In my list of wonderful teachers, here I present 2 more.
My class teacher and the teacher who taught Sanskrit in class 5.
Class fives were seated in a tiny room at the far end of the Kendriya Vidyala school compound in SS Colony. It was a small compound housing classes 1 to 5 only. Being placed at the far end with our class room door facing a wall, and the fact that, to enter the classroom one had to circumvent the entire building, gave a sense of exclusion and importance for the fifth graders.
My class had about 15 boys and 8 or 9 girls. My class teacher then was a beautiful lady by name Miss. Shanta (I think so🤔🤔) looking like the yester- year heroines. We girls used to wait eagerly to see what colour saree she would come in everyday.
She wore her saree so beautifully, so much like actress Saroja Devi or KR Vijaya ( famous actresses of Tamil filmdom)when they play the role of a wealthy, high class, sophiticated lady. She came in multicoloured sarees and matching blouses-sarees neatly pleated and pinned- all proper. She carried a small handbag of leather. She bore a picture of perfection.
Her oval face, though slightly dark complexioned was decorated with a slightly big ‘red sticker bindi’ in between her thick eyebrows. Her kohled eyes was complemented with her turmeric glowing cheeks. A square chin set in a smile ever. Her hair was another feature that enhanced her poise. We always almost saw her in a bun as big as her head and a flower tucked by her left ear. We have never seen her hair let loose or plaited.
The we I am referring to were, Vijaya,Kalyani and myself included. Later we got to know that boys too liked her style. This inside information we got from two of our friends Mohan and Gowrishankar.
She taught maths to the class besides being the form tutor. She always borrowed a wooden ruler from the front benchers and would execute punishments by beating on the left hand palm to those who would not complete their homework. But at the same time we noticed that she did not punish anyone unduly.
However, we were never in that category and so did not experience that harsh side of her. It was quite common those days to administer corporal punishments (4 decades ago) and we did not think too much about it and that did not deter us from admiring her personality.
To boot to that,she was the best maths tutor in the school. Despite the fact that she was very stern while executing those beatings to the defaulters, she explained the mathematical concepts very clearly and we did not have any problem in solving them.
Of course I should mention that in our group we had the brainiest Vijaya, who would explain and help us solve the homework everyday. So we were her darlings too.
For a child, right from the appearance of a teacher to the warmth they exude, equally important is the quality of teaching. As we age and as our priorities change, the toppers might ignore the first two aspects as their focus is only performance. But a teacher’s personality and warmth goes a long way in every child’s life.
Next most charming teacher in the same school was my sanskrit teacher,a gentleman in the truest sense. Unfortunately I do not remember his name. By now you must have realised that I am not good at remembering names. I am may be afflicted by border line ‘dysnomia’.🤔
This teacher too was dressed neatly; had a long brown face with a set of white teeth that shone when he smiled. His shirt, always tucked in neatly pressed trousers with polished shoes completed the picture.He did not appear like other male teachers who had pot bellies, unkempt hair and wore chappals. There you go, a perfect looking teacher who made the daunting Sanskrit for tamil speaking children so charming.
He played a lot of language games and made the lesson interesting. The best aspect was NO HOMEWORK! All exercises were solved in class and obviously we were thrilled with him. One other aspect that drew all the children to him was, he did magic show in class for us. Small tricks that kept us in awe.
Contrary to the form tutor, he did not beat anyone, at all. Each one of us were eager to learn from him. We behaved our best. Unknowingly he was our hero. He did not resemble any film hero, he was just himself; having his own identity.
I remember one time we all put in a petition to our headmaster to appoint our sanskrit teacher as our form tutor. When he asked why we did not want Ms.Shanta(?), we had no reason to reject her and we remained quiet. Even if he wished to accede to our wishes, he could not have done so as the sanskrit teacher was a part time employee. There! all our hopes crashed, but we were happy that he stayed till the end of the academic year.
Looking back and recollecting those times now, I realise how small and insignifucant things have great significance in a student’s life and school life memories. A perfectly groomed teacher immediately attracts the children and even more so if the teacher is able to connect on a inner level with the students.
All in all teachers should have a special ‘mana’ that could relate to some hidden aspect in every child.