Education

Famous teachers and the path they set for future generations

September 5 was Teacher’s Day. Let’s take see what some famous personalities who began their career as teachers have to say about the profession, or what their students have to say about them.

Teaching is a very noble profession that shapes the character, calibre, and future of an individual. If the people remember me as a good teacher, that will be the biggest honour for me.

~A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

A teacher is someone who can help you acquire knowledge, competence or virtue. A teacher need not necessarily be confined within the four walls of your home. Instead, he or she can be anywhere — from your home to your playground to your grocery store...

Before J.K. Rowling became famous, she did a short stint in Portugal as a teacher. She taught English as a foreign language. In the Hogwarts she created she immortalised her own teachers. But, she said, “I mainly aspired to be like Lupin: patient, empathetic, and respectful of students despite their age. I actually wound up more like McGonagall: strict yet deeply caring, just, and always rooting for the students’ success.”

American musician, singer, songwriter, and actress Sheryl Crow was also a music teacher before success came knocking. Fresh out of the University of Missouri at Columbia, the U.S. in the early 1980s, she taught music for a few semesters at Fenton, Missouri’s Kellison elementary school.

“I know first-hand how much hard work goes into being a teacher, but I also know how big of an impact teachers have on the lives and futures of their students."

Stephen King, American author of horror, supernatural fiction, suspense, science fiction, and fantasy novels taught high school English before he wrote Carrie.

One of his students says, “he was a great teacher, lots of comments on papers — and showed a lot of interest in helping students improve their understanding of literature and writing.

I will never forget the day he came into class with a dandelion in his sport coat pocket, and announced he had sold Carrie including movie rights — he was very happy, and we were all happy for him.”

Barack Obama: The 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, worked as a community organiser, lawyer and law school lecturer after graduating from Columbia University and Harvard Law School. In fact, up until just four years before running for president, Obama was a constitutional law professor and senior lecturer at the University of Chicago.

One of his former students, Jesse Ruiz, now Deputy Governor for Education, Illinois, the U.S. says, “In March 1994, I joined his seminar class, Current Issues in Racism in the Law. There were 15 of us. One hot day he taught the class sitting under a tree. It was this easy-going style that made him one of the most popular lecturers at the university. Some claimed he was a bit too diplomatic, and would sit on the fence with some issues, but I never found this to be true. He always encouraged students to challenge everything, to stand up for what they believed in.”

Nandita Das has acted in over 40 feature films in 10 Indian languages, and in several professional plays. But before that, she was teaching at Rishi Valley School. After completing a Masters from the Delhi School of Social Work, Nandita Das started teaching.

Dr. Manmohan Singh was India’s 14th President. He began his career as a professor of economics at Punjab University and went on to teach at the prestigious Delhi School of Economics at the University of Delhi before entering politics.

He says, “my own years as a teacher have been the most satisfying and fulfilling in my life”.

Pranab Mukherjee, India's 13th President was a professor in a college in West Bengal's Birbhum District.

He says, “Good teachers don’t just teach topics, but also foster research”. The president took the example of mathematician Vashishtha Narayan Singh, a mathematician who obtained a PhD from University of Berkeley despite being poor, due to the encouragement of his teachers.”

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 10:17:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/lighting-our-way/article29339471.ece

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