Sunday, Sep 05, 2021 07:30 [IST]

Last Update: Sunday, Sep 05, 2021 02:00 [IST]

Teacher instils life lessons

KAMAL BARUAH

An old fashioned signage has caught my attention, while I visited our isolated village that indicating ESTD 1890, which I’ve never heeded. It’s our prathamik buniyadi vidyalaya that I’m proud to be a beginner of that primary, where I grow up in my tender age. What makes me love and call it as ‘maar’ (mother’s) school ever since I stepped foot as one year toddler, I went with her to school all day long and I completed Ka and Kha classes from her class as my first teacher too.
I’ve more childhood memories than years gone by as my teacher-mother had an early insight into my school days. The one-room school hall accompanying all five classes under one roof made our every single second of school life enjoyable. We sat on the soil floor all day and learning that boosts our excitement despite desk-bench, fan and electric lamp of today’s basic classroom world were non-existent.
Recalling school going in the time of monsoon, while sharing a giant bor kochu leaf (elephant ear) as an umbrella on rainy days, it barely covered our head but anyway it made friendship even while croaking frogs amused by the rains. But everything went without a hitch as we had fun learning out of school and we screamed with laughter.
The ready availability of just two teachers had faced mayhem task to conquer our school noise and bullying from hundreds of innocent broods but keeping us happy and engaged day after day.  
I looked out on the beautiful twilight that brightened our primary. I walked through the grass barefoot and realised how nourishing practice of the earth, we ran over the ground naturally. The air was still filled with strong sense of my early childhood days. The vegetation was acquainted with me and seemed greatly cheered of my arrival.
 One of my earliest recalls is of sitting under the shade of mango tree. Memorising the multiplication was lot of fun that last a life time. Pieces of bamboos and woods were thrown fiercely to a bunch of fruits. They weren’t 17th century “aha moment” from falling apple whilst Isaac Newton discovered the Law of gravity, we discovered the joy of falling mangoes from the tall perennial woody plant.
The mango tree was like an elevated crown under sun and rain.  The more we shouted numbers, the more our teachers happy. We were energised by fun learning in fact interested anything other than eating raw mango. Probably we had teachers that wanted to see us playing while learning and wanted to retain the smiles and reinforce positive emotions of ours.
The influence of mother over her children will always be strong. Thomas A. Edison’s mother turned him into the genius of the century with few positive word of encouragement over the Principal’s letter saying “Your son is mentally deficient. We cannot let him attend our school anymore. He is expelled”. Overcome with emotions she read the letter to a young Thomas – “Yours son is genius. This school is not advanced enough and doesn’t have enough good teachers to teach him. Please teach him yourself”. These words grew Thomas with excitement and expectation and finally motivated and inspired him
With this Teachers’ day celebration on the birthday of India’s second President Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan., I’ve a profound feeling of respect for those teachers who shapes our world. Even Prophet Muhammad introduced himself as a teacher. Throughout his life, he proved that he knew the things he is preaching.
But life’s not always rainbows and butterflies to our small little world. While returning, those moments have suddenly got shattered. The silence didn’t escape my notice soon I came to know that mom’s primary closed down due to low enrolment. People are rejecting vernacular medium of study for English schools.
Our school was founded during the princely state while Lansdowne was Governor General of India. Such was the history. Teacher takes teaching as a noble cause. Teachers are respected and eulogized. The respect they command from society due to the nobility of their profession that instil everyone.
However, every school has a memory for students that made their basic foundation for life. The advancement of science has probably made today’s scenery and competition makes it worse. The US President Abraham Lincoln letter to his son’s teacher was the best example of being a concerned parent. “My son starts school today. It’s all going to be strange and new to him for a while...teachers but see what best you can do. He is such a nice little boy and he is my son.”
The great education thinker APJ Abdul Kalam believes that school teachers have tremendous responsibility in shaping the life of an individual. “The seeds sown in childhood blossom into the tree of life”, while driving down the street, I keep thinking back to my school. Thank you teacher, thank you mother, what they wrote on our blackboard of life that can never be erased.
(kamal.baruah@yahoo.com)

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi