Teachers

Teachers are an inevitable part of our formative years. The value of a good teacher cannot be emphasized enough, while a bad one can do irreparable harm to one's interest or motivation.




We've all had our share of eccentric teachers. While some were irritating, but benign, others were inexcusably inept. After a few years of unquestionably knowledgeable teachers, I find myself again in the midst of an interesting bunch of teachers, to say the least. In fact, I thought up of this post sitting in the class of one such, to distract myself from laughing at his delusional ramblings. More on him later.

So, here are a few of the most memorable teachers I've had so far.

School days:

In a boy's school, the most common type of teachers are those that indulge in good natured abuse. They scold, they insult, they beat, they shout, but at the end of it, no one really harbors any ill feelings towards them. One particular example that comes to mind is my Theology teacher in 7th grade. He used to effortlessly change gears from sermonizing moral injunctions towards the way for salvation, to disciplining rowdy kids in the most amusing manner. We used to call his punishment as 'changing gears'. His preferred move would be to catch the kid by his hair and vigorously shake him from left to right, up and down, forward and backward, in the most hilarious manner. The kid would be struggling to maintain his balance, such was the amplitude of the movement. It was hilarious, at least until it was our turn to be 'geared'. Best part was he did it with such a smile that the red-faced student (by virtue of his vigorous head banging) couldn't help but smile back at him and not begrudge having some of hair forcibly lengthened. (We were kids, our hair didn't fall back then)

My Maths' teacher in 8th grade was very discretionary in his punishments. His preferred mode of disciplining was pinching ears. He was very good at it. He would also pardon non-regular offenders by just pretending to pinch their ear, while not really doing it. The lucky kid would need to play along and wince painfully while inwardly thanking his lucky stars. I've been in that position more than once. Again, he was a very well liked teacher by everyone, even those who really got their ears pinched regularly.

Then there was my Rector in 9th and 10th grade. We had a dusty playground and being boys, we all played in it regularly. Now whenever a teacher (usually a madam) did not wish to indulge in the dirty task of disciplining us, she would send us off to the Rector. He would take out his trusty cane and get down to what we called 'Dusting'. Yea, you guessed it. When the cane came down with a thwack on our backsides, a huge cloud of dust would emanate therefrom, leading to peals of laughter from the rest of us. I got 'dusted' only once, but once I became the 'class leader', I had the (mis)fortune of being given the task to escort students to the Rector for their dusting on several occasions. Again, no one really disliked the Rector for this. We disliked him for several other reasons.

One of the most memorable characters in my student life definitely has to be my Maths sir in the 9th and 10th grade. He was the best good natured abusive drunkard maths teacher one can ever hope to encounter. His dialogues are part of the tradition of every student of my school, even those who were never taught by him. "What re, dillo..", "you bunkum, muddy fellow!", "tell any 1,000 formulae..", "there should be immersion, re.." (which meant we should be immersed in studying) are part of school folklore. His preferred weapon of destruction was his 'sword', a wooden ruler. He would ask us all to bring one, so he could choose the one that he liked best to punish us with. Having identified his target for the day, he would exclaim "Where's my sword, re?", which would prompt the rest of the kids to eagerly offer their 'sword' to be put to such noble use. Occasionally, he would get seriously angry and the kid would be reduced to tears. That used to be bad. But on the whole, he provided good entertainment and my school experience would not have been the same without him.

Junior College:

Moving on, in Intermediate, I used to bunk college and attend coaching at the hell hole called Ramaiah Institute. Sure, there was learning here, but overall, the experience left a bad taste in my mouth and is better left forgotten.

IIT:

My years at IIT Madras were also relatively unentertaining, faculty-wise. We did have some weirdos in the 1st year, but they were simply boring. From 2nd year on, in the Elec department, it was only a combination of very good, and excellent teachers, whom we revered and feared in equal measure. And the fear was only about failing to meet their very high expectations from us.

IIM Kozhikode:

The last few months at IIM Kozhikode has provided more variety and entertainment than I had become accustomed to. Term 1 had an interesting mix, with a couple of incredibly knowledgeable teachers, attending whose lectures was nothing short of receiving enlightenment (MicroEco and Social Transformation of India), to some average ones and one entertaining neurotic. The STI professor would provocate us and destroy our accepted idealogy with disconcerting ease and disarming good nature. His impassioned articulation bordered on blasphemy, but he showed us all that there is always another side to the story and we should never jump to conclusions. He will definitely find a place in my list of teachers who have really made a difference in the lives of their students. On the other hand, the entertaining neurotic who was supposed to teach us QM (but taught us nothing more than patience) was largely harmless, and the countless hours of fun we had imitating him more than made up for any irritation he caused in class.

Term 2 was a bit uneventful, but Term 3 is making up for that. All because of one of the most psychotic teachers I've ever had. Psychotic is being used quite literally here. He hears non-existent sounds and noises made by us "nasty chaps" and "foxy professionals". We're "animals wearing the mask of humans" who do "dirty things". He's completely delusional, with such a vast disconnect between reality and what he sees and hears, that he certainly belongs in an institution. But a mental one, and not an academic one. I'm sure there's medication for people like him and I hope, for all our sakes, that he gets the treatment he needs.


Well, these are few that came to mind as I write, but I'm sure I'm missing out on several more. Also, in no way do I intend to imply that all teachers are bumbling buffoons to be endured or ignored. Just that most of them are. But I also have to acknowledge the numerous wonderfully patient and caring teachers who inspired and motivated me, and for that I will always to be grateful to them.

Comments

  1. This post has actually inspired me to talk about some of my teachers as I have witnessed them in MIT. :)

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  3. Your maths sir in 9th/10th takes the crown for the 'most entertaining teacher' ever... will always remember your stories of him...'I want to see immersion re', and I can always laugh at that 'sword' story... lol..

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  4. hey i also had a gear changing teacher in school..he changed my gears once in class 7..maybe he's the reason why i m balding..nice post

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  5. @Nirjhar: Plz do! I'm sure everyone will be interested to know that. Looking forward to it :)

    @Farah: Yea.. Gud times.. :)

    @kt: Good, so now that is our excuse! :P

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  6. I was quite surprised to see that you didn't write much about your time in Ramaiya and the inhumane methods of teaching they use.

    Its very disappointing to know that students in your school had to go through such physical abuse. For me, the school days were more about mental trauma. Every year hundreds of children get seriously injured and quite a few die too because of physical abuse in schools. Still most people don’t even believe that hitting a child is a serious crime. Even you have used words like 'disciplining' and 'punishment' rather than 'abuse'.

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  7. Without teachers life would have no 'class'...

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  8. He he..entertaining post...IIM Kozhikode is surely the icing,though, on my cake at least.

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  9. @Ajey: I didn't write about Ramaiah since most of the post was intended to be humorous, and I could not find any humour in the mindless mental torture that occurred at Ramaiah, and so for the sake of the theme of the post, I left it out. Will maybe write a serious post on it sometime later.

    And you're right about 'abuse' being a serious problem in our 'educational' system. If you notice, I've given veiled reference to my distaste for such practices by called it 'good-natured abuse'. But since everyone around me had such thick skins that such things didn't bother them, and since I was rarely at the receiving end, I've tried to play them down. But you're right, in an ideal society, corporal punishment has no place and teachers who indulge in it should be immediately fired at the very least.


    @Divinite: Lol.. nice.. :)

    @Ravi Bansal: Yea, and I do hope this is the end of my encounters with psychotic teachers.. :|

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  10. good one arslan ... memories of all saints are incomplete without kumar sir ... unique teacher , very unique style of teaching n great methods of torture :) ,u remem his dialogue ... this should not go outside this four walls n next day whole school would come to knw abt thrashing..n making everybody monitors :), life wouldnt be same with contributions of nadeem fazeel mustafa fasi darrel ,

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