Seven teachers talk to MetroPlus about some of the memorable experiences in their careers. Teachers, at one point or the other, make a difference in our lives

K. Suresh Kumar

(Winner of the National Award for Best Teacher 2012-13

Abraham Memorial Higher Secondary School, Thirumala)

I have learnt more from my students than what I have taught them. They have always inspired me. One of the students who continues to inspire me is Nishanth. In class eight, Nishanth made a radio and tape recorder from scratch. He told me that after school, he used to help his father in his electronics workshop and that helped him gain a practical idea of the concepts of physics.

Now, an engineer in Nest, he helps me in my dream project in setting up a physics laboratory at Karakulam. In the lab, each of the experiments discussed in the physics text books (from class five to 10) of the state syllabus, has been set up and the students can see and do the experiments themselves. The 5,000 square feet building has been completed with a loan of Rs. 20 lakh and it should be functional within a few months.

At this juncture, I must mention the name of Professor Kalyanaraman Sir who forced me to take physics and predicted that I would be a teacher of physics. My teachers have been my role models.

In my own way, I am also trying to make my students eco-sensitive by cycling to work every day.

Rajeesh T.

(Teacher, Government Higher Secondary School, Elampa, Attingal)

A teacher plays multifarious roles of a counsellor, friend and a guide. A teacher should be a trustworthy friend a student can rely on. Traditionally, a child is expected to respect his/ her teacher, but in my opinion a teacher should respect the students and foster in them values, through strong bonds of friendship that will make a lasting impression on them.

I look forward to students with a strong sensibility to differentiate right from wrong.

When I meet my students after they have left the school and when they say “I still remember the lessons you taught”, I get motivated by the experience.

I usually have children with different abilities in the classroom. One of my students, who had difficulty in learning, shared his success in the examination with me and said “sir, you helped me in my achievement”. I shall cherish that moment forever.

Vipin Chandran

(Head of the Department of French, Mar Ivanios College)

I joined the college as a professor of French in 1986. Although I may not remember the names or faces of most of my students, they remember me. Wherever I go, be it in India or abroad, I tend to bump into old students, who come up and speak to me. Recently, a friend and I were talking on the Pattom road when a police jeep braked right in front of us. A police officer stepped out and greeted me; it was an old student. It is nice to know that my students are doing well. Former students have helped me out in various situations.

Jishitha Abhish

(Third standard teacher, Christ Nagar International School)

I have been teaching social studies and English for the last seven years. Having taught students up North and down South, I find students here more affectionate and respectful of their teachers and the student-teacher bond, stronger. On Teachers' Day, it feels nice when students show their appreciation with flowers and card.

Every teacher wants his/her students to be attentive and I am no different. I want children who will ask questions as only then will the class be lively. Being around young students, I find, keeps me young at heart.

K. V. Pramod

(Gandhian Studies teacher at Government Model Boys’ Higher Secondary School)

A woman came into my class and threw a file containing marksheets. The mother of one of my Plus Two students, she warned him not to come home again. Later, he told me that his father had abandoned them long ago. It was his mother’s second marriage that day. She wanted to leave him behind. That time I was not in a position to help him. He dropped out of school. And when he came back to write the exams, he had to pay a fine of Rs. 600. Although, I could have paid the amount, he refused to accept it and left without writing the exam. I still feel bad about the incident. Nevertheless, there have been instances where I could help my students. There is a perception that it is difficult to deal with boys in higher classes. But experience tells me that affection and encouragement can change many for the better. Some of them come from broken families, and tend to be rebellious. But my advice is: ‘Know your student’.

Amul Roy

(Teacher, Government UP School, Chalai)

There was a time when my school was totally looked down upon. But there has been a drastic change over the last few years, thanks to the sustained efforts of the teachers and parents. I still remember that day when a team from the World Bank and Ministry of Human Resources Department came to the school as part of the Joint Review Mission (JRM) of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA) scheme. From their approach we understood that they didn’t expect anything positive from our school. One of the World Bank officials came to my class (class seven), where my students showed him the group projects in English. He was under the impression that I was some official with the SSA and was there on a temporary arrangement to impress the visiting team. He refused to believe that I was the class teacher and therefore asked the students about the project. He interacted with the students, and went back without saying anything. A few days later at a national-level meeting, this official began his review by taking the name of our school. He was surprised by the performance of the students. I felt so proud about being a teacher in this school. I always believe that the growth of a school can happen only through society. And, a good student, is one who has his/her own outlook.

Dr. P. Vinod

(Associate Professor, Civil Engineering, College of Engineering, Trivandrum

Winner of Prof. V.K.M. John National Award 2011, for the best engineering teacher in Kerala)

I’ve been a teacher for 27 years. Then and now the students are more or less the same whatever be the changes the decades have brought about. It all depends on the attitude of the teachers. When I started out my students would talk to me as if I were their elder brother, nowadays I am sort of like a father figure to them. I tell my students that they have to be ambitious and aim high but to always remember that it’s peace of mind that matters. One of my most memorable moments was when a student of mine gifted me a pen that she had brought with her very first salary after she joined the Central Public Works Department. You only expect such things from your children, right? That’s why I think that teaching is the best profession. The job satisfaction is unparalleled.