Reflections on what a Teacher is to the Student - for one can’t exist without the other - a tribute to the teachers of Head Start

Kanchana Rao
Head Start parent from 2002 - 2018
Mother of Aditya Rao

The teacher is not a 9 to 5 office-goer doing a job. The teacher is a multilayered concept. The word connotes amongst other things – largeness, depth and inclusiveness. The teacher instructs and guides – helping the student make sense of the barrage of facts that assault one's senses as one goes through early life. The teacher prepares the student to select, order and sift through scattered information and form meaningful patterns out of what could otherwise be random heaps of facts. He or she teaches one’s consciousness, not just brain cells; training one’s mind to process what the senses pick up and, of course, introducing specific subjects – scientific, literary, moral and others. The teacher releases the student’s creative spirit so he or she can explore both the inner and outer world. The teacher helps the student to be intuitive and appreciate the visionary element in all learning. To painstakingly absorb what is taught and to create afresh. To look deep within oneself and assess one’s potential. The teacher then sets the student on the path to pursuing that potential and applying it to life in all its bewildering complexity, to make sense out of that inchoate material, to create order out of seeming chaos. The teacher instills in the student the habit of confronting, accepting, surmounting. The student then becomes a product of his or her own making – not just a borrowed concept of the teacher’s mind, great though that may be. The student is, with the teachers’ guidance, reaching within - to discover oneself. Equipped with that knowledge, aware of one’s strengths and limitations, the student proceeds to train mind and body. Once the student realizes his or her own potential and is empowered, it’s time to let go of all aids - even the teacher. The student can then embark upon the ultimate search – the search for the truth that one is not the illusory image of oneself that the world wants you to see. The true student is one who has a thirst for learning. All else takes a back seat. In an ideal situation, the student has to outgrow the teacher, to take what he or she has received, and leave a sheltered, guided existence in order to interact with the rough and tumble of the real world. The teacher expects the student to apply learning to life - while continuing to add to his or her body of knowledge, acquired during student days. The teacher is instructor, mentor, guide and standby parent.We mothers, hand over our children to you for a large part of their waking hours – to prepare them for adulthood and its responsibilities. You are in charge of their minds, not just in charge of imparting formal education. You convey to them, in many unseen ways, that tests and examinations are just a part, not the whole of their school years. You mould them with sensitivity to a pattern that will be socially acceptable, yet set their minds free of slavish conformity. You help them bear the winds of change, not be blown away by it.

For all this is no ordinary task. For your commitment, immense patience and love – a heartfelt thank you from this mother of the Grade 12 Class of 2018!

Lots of love and my best wishes always!

Posted in From Our Parents, Reflections.