“Guru” is the Sanskrit term for teacher. All of us have great respect for teachers and have multiple experiences where teachers have displayed their selfless behaviour in abundance. I met a teacher cum principal about two decades back and she transformed the image of teachers in my mind. I was working at Indore in a private organisation and was transferred to Delhi. As all parents do, I went from one school to another seeking admission for my kids after I arrived in Delhi.
The Delhi school conducted an admission test for my kids and after a series of interviews admitted both my children. In this process, I was interviewed along with my wife as parents before the admission process was finalised. However, the real virtues of a teacher was experienced by me when my child turned truant. One day I was called by the principal stating that my child was regularly bunking classes and getting into the swimming pool or to the playground during school hours.
I reached the school along with my wife. I was told about the misconducts of my child. I immediately apologised to the principal on behalf of my child and told her to take appropriate action as deemed fit. I told her that I was fine even if my child was suspended for a few day, as he had defaulted multiple times even after being counselled by his teachers. The principal’s reply was my biggest lesson in life.
She told me that she need not seek my permission to suspend my child. That was the easiest decision for her and I was not summoned to take that decision. She told us, that as parents we had a duty to partner with the teacher to reform our child. She did not want to suspend but counsel the child in our presence and we ( teachers and parents) work together to help the child correct his behaviour.
There was another occasion when I was transferred from Delhi to Chennai. My daughter was in the final year of school. I was worried because when my father was transferred in my final year of school, years ago, my academic performance was impacted due to this transfer. I did not want the same thing to happen to my daughter. When I went to the school to enquire about this issue and seek the advise of the same principal, she immediately advised me to leave my daughter in her custody to complete her school education.
I had not known the principal and was stunned by this response. She calmly said that she had two kids and was staying within the school premises. It was easy for my daughter to stay with her and complete her final year of schooling. This advise was not only selfless but unbelievable from someone whom you did not even know well . The rest is history. My daughter indeed stayed with her and did well in her academics and today is a successful carreerist in a public sector undertaking.
Subsequently, I have met a few other teachers and each time I have been impressed by their nobleness. They always think in the best interests of the child. They are unbiased and highly patient. They want parents as partners to the progress of the child. They treat every child as if they were their own. They are always willing to give to each and every child equal space and love. They never expect anything in return.
As in the photo above, this principal( in the white saree) is not only a life long family friend today but also a role model for all teachers in society. I salute her.
My salutations to all teachers today on the occasion of Guru Purnima.
S Ramesh Shankar