersLatin Maxim states grammar speaks, dialects teach us truth; rhetoric gives colouring to our speech; music signs; arithmetic numbers; astronomy teaches us to know the stars — The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth—Dan Rather.

Over the years I have official teachers, and people from whom I have learnt. I can remember quite a few of them, the best ones and the worst ones. Those who I realize in retrospect have had good or bad influence on me.

At school I was the rebel, I refused to conform to the norms, I was curious and was quite unabashed about it, and I read a lot.  Along my reading I learnt that things had to be classified, so here is my classification of my teachers. The Draconian teacher a teacher who is rigorous, unusually severe or cruel, with draconian forms of punishment, they still live in my nightmare.  These teachers were equipped with shrill voices, wooden scales, and harsh words; they also had the capacity of carrying tales to the parents all in the name of doing well. In today’s world we would call they control freaks, our time we got away with under the breath epitaph of Hitler.
What we did learn from them is how to break rules, and circumvent hurdles without being caught.

Then is the hypocrite teacher this is the teacher who say things and not honour them. They would have one set of rules for the Lodges and another for the Cabot’s, the plebeians didn’t exist in their reckoning.

Then is the person I would call the Guru Edward Bulwer-Lytton identifies them as — the person who suggests rather than dogmatize, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself, the purpose of this teacher is not create students in his own image but to develop students who can create their own image.

There are teachers and teachers, the mediocre teacher who tells, the good teacher who explains, the superior who demonstrates, and finally the great who inspires.

Here in Megma  W.Bengal in the Indo-Nepal border  at an altitude of 9,900 ft. Is a picturesque Himalayan hamlet with a teacher of its own.

Sri Chandrakanth Pradhan who like a shepherd gathering his flock has the kids skipping and into the school where he teaches. These are children of a forgotten populace ignored by the media; they have no horror stories like their counterpart from the Tibetan borders.

If the picture we have of an Himalayan school is that of the British hallways, and brick buildings teachers in sweaters, and students in Mini, as presented by Karan Johar based on Doon Schools then forget it. You are in for a cultural shock.

What we have here is a humble 3-room school run by a retired teacher who is not paid. Shaky benches faded cracked blackboards and infrastructure that threatens to crumble. Yet the teacher is diligently present to share his literacy with the smiling young ones. Chandrakanth Pradhan in an essay that he wrote in standard 4 stated that he wanted to be a teacher lighting lives of children with literacy and here is what he is doing.

On one hand we talk of schools where the monthly fees are in thousands and here Mr.Pradhan’s request from Do Right was so modest

Rs.3500/ for a blackboard

Rs.9000/- for stationary kits,

His concerns are not his salary but the lack of nutrition for the kids; he talks about non availability of food and basic survival making it difficult for the child to attend school.

Working on this piece I realize that teachers have little control over school policy or curriculum of choice of text or special placement of students, the only autonomy they have is inside the classroom. This is something shared only by few other occupations like the police work, public education rests precariously on the skill and virtue of the people at the bottom of the institutional pyramid.


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