5 things to learn from teach­ers

We need to bring about a Re­nais­sance in ed­u­ca­tion, we need to give teach­ers their due and we need to learn from them

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - Guide - - WORKSMART -

SGauri Ch­habra

he looked like a fairy… she touched my hand, sud­denly my tears dried, I clutched on to her for com­fort, find­ing it in the mag­na­nim­ity of her heart. She wore a plain white sari and looked ev­ery bit the fairy god mother, she was Ma'am...I cried out and sud­denly the shrill sound of the alarm clock tore me back to re­al­ity. The teacher, whom I had been dream­ing of, van­ished in thin air leav­ing me think­ing who was she? Was she my child­hood ap­pari­tion? What sub­ject did she teach? Strangely, all I could re­mem­ber was that she was my teacher, sub­ject was sec­ondary. Such are teach­ers-the epit­ome of love and care. On this Teach­ers' Day, let us list five things that we should learn from our teach­ers-no mat­ter what lon­gi­tu­di­nal track of class­room we are in.

They will help us build a cor­ri­dor be­tween the class­room and the board­room.


All those who cry hoarse about the chasm be­tween class­room and the board­room say that students need to be cre­ative. In case you are an MCA or an MBA, what sep­a­rates you like the wheat from the chaff is your cre­ativ­ity. Where do you get cre­ativ­ity? There are no lessons on cre­ativ­ity. The most cre­ative per­son in your am­bit is your teacher. She is so cre­ative that she can bind dif­fer­ent groups of students with unique tastes, unique study styles in such a man­ner that it drives home all the dry cog­ni­tive el­e­ments in the most cre­ative man­ner. Cre­ativ­ity is a nat­u­ral trait that your teacher pos­sesses. Ob­serve and learn it from her. It would trans­late into out of the box think­ing in your cor­po­rate ca­reer and es­ca­late it be­yond your imag­i­na­tion.


Your teacher has had oo­dles of it. She is the queen of her do­main, and if she is your fa­vorite, she has to be con­fi­dent to de­liver her waves of thought. Never will you find her fum­bling and grop­ing for words. This is ex­actly what the in­dus­try is look­ing for. When in­dus­tries spend loads of money de­vis­ing train­ing pro­grammes for their se­nior ex­ec­u­tives, one com­mon de­nom­i­na­tor, the ob­jec­tive they want to achieve is their con­fi­dence in body lan­guage. Con­fi­dence has to be their sig­na­ture state­ment. Only then the other peo­ple in the value chain will sit up and lis­ten to their top line and bot­tom line plans. So next time you sit in your class, apart from your cog­ni­tive func­tional do­main, im­bibe that oo­dles of con­fi­dence from your teacher.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills

Clichéd it might seem with the par­a­digm shift to­wards the ser­vices sec­tor, com­mu­ni­ca­tion has be­come the buzz­word. From in­ter­view to ap­praisal to el­e­va­tion in po­si­tion, com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills are a very im­por­tant cri­te­rion. In most of the col­leges, com­mu­ni­ca­tion-skill train­ing be­comes part of the pre-place­ment ac­tiv­ity. If all en­deav­ours in the class­room had not been sin­gu­larly lim­ited to a one-way traf­fic be­tween the teacher and the taught, there would have been no need of these add on train­ings. And teach­ers have ex­cep­tion­ally good com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills. Pick them up from there. Know­ing about math­e­mat­ics, sci­ence, ac­coun­tancy is not enough. Notice the word about. It means you have moved in cir­cles around the sub­ject. To know is to 'be it' and com­mu­ni­cate with it. Know­ing about some­thing but not be­ing able to ap­ply and com­mu­ni­cate it is like two deaf gentle­men walk­ing hand in hand both not be­ing able to hear what the other is say­ing. Real know­ing comes from talk­ing and liv­ing it.


Have you ever won­dered what APJ Ab­dul Kalam and Barack Obama have in com­mon? When they walk and talk, peo­ple sit up and lis­ten. They have charisma, which might not come with a show­case of dresses, but with an in­ner mag­netism that sur­rounds you like a lu­mi­nous halo. All lead­ers have it, Steve Jobs had it, and Ma­hatma Gandhi had it. Who has it, and is clos­est to you-your teacher. Take your­self back to your fa­vorite teacher's class. Did you like her only be­cause she taught well, or be­cause of the mag­netism she had. It came with the rich­ness of wis­dom. My dear grad­u­ates and post­grad­u­ates, this is an­other trait that com­pa­nies are look­ing for. Im­bibe it from your teacher.


The teacher in the white sari cared about you when you were in tears. She just held your hand and said ev­ery­thing would be fine and you still re­mem­ber her. How many of us work­ing in cor­po­rate houses care for our col­leagues and our peers? Have you ever tried to up­lift the spirit of your friend, who did not get a good ap­praisal or some­one who has had a bro­ken mar­riage? So busy are we in our pur­suits that we keep on clam­or­ing for more. Com­pe­ti­tion is a preda­tory beast of prey and has can­ni­balised care and em­pa­thy. Get out of the clutches of com­pe­ti­tion and just care… With­out nay hid­den agenda, the ap­praisal will fol­low and no com­pany would af­ford to lose you.


Re­mem­ber the great­est teach­ers of all the times; they were com­mit­ted to the cause of hu­man­ity. To­day, the word it­self has be­come so short term in na­ture that peo­ple are be­ing flushed in and out of sys­tems-it may be fam­i­lies, or­gan­i­sa­tions, and so­ci­eties at large. The teacher has to be com­mit­ted to time and the sub­ject. All those who want to suc­ceed in your ca­reer ob­serve your teach­ers, they are wed­ded to their cause. There­fore, pick the nugget of com­mit­ment from them and make your­self in­dis­pens­able in the or­ga­ni­za­tion you work or in­tend to work.

Ed­u­ca­tion to­day is pre­car­i­ously bal­anced-los­ing sight of class­rooms, where teach­ers form the essence of it all and step­ping into the cor­po­rate rooms that are de­mand­ing cre­ativ­ity, com­mit­ment con­fi­dence and care from the students that step in day in and day out in the cor­po­rate houses.

We need to bring about a Re­nais­sance in ed­u­ca­tion, we need to give teach­ers their due and we need to learn from them. We need to brace our­selves to go back to the fairy tale and knit it, to use Kr­ish­na­murthy words, to meet LIFE. (The writer is a Pun­jab- based ed­u­ca­tion coun­sel­lor with 12 years of ex­pe­ri­ence. She can be con­tacted at gau­ri_­nag­pal@ya­hoo.com )

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