Today is a very auspicious day – its Ganesh Chaturthi plus Teacher’s day! Lord Ganesha is considered as God of knowledge. His elephant head symbolizes the immense wisdom and perfection. Wisdom is something that comes out of independent thinking and reflection, education adds it in our life. Therefore, teachers are very important in our life. Lord Ganesh’s large ears symbolizes that one needs to be a good listener, when you are with a teacher, listen with attention. There is so much to learn from each teacher. Wise people are always open to hearing fresh ideas and opinions. In other words, the wise are those who always keep an open mind. Good teachers don’t teach us detailed syllabus, but they help us grow as people. They make us responsible by imparting some of life’s most important lessons.
Like other professions, even teachers evolve and mature in their profession. I am also a teacher and I wish to share some of my thoughts. Teaching as a process is entwined and complex. It is very difficult to be explain. The rapid changes and increased complexity of today’s world present new challenges and put new demands on our education system. The teachers therefore need a lot of preparation to change and improve the students for productive functioning in the continually changing and highly demanding environment. A teacher gets mischievous, restive, serious learner intelligent, sensitive, and agitated all sorts of students, and while she shapes their personalities, they also shape the teacher’s identity.
The fact is that each subject taught is as large and complex as life, therefore the familiarity of the subject is always flawed and partial. No matter how a teacher devotes himself/herself to reading and research, teaching requires a command of content that always evades some student’s grasp. Some of the students themselves are larger than life and even more complex. To understand them, their capacity as learners and their questions and to respond them wisely in the moment, requires a fusion of Einstein, Freud and Edison! A teacher achieves this with lots of hard work. It is sad but the society undermines their commitment and their craft. Let me tell you, it takes few years for the teacher to mature in his/her profession. It takes few seasons for them to grasp the teaching-learning process and techniques.
Lord Ganesha’s head is the elephant trunk. This trunk depicts a dominant intellect that arises out of wisdom. Our intellect is of two kinds, gross and subtle. The gross intellect is used to discriminate between pairs of opposites in the world; black and white, hard and soft, easy and difficult. The subtle intellect, on the other hand, discriminates between right and wrong; permanent and impermanent which means the conscience. A teacher along with students discovers uncharted and unknown knowledge in the classroom. The teacher challenges the student’s inquisition at times with lenience and at times with dominance. The teacher refines thinking of her class, by discussing the facts and the teacher also has unique characteristics, and her life’s experience.
Ganesha’s pot belly depicts space; it is big in size to hold all wisdom and all life. Education endures our strength to tolerate and ride over all the good and bad in life. The life’s experiences prepare us to become perfect. A man of perfection must have the capacity to stomach peacefully all the experiences. Teachers refine their students; all of the crudeness, bluntness, anxiety and garishness slowly vanish because of their punishments and chiding. Efficient and Strict teachers enrich their students with etiquettes, kindness, courteousness, considerateness and politeness.
Ganesha’s four arms represent the four main divisions of human consciousness: mind, intellect, ego and the emotions. His four arms also depict the four directions. Teachers prepares their students to become independent; they them sensibly and intervene only when necessary. The educational institution is a place of social learning. Throughout the academic learning, various teachers that we come across, teach us to take independent decisions. Each teacher tells her students that they need to control their own destiny. All choices whether good, bad and the ugly are very individual. A change can never be predicted or pre-determined. Seasoned teachers help their students in understanding their potential. We get all types of teachers – strict, friendly, firm, unassuming etc. It may sound as cliché, but the fact is that teachers never stop teaching.
Life is all about the joys and sorrows, victories and failures, brightness and darkness life is full of contrasts. The transition of opposites in life is indicated beautifully by Lord Ganesha’s two tusks, one is broken and one is complete. We need to rise in life to practice and experience the challenges that life throws at us. The examinations throughout our journey as students teach us to take dissimilarities with a pinch of salt. The strict teachers will always set a tough examination paper because they want to prepare their students for tough situations.
A teacher does not like a lifeless classroom session. However tough might be the topic, the teacher tries her level best to make the topic interesting. Let me tell you, as teachers we don’t like disordered and confused classrooms. In such classrooms we feel powerless and to claim we are teachers seems an obvious sham. We are not Gods, our knowledge is also flawed and partial to some extent. No matter how much ever we devote ourselves to reading and research, teaching requires a command of content that always eludes our grasp because of constant changes happening around us. To understand each student’s personal pathology is just not possible. A decade and a half teaching experience has taught me that teaching is like mastering an occult art. I have also learnt that there is no definition of a ‘perfect teacher’ or a ‘perfect student’. Everybody has strengths and weaknesses. A good teacher learns to capitalize on her student’s strength and compensate for weakness. And very importantly, a good teacher recognizes that perfection is the enemy of the good!
Lord Ganesha is worshipped for prosperity and success. He removes the obstacles of both material and spiritual kinds. Similarly, gritty teachers have passion and perseverance to help their students reach long-term goals, by helping them cross the obstacles.
A VERY HAPPY GANSH CHATURTHI AND HAPPY TEACHER’S DAY TO ALL!!!