Last weekend when I was in Chennai, I had a chance to pass by my school. It was just five past nine in the morning and one look inside the school – prayer was going on. I could also look into some of the classrooms where I had studied. Memories of my school days tumbled down on me, immediately!
I was an Ok – Ok student only until 4th std. My parents never forced me nor kept checking on me to see how much I studied and all that. Infact, my hand writing looked pathetic which meant amma has to sit next to me and make sure I write something which is readable – almost until I was 9 yrs old. She never raised her hand on me except for once when she couldn’t have me write in one straight line without dog-earing all the corners of my note book (My books looked so bad 🙄 ). I remember the day clearly as I chose to spoke to her. I told her – how much I am trying to make my handwriting better and how I wished my writing habits to change. I even cried. Amma never questioned me anything about my handwriting again and in a year, my handwriting improved 🙂 I feel it looks good now 🙂
Things changed for my life, as soon as I was in 5th std. Or I should say Arul Jeya Mary miss changed my life. She had immense hope on me, I don’t know why. I was not the brightest student; I scored within first 10 ranks. In my school, the teachers always made the 1st ranking student the class leader. My miss broke the norm. One fine day she announced, she was making me lead the class. Until then, I never knew I had skills to keep a teacher-less class silent. My school wasn’t the popular one. It was just a small school in my town. We were mostly talking in Tamil except for studying in English. Arul Jeya Mary miss gave me more authority. With the help of dad, I made a few cards which read – “I will speak in English”. With the help of my teacher, I made sure all my classmates were talking only in English failing which they got one of those cards and at the end of the day, a fine of 1rupee was collected. Soon, we started talking in English during and after the school. If I am confident in doing what I am doing today, Arul Jeya Mary miss is the reason behind it. She taught me how to be determined, hard-working and confident from within. As I moved onto the new building for 6th std, we both had difficult time bidding farewell for our chances to meet on daily basis were very meager. Whenever I saw her later, we would smile as if our lips would tear apart and she would always end the conversation with God bless. I probably will never forget her in my life, but sadly she is no more now and I am still trying to come to peace with it.
My drawing teacher – Sukanya miss holds a special place in my heart too. If not for her, I would have never explored drawing and painting – which is one of my keen interests now. She always encouraged me. She would send me to every other competition in the neighboring schools. Even after my drawing classes with her got over, she would send someone to reach me about some competition going on. Only from her I learnt a teacher can be silent but very impactful as well.
My school was little different in following syllabus. Only from std 6, we were introduced to proper CBSE. Now before my first tests, every adult I met frightened me with the thought of how hard the English paper will be. I never understood why though. Until 5th, it was like mug-up and vomit sessions and all of a sudden – we had to use our imagination in answering questions in std 6. May be that was scary for a few. That’s when I met my best English teacher – Leela Sam miss. I thoroughly enjoyed each of her classes. During exams, I just answered what I felt was right and when it came to the results – I scored highest marks. It was the start of my successful academic journey. I participated in daily school prayers -reading NEWS, ‘thought for the day’ etc and everytime I did something, Leela Sam miss would give her honest feedback. I have never seen such a good teacher ever in my life – impartial, sincere, helpful, knowledgeable, loving and strict – she was everything a teacher should be like.
My class teacher Kasthuri miss in 9th and 10th std is very special too. We both grew fond of each other very soon. She was one of the main reasons I loved science subject so much and aspired to become a doctor. Our bond is very very special. She did everything possible from her end to make me a better person. I was selected the school pupil leader in my 10th, thanks to her confidence on me. She once told my mom – you have a perfect daughter and I have never had such a perfect student 🙂 I share similar bond with my Hindi teacher – Jhousna miss. My love for the language and the teacher grew higher and higher after each class. She too believed in me so much and I hope I didn’t let down – I scored 95% in her subject during the boards – the highest from our school. 🙂 If I could score first in both my 10th and 12th boards, it was all because of my teachers – they never taught me to win, they only taught me to enjoy what I do and that fetched me the results. Not only that, if I am successful today – its all because of all the knowledge they imparted in me. Ramalakshmi miss, Renganayaki miss, Mahadevan sir, Radhakrishnan sir – every teacher who taught me will always hold a special place in my heart. If not for them, I will not be what I am today.
Happy Teachers day to all the wonderful teachers, who are making the world better by spreading knowledge!
*Names of my teachers have not been modified – That’s how I call them even now. I couldn’t think of morphed names for people so special to me.