Since I have met one of my school teachers and spoken over phone to another two in the last three days, it is time now for another nostalgic post.
The teacher I met taught me maths at Kendriya Vidyalaya (KV). I and my friends were 'outstanding' students in more than one way - in the same period, we would get praised for quickly solving a tough maths problem (outstanding), and soon be sent out of the class as punishment for talking in the class (standing out).
One of the other teachers I spoke to today was our class teacher in tenth standard. She is one of the most sportive teachers I have ever met. Once one of my artistically gifted classmates had drawn a picture of devil on the blackboard. He couldn't erase the picture before this teacher came to class. When she sat down on her chair, the picture was directly behind her and the whole class started laughing. She turned at look at the picture and asked, "Is that me?" "Yes ma'am", the whole class replied, though the artist never meant it that way. "Good drawing skills" was her remark, without any anger. In contrast, out physics sir would have given a sound thrashing to the poor chap, and the whole class would have to listen to a lecture on 'showing respect to teachers'. How ironical that by her reaction she more than won our respect.
Looking back, I realise that this same teacher was also one who practiced management principles in school (we didn't realise it then - performance based incentives, mentoring, 360 degree performance appraisal, etc were unknown terms to us then). Our seating arrangement in the class was decided by her as the class teacher - anyone who scored full marks in maths uni test (the subject she taught) could have a seat of his/her own choice till the next unit test - performance incentive. She arranged students in such a way that a bright student was seated next to a no-so-bright student, so that the brighter students could mentor the others. At any point in time during her class, if anyone felt that she was not teaching properly, or was deviating from the topic, one could raise his/her hand and tell it openly (360 degree performance appraisal).
Today I spoke to her after many years as I had got her number only 2 days back. I could feel the excitement in her voice. I asked her how it was at the KV she taught now. "It's the same... every year old faces pass out and new faces come in. Once in a while I get calls from old students, which makes me happy. Hearing from old students - that is the best gift you can give to your teachers".
I dedicate this post to all the teachers who helped me make who I am. My parents give full credit to my teachers for all the marks I scored in school, as I seldom studied at home.