Teacher – Guiding Light

Let me quote from the well known writer William Arthur Ward. “The mediocre teacher tells; the good teacher explains; the superior teacher demonstrates; the great teacher inspires”. As I reflect upon the word-‘TEACHER’ I remember my teachers. I realize that there were a few teachers’ who showed their affection for the students’ and inspired them. But how many of us will think about the teachers who inspire you in your life? India is well-known for its culture. We respect teachers and consider them equal to God. After our parents, it is teachers who play a great role in our lives. The teacher is the one who dispels the darkness from the life of a child, by showing him the right path. I feel that a teacher has to be creative, affectionate, flexible and infinitely patient. If you’re a teacher who believes in God, note that your responsibility to the students goes beyond the class room.

As Cardinal Newman said, “The purpose of study is to form a correct attitude towards life. Therefore, the duty of a teacher is to inculcate good habits and moral values in the lives of the students. The moral values and good habits are not formed by the way we teach, but the way we deal with them. We, the Brothers are teachers now. It is our duty to play a vital role in the formation of the future generation. In my short period of teaching, I have witnessed a positive change in the life of students by the use of a few encouraging words. You can mould a student to become a Buddha or Hitler.

Hitler and Stalin who were responsible for the deaths of millions of people were school drops-outs. It is said that their disturbed childhood’s and school day’s were responsible for their committing heinous crimes. The wrong handling of a child by the teacher can cause trouble for him as well as others. As teachers, we must consider teaching a vocation rather than a profession.

We are not paid teachers’ but those with extra responsibilities. We must walk the extra-miles with our students. A famous saying goes like this, “school days are like a flower, it flowers only once. School days are like a golden time, it passes only once”. School days are like a match stick, it lights only once. As teachers,’ we must realize that school days are like a flower, time, and a match stick, which can lit only once. Are we able to illuminate these small lights for their entire lives? Sometimes it takes years to see the fruit of a teacher’s labour, and sometimes we may not see its fruit at all. “There is the story of a little boy who was becoming a problem to the teachers and students in his school. He would scratch the blackboard, tease his classmates, trouble the teachers etc….he did everything that a naughty school boy would do.

The teachers could not tolerate it anymore and reported it to the principal. It was decided to call in the boy’s dad and dismiss the boy from school. The father of the boy was called. The dad and his little son were before the school principal. Trembling in fear after hearing of the dismissal, the boy was sure of what would happen next. He would get a tight slap from his father. When the father and son left the principal’s office, to the shock and surprise of the boy, the father placed his hands on his little son’s shoulders and said these words “Son, you can still make it.” Many years later, he wrote about how these words of his loving father changed his life. He pursued his education elsewhere and became the best student, loved by his classmates and teachers alike later he joined the seminary and became a Catholic priest.

Later, God elevated him to the post of Cardinal in the Catholic Church. He is none other than Cardinal Richard James Cushing. The scripture tells us how Jesus Himself showed us the extent to which one should forgive. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34).Are we able forgive the mistakes of our own students’? Are we able to encourage our little sons and daughters like the father of Cardinal RichardJames? If you can do it, I am sure that you can change the place where you live. As Henry Brooks Adam said, “A teacher affects eternity; we can never tell where his influence stops.” Let me conclude here with the words of Rosy Thomas “I wish that my students remember me not as a teacher who gives them homework but as a teacher who gives them something to take home for life”. Are we able to give them something for their lives? Are we able to inspire our little ones?