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Teaching and Touching Lives

The teacher starts touching lives once they step down from their own high pedestals 

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My friend Leo often says that a teacher is one who touches lives. And each time I wonder what it means and how is it that I hardly remember many of my teachers. And the one I do was amongst the most reticent teachers that I could recall. 

This lady in question was a spinster, extremely strict and super stingy with the marks she would give. And yet, I remember her fondly, just for one incident. She was laughing uncontrollably while listening to my essay on a bus journey that was anecdotal and not as per the format that she had suggested. Once I finished reading, she stood up and told me, “Your courage to step out of the box will help you.” 

When I hark back to this incident, I still get goose bumps. Not because I received praise or didn’t get punished. I realised that a good teacher is one who allows her wards to go beyond her realm – to explore their own boundaries without getting tied down by rules or norms. 

And to do so, she needs to let go of the teacher-pupil mindset. The equation is one of two individuals and not of a preacher and preached to. That’s when I realised that a good teacher is one who protects the student from her own influence. 

And that’s how she touched my life, and continues to do so even four decades after the incident I narrated. 

The only way a teacher can become a facilitator is when she or he takes the journey alongside the student. 

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