A traditional practice S arvepalli Radhakrishnan’s birthday on 5 September is considered as the Teacher’s Day in India.

He was associated with Calcutta University for a long time where he taught philosophy. He also wrote volumes that enriched human knowledge such as the Essentials of Psychology (Oxford 1918) and The Philosophy of Rabindranath Tagore (London, 1920). Radhakrishnan was appointed to the Spalding Chair of Oxford, received Hilbert Lectureship, the fellowship of the British Academy, fellowship of All Souls’ College of Oxford and the British Knighthood (1931). He became the second president of independent India and was honoured with the BharatRatna on 1954. Teacher’s Day celebration in India is a very old practice.

A teacher is the one who instructs and imparts knowledge. During the ancient times teachers were known as Guru. Besides teaching, they also performed the roles of priest, medical guide or the minister of king’s.

Guru Purnima, which takes place on the fourth full moon’s day every year, is celebrated to pay respect to the gurus. There was a time when the students had to stay at gurukuls until their education was complete. Education involved religious texts and fitness besides the general subjects of Arithmetic, History, Geography and English to name a few.

Two fascinating stories about Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar are rich with moral messages. Once when he was a young boy travelling to Kolkata with his father Thakurdas, he noticed stone slabs at the roadside which were also numbered. He was curious and asked his father who explained to him that they are called milestones that denote the distance left to reach a particular destination. Following them Bandhapadhyay became efficient in learning English numbers.

Once, a European was looking for a coolie at the station while Vidyasagar approached him and the man mistook him for a coolie. Vidyasagar didn’t seem to mind at all and carried the man’s luggage.

When the European knew, he was obviously embarrassed and apologised. What he replied was worth remembering for life. He said that one must practice self-service and, if necessary, must offer help to others without hesitation.

(Annesha Chatterjee, Coordinator, Class XI, Kalyani University Experimental High School, Kalyani, Nadia)

Lessons for life

“What a day!” thought Gurmi while walking home, “That Mr. Patel really loved giving him trouble.” Mr. Patel was Gurmi’s math teacher at school. He was an elderly man but did not look his age. He had a tall and sturdy figure.

According to Gurmi and his friends, he was the worst teacher one could ever have.They nicknamed him ‘old fox’ and cracked jokes about him. Mr. Patel would always scold them. Sometimes for not doing the gigantic numbers of homework he would ask them to do while at other times, for not being able to answer his questions.

To top everything, he was Gurmi’s class teacher and this meant only one thing? more trouble! Gurmi always felt that Mr. Patel holds a special grudge against him. He scolded him without any reason at all. Okay? maybe there was a teensy-weensy reason, but not big enough to get such scolding that send chills down his backbone. For three days in a row, Gurmi was running late for school. As a response, the third degrees he received grew more and more dangerous by the day. Mr. Patel even threatened to call up his parents. Gurmi could take no more. He now hated Patel, even more than Harry Potter hated Severus Snape.

Then one day something happened. Gurmi was cheating in one of his tests and was caught by none other than Mr. Patel. But surprisingly, he did not say a word then. He just asked Gurmi to meet him later. Gurmi went to Mr. Patel’s room expecting the worst. But nothing as he thought happened. He wasn’t scolded or coldly stared at.

Mr. Patel just told Gurmi that he was really disappointed with him. Gurmi would not have felt sorry in other situations, but he did now. The mere look of sadness which shone clear in Mr. Patel’s eyes, made him feel ashamed of himself. To his own astonishment, he found himself promising never again to cheat or come late to school. And he kept his promise. Somehow he started coming to school on time and always finished his homework.

Consequently, his grades rose higher than ever. Gurmi never knew how he was able to do all this. Maybe, it was because he did not want to be the reason for anyone’s disappointment. But he knew in his heart, that it was because of what Mr. Patel had told him that day, he has learnt to become a good person. He realised that not only that day but throughout his school life, all the scolding and harsh words were for his own benefit.

Mr. Patel was his teacher without whose guidance he wouldn’t have realised the worth of living as a better human being.

(Renesa Mukhopadhyay, Coordinator, Class VIII, Patha Bhavan, Kolkata)

Tribute to those who inspire

“Teaching is not a lost art But the regard for it is a lost tradition” -Jacques Barzun Teaching is the noblest profession anyone can associate themselves with as it is all about enlightening humankind with education and also a skill the importance of which goes way beyond just a profession.

Children are as flexible as the clay and it depends on the teachers to mould them into the right shape. Childhood is thus considered the best time to seek education. Learning is not an easy job. Children find it hard to concentrate on studies.

Learning can also be fun but the children fail to notice this. This is where the role of a true educator lies as he/she is supposed to grow the students’ interests in studies. Students have the tendency to ignore no matter how much immensely knowledgeable a person may be lest they see a friend in that person. Hence care and companionship are the most important ways in which a teacher can express him/herself. But today the perspective of teaching has changed.

According to many, acquiring knowledge or the will to enlighten oneself is just a preconception. Commercialisation has even cropped into the education system and many seem to be keen on gaining more and more marks rather than considering the knowledge that he is gaining. True teaching is becoming a lost tradition nowadays. We are familiar with our elders saying that traditional schooling provided every kid with a holistic education, imparting life skills and knowledge beyond a fixed syllabus.

They focused on the needs of an individual student and treated everyone equally irrespective of their merit. The students and teachers shared a really precious bond. Everyone was recognised for their individual talents and given equal chances to outshine in their lives.

Education was everyone’s fundamental right irrespective of their family backgrounds or financial conditions.

“The day you find your best teacher Is the day you make your last mistake” – APJ Abdul Kalam Though today we have come a long way in education, organising boards and hiring professionals, deep down our heart we still long for the traditional methods. However, the best tutor that one can ever come across is a mother. She is the best teacher who prepares her children to cope with the tough world. They guide their children most selflessly and stand by our side even if we fail to acknowledge them. She teaches us that life is all about falling seven times but getting up and advancing the eighth time.

This article pays tribute to each and every caring teacher who never got tired of enlightening their students with passion to make a brighter future.To the ones who did not hesitate to answer all our queries and the ones who believed in appreciating their students’ knowledge rather than their marks. In this occasion of the teachers’ day, they deserve a hearty salute from all of us who have been lucky enough to get the opportunity to be taught.

(Anuska Pal, Coordinator, Class X, Gokhale Memorial Girl’s School)

Guiding us in life

“Friend, philosopher and guide” – that is the only word applicable for describing a teacher in the truest sense. He is not only a person guiding one in his academics but someone who motivates, stands by him in every situations of his life and showers moral values on one. Nonetheless, he is a segment of God~ as one might say.

The eternal bond of affection and respect between a teacher and the student takes no need to talk on. In so far days of Indian history and mythology one could find the relation between teachers and students well-embellished. As far as Sanskrit scriptures say, a teacher is the amalgamation of Bramha and Bishnu itself, which allegorically means the creator and the one who takes care of. Mythology brings to us many instances of gurus (teacher) worth remembering like ~ Dronacharyya was the guru of Arjun, Parashurama was the teacher of Karna.

In ancient India the education system was endowed with blessings of teachers. The relation between a Guru-Shishya was similar to the meaning of “veneration”.

History also talks about Alexander the Great, in those bygone days, who was supported by Aristotle, a philosopher a philosopher of that era, as his teacher. At present, in the field of sport, the importance of one’s Coach is undeniable, as like Ramakanta Acherekarwas the coach of Sachin Tendulkar, Pullella Gopichand was the base of all the success of PV Sindhu, Mahavir Singh Phogut, who sacrificed the father in him and became the ‘Guru’ of Geeta Phogut and played a vital role in their life.

However, it is needless to say, as “Charity begins at home”, so one’s first teacher in life are his or her parents. Besides human beings, many natural phenomena also teach us life lessons. The moon teaches us to be to be calm and sweet, the soil teaches us tolerance, the sky shows how to be open handed and rivers teach us to follow one path, and from that point of view the nature is also our teacher.

So, this teacher’s day let’s pay tribute to our mentors with immense respect, admiration and honour.

(Manjush Halder, Coordinator, Class VIII, Bongaon High School)