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Teachers and me

  • Shilpa Krishnan
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I used to hate teachers... until I became one

I was born on Teacher’s Day. For really long though, I disliked most of my teachers (even the good ones). I cringed every time my mother told me I was destined to become a teacher when I grew up.

My dislike for the profession and most of its practitioners perhaps stemmed from the fact that my mother was a teacher herself. As a girl of eight, I did not want a working mom. There were times when she would come home late and find me waiting on the doorstep.

Often, she'd make me clean up after dinner while she got busy correcting exam papers. When I was diagnosed with a serious illness and the doctors said I needed a biopsy, my mother was unable to come with me, since she couldn't take leave from school.

I hated her job.

Until I became a teacher.

Even six months after I had donned the hat of a teacher, I would insist that my mother refer to me as an “instructor”.

Until one day, while talking to Amma, I referred to my students as my “children”.

“Since when do you have children, kanna ?” she asked.

That was the epiphany. I realised that while teaching does give you your bread and butter, it also gives you a family.

There have been times I have wanted to physically throw some of my children out of the class.

Once while having to deal with an unruly class, I turned my back on the students, sat on the floor and began to count in my mind. Before I had reached eight, there was a hush in the classroom.

When I turned, all the students looked at me sheepishly and said, “Sorry, Ma’am. We won’t do this again”.

I remembered the scene from  To Sir, With Love  where an exasperated Mr Braithwaite had a similar experience.

Children can certainly be annoying. However, all the teachers I've asked have said things to this effect: “They keep me young, energetic and aware of the present.”


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