The Teacher in your Life

September 5, 2021
(Teacher's Day)

I recently had a visitor to my office who was my former student who had come all the way from the United Kingdom to see me. The one sentence he spoke to me made me ponder over the relationship one shares with one’s student. To quote his line, “The teachers that you come across in life have the power to change you”. I was thinking about the sentence he had spoken all the time recalling what the young man probably had in his mind. I faintly remember him as a very outspoken student and the bitter-sweet relationship I shared with him. I could not fathom what extra I had done to him that he had come seeking for me and met me during his brief stay in India for about 20 days on a holiday.

I went down memory lane and recalled the myriad type of students whom I have encountered in my almost three decades of teaching. I do not recollect anything I had said or done that had the power essentially to change a person’s life. Real life certainly is not as dramatic as this and is probably seen only in movies and novels.

Is the relationship between the student and teacher always positive? Do we see negative things as well? For one thing, if there is negativity, it is all but forgotten when the relationship comes to its close but the positives is what brings about this type of encounter after many years.

It struck me that a negative comment even with a positive intent can make considerable change in a student. It could make them feel really let down, especially when it comes from their favourite teacher. It is astounding how making or having put forth something negative can change a person’s self-image and make him believe that he is not up to the mark.

A teacher lives in a roomful of mirrors, some mirrors reflect success stories, some sob stories, and some narrate perceived injustices in a harsh world. Despite this there is tales of loss, and separation, misunderstandings and reconciliation but at the end of it, it is a permanent relationship that can be rebuilt with a chance encounter. A teacher jostles something in the soul of his/her student the condense of the relationship stays long after the formal relationship is closed. Being a teacher is certainly a precious gift – a gift of human endeavours that will carry us for the rest of our lives.

The student-teacher relationship is an ode to human relationship itself. It is primed with nostalgia, invokes a warm pleasant feelings and makes one’s alma mater to be considered as a home, which nurtured us in the most happy and joyful time of our lives. For a student, it is the place where he spent gathering knowledge and a variety of skills that worked so well in his life. The delightful time spent in the campus. The landmarks that have come to define the carefree life one spent on the campus. The values in life that one has learned. The insight that made one the person he or she is. At the heart of it is the relationship one has with his or her teacher which is the essence of love and understanding.

Every student is a self-taught artist who weaves the intricate sketches in his mind of the life he or she spent on the campus. It warms his heart to know that what he learned here is the beacon of light that nurtures and rekindles the spirit of human endeavour. It is probably this feelings that brings him back to where he/she belong to rekindle the sketches he/she has in his/her mind. One wonders if these imprints could have been there if there were no teachers who made an impact on us. Understanding the student teacher relationship itself is a work of art, a joyous relationship.

Out of the hundreds of students that pass out of the hands of a teacher, it is one or two who come back to establish, to seek and to preserve this immortal relationship and to restore the beauty of humanity. Every teacher could certainly have an experience like this. It requires a coordinated and sustained involvement on the part of the teaching fraternity. To restore this heritage that is so fondly spoken and the one that makes teaching a noble profession.

Every teacher needs to build relationship with mutual trust and compassion. One day when he looks back and realise that not every student loves him but you in the course of your job have reached the loneliest feeling you have reached out to those who in their hour of need, who were going through rough terrain in their student years, who had a whole range of friendship, disappointments and betrayals and you as a teacher was that beacon of hope, the sunshine in their dark hours. Having such a teacher in one’s life is certainly a blessing.

The biggest joy in the life of a teacher is when your loved ones come to you, seeking you that you realise that you have spent your time in this noble profession prudently and that the teaching profession is a special gift which really has no parallel.




By Dr P G Aquinas
Professor and Chairman, Post Graduate Department of Studies and Research in Social Work, Mangalore University, Mangalagangotri,
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Comment on this article

  • Veeda D'Mello, Pangla /UK

    Tue, Sep 07 2021

    Thank you Dr Paul Aquinas for highlighting student teacher relationship and making us to go down the memory lane of remembering our teachers who has made good influence in our life and guided us during our young school days..All the best for all teachers in their profession.

  • Ambrose Pereira, Bajpe

    Tue, Sep 07 2021

    A Happy Teachers Day to all my teachers at St Joseph's High School, Bajpe. It is time to remember your humane, humble & sincere way you treated us and showed us the way forward to succeed. Starting with Fr. Leo Carvalho for building a high school in Bajpe and enabling us to complete our high school without which I may have been an ordinary laborer. Thanks to all our teachers of 1965 Batch: Head Master Sequeira for his great math teaching, he made math very simple by telling us a story before every math topic (I still remember the King Albert's Theater story to teach us LCM and GCF), so great was his teaching that without a text book, I was able to get a 75+ in math. Our wonderful English teachers Jettu Teacher and Feddy Dhattu, who in addition to teaching us English spent time to read us a story from Illustrated Weekly. Remember Mr. Ramakrishna Bhat who taught us lower math and the pain he took to make everyone understand math by explaining the basics several times. Our science teacher Mr. K. G Bhat who made sure we understood physics and chemistry (his notes and teaching got me a 65+ without the text books). Unforgettable is our PT Teacher Lori Master who encouraged us to play and participate in every sport plus made sure I had all sports certificates on the day I was leaving for Bombay to chase my dreams. Equally unforgettable are our Kannada teacher Mr. Bhat and Hindi Teacher Mr. Shetty who helped me pass the Hindi final exam (Hindi was not compulsory then and I was totally ignoring Hindi but on the last day of our school he gave us a recipe to pass the exam and the trick helped me just pass with a 36). Thank you all for helping me who I am today because as a poor farmers son never knew the importance of getting these 65+ percent marks for success. I cannot forget Mr C.S.Kutty, our Burmah Shell Trg. Manager who motivated me to enroll in Engineering and Mr. H. C. Patel the Principal for giving me an engineering seat from his Principal's quota. Thank you.

  • Dr.Savitha, Mangalore

    Mon, Sep 06 2021

    Dear Sir, There is no doubt you write all the articles so well. This time also well written about teacher student relationship where you made everyone to understand how important to maintain healthy relation with students in our teaching profession..that somewhere boost them to be positive in all situations. Nice sir...

  • Maria Fernandes, Mangalore

    Mon, Sep 06 2021

    Nice article Sir. Students do remember teachers for their lifetime. Teachers from primary school level to high school level always pondered very affectionately as they take an important role in shaping a students life for their future life. As the student moves to higher education there is a change in the relationship, still, teachers do influence greatly.

  • Richard Barboza, Udupi

    Sun, Sep 05 2021

    Nice Article Sir.. being a student of yourself.

  • Vinutha Rai, Mangalore

    Sun, Sep 05 2021

    Nice article regarding teacher-student relationship 👌👌👌Happy Teacher's day sir🙏🙏

  • Prashantha Naik, Mangalore University

    Sun, Sep 05 2021

    A nice article on how important student- teacher relationship is. Worth reading on the occasion of Teachers Day.

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