25 March 2009

He Came, He Taught, He Inspired

I still remember the first time he came into my class. The bell had just rung, and we were practicing our customary stretching, when the door swung open. Before I could see who had entered, a figure passed through the side of the class, reached the front, threw his pink purse onto the table, and pulled off the cap from his marker pen.

Then, just as half of us realized that a teacher had entered, he wrote down the subject title on the board. Turning around to survey us, he uttered, "Yes, Sit Down."

And that was it. For the next thirty four minutes, he taught us Geography. And then he left. This was the same teacher, who three years later, had the best farewell any teacher could ask for. Every student in senior school, as well as the parents of those children, knew who he was. And he was my - no, our - Geography Sir. Technically at least. But to most of us, he was a role model, an inspiration.

This Sir of mine, was an imposing figure, even physically. With a height of at least 6 feet 1 inch, and a hefty build, Sir could easily get the attention of a class. But it was not his physique that commanded so much respect. It was his personality. He was a someone whom you'd call, 'A Man of Principles'. As one of the other teachers once told me, "His Dad was in the Air Force, so he had a strict upbringing. He's got none of the vices: Drinking or Smoking."

Once he entered the class, we'd fall silent. No more cross talk, no more stretching. It was his class after all. And his way of teaching was smooth. He'd prepare notes for every day, research the topic thoroughly, and go about it in a systematic manner. In between the class, one of the smarter chaps would raise a doubt. Sir would pause, give a small smile, and then look towards another student. "Yes, Mohammed Musthafa, what do you think is the solution to the problem?"

He had a style of addressing students by the full name. Even those students whose full names we ourselves didn't know.

He was a magnificent House Teacher. For those of you who know Football well, he was like Jose Murinho or Sir Alex Ferguson. Cool, calm, and calculating. There's a story of how he engineered the victory of 2007 Athletic Meet. His House was trailing in the points tally, and everyone was worried. He simply shook his head, and told his relay teams. "Dont worry, if we win the relays, the Cup is ours".

And the Cup was theirs.

How can a teacher make such an impact on students? What does he have to do? Did Sir give us groundbreaking philosophies? Or change our minds in a revolutionary manner? No. He simply stood by his principles.

You could never flatter Sir, even if you had the most buttery tounge in school. You could never influence him either. He was one of the few teachers who never showed partiality, who never corrected papers based on the students who wrote them, who never insulted students and scarred their minds.

When it was announced that Sir would leave our school, the impact was amazing. The talks we had were long and filled with a sense of loss. Every grade, from the senior 10th, down to 7th, felt disappointed. Many of us, for the first time, thought of buying him farewell gifts. We even had a party for him. A students organized party, mind you.

I still remember how he addressed us for the last time from the school podium. Fortunately, I was standing behind the podium, facing the entire school. And after he spoke, I could see the expression on the faces of the students. Their applause was thunderous.

Parents talked about his departure, and about how sad they felt.

What did he leave behind?

A legacy perhaps.

A legacy, that declared him as the best teacher our school ever had. A legacy, that graced his House with two Athletic Meet Trophies. A legacy, that left behind an impression on all the students he ever taught.

People now ask me what I want to become, and most of the time I reply, "An Economist". It all started in Geography classes, when Sir would ask me if I had any new Economic theory to discuss. True, most of what I thought, was impractical and futile. Yet he listened. And he made me think.

This post, is not about how he made me feel. It's about how he made us feel. I'm sure there are dozens more who'd want to express themselves about their favorite teacher. Over to them now...

Please leave your comments, especially if you were a student of Sir as well. However, please don't mention the name. Addressing him as Sir itself will be enough. This is so that there wont be any problems later on. Hope you understand.

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  1. oh !!..he was an awesome teacher..i myself like him..though i was nt gud at studies..i tried to improve in his subject..coz..he really inspired me..he would often crack jokez in da class..nd i luv da way he used to say "very good, wrong answer, sit down"..i miss him !!

  2. musthafa....xcellently put down....i m speechless...

  3. hmmm...yeah...great loss for the school when he left..i completely loved the matter-of-fact way he used to say the most unbelievable stuff...n crack jokes looking as serious as he could...and obviously...his teaching...but he's pretty happy where he is i guess..

    nice comeback post!

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  5. awesum bro!....... v all miss him a lot!...... wish he was der in skool.....

    dude, make sure sir reads this!.....

  6. yeah nice post! well he was oen of the best our school could even ask for! he inspired all of us! and u highjlighted his classic line--''yes sit down'' ...tht was realy nice!....yes everyoen does miss him!..he was truely a man of prinicples and his jokes also were AMAZING! we all still miss ihm!

  7. he came so did my interest in social
    he left so did my interest in social

    he wes the best teacher anyone could ever ask for in his/her entire life .......now due to his attitude an being a strict man of principles from just a geography teacher reached the post of a principal withn about a year of leaving........

  8. I dont normally comment on my own posts...but had to....well said Sam! excellently put....and yes, i forgot to mention that....Sir is now the principal of a large school in India...

  9. i so wish he taught me too.
    u kno all dese posts jus makes me more and more nostalgic. now dat i too hav jus passed out of school. ur post nearly drove me to tears!!!

    well written mate!

  10. hahahhah @ sam...'he left so did my interest in social' ...nice one!!

  11. hey yew 4got da most infact da only mornin assemblies wich were interstin n neva made us dose offf !!!!!


    - Priya -

  12. I've almost always hated geography. I wish he'd thought me. MAybe I would have enjoyed it.

    I know another teacher in my 9th grade who made me enjoy history. I miss him now.

  13. Sindhuja MurugesanMarch 26, 2009 at 10:08 AM

    Haha Pink purse :D Miss him even now!!

    Niiiccceee Muthu =) Btw why dont you like send it to Sir..He might be realy happy!!

  14. he waz da best !!!!!i think every 1 misses him

  15. Wow this is amazing.. really captured sirs personality. I forgot that pink purse of his. =)
    Brings back memories

  16. hats off 2 an awesum teacher!..

  17. nice one dude felt like cryin!! i really miss rakesh sir very much

  18. Wonderful,Marvellous,Amazin,fantastic Sir and post....


  20. Sometimes, it does not matter whether your friends are cheap or not, or any other stereotype. All that matters is that they are your friends.

  21. Touchy post, reminded me of my English teacher, she was fabulous herself.

    Maybe someday would write about her :)

    Tk Cr