As middle-aged adults caught up in nine-to-five jobs, sometimes we can’t help but think about those good old school days. A simple time when we relished five rupee samosas during recess, defeated friends at pen fights and had narrow escapes bunking class—these moments somehow defined our school days.
And unlike the worries of today, back in the day, what we dreaded most was teachers giving us a practical introduction to the term “surprise test”, being punished for not getting our grammar books or failing to memorise seventeen times table. Certain teachers really seemed to have some beef with us. But, even after all those years, they've somehow managed to carve a special place in our hearts.
Although these young teachers had always dreamt of standing in front of the class and delivering that perfect lesson, they looked pretty nervous on the first day of their very first job. As they entered the classroom, they fumbled a little, asked the silliest questions and cut short their explanation while, we, students continued to stare with judgmental eyes.
We’d all doubted their career choice. But given a few days, their naivety somehow vanished, and they went on to become our cool favourites. Teachers like them made us realise “you get nervous only because you care too much” and no matter how difficult those first steps may seem, they’re never impossible.
I HAVE WORK FOR YOU
Some may disagree, calling them teachers’ pets, but some teachers had a tribe to get most of their work done. Not that they were lazy or incompetent at their job, they just felt the smaller tasks could be managed by their capable students.
They'd often say, “(Name), please go to the staff room and get the pile of books at the right corner of my table or ask a (particular) teacher to help you locate them ” or “Hey, you, first bencher, go fetch the duster from the next class and dust the board. I think I have a chalk allergy (sneeze)”.
Back then, these were simple tasks we'd enjoy that allowed us to loiter around the corridors and peep into every class. But in retrospect, these teachers taught us what it takes to be responsible and the simple joys you get in doing the little things.
NOW FOCUS AND REPEAT AFTER ME
English has never been an easy language to master. But all thanks to our teachers who made it seem a lot easier. After saying “once again” and “another time”, they’d make us repeat words and sentences countless times, which somehow helped us recollect and pronounce some of the most challenging words.
Even their scolding usually sounded so well-mannered. Like the time they’d say, “You two, why are you guys giggling? Is there something you’d like to share with the class?” or “No, no, go on, I’ll wait till you guys stop talking”.
THE PRETTY ONES
The teachers who’d take all the effort to make sure their clothes, accessories and footwear were colour-coordinated. They’d always look smart and managed to flaunt their huge wardrobe collection. No matter how noisy of a fish market they'd seem to have entered, they’d somehow quiet the class to a pin-drop silence.
They were the teachers most of us had a crush on. But their good looks were only add-ons to their impeccable personality. It was their teaching and positive outlook towards life, which was rather infectious.
YOU’VE GOT THIS
The teachers who always had your back. They were mentors but sometimes became more. They’d answer the most stupid questions and never discourage a single student. Their encouragement gave us that little courage to walk on that stage and overcome our stage fright.
They knew good education would help their students become great achievers in life and never shied away from teaching beyond the textbooks.
There was a time when the bag on our shoulders weighed the heaviest, but somehow it never weighed more than the responsibilities, we, as adults, carry today. And we are grateful to all the teachers who made it all look so effortless and somehow managed to inculcate the same perseverance in us.