“Now in this class, you can either call me Mr Keating, or if you are slightly more daring, O captain, my captain”. Dead Poets Society
Robert Williams, aka Mr Keating, an English teacher in the famous Hollywood piece, is a dream teacher of all students. It is his unbounded passion and unconditional love for his students that makes him a modern Hero.
We all would love to be the students of Mr Keating, or may have had a teacher like him who sparked an interest in the most mundane things, who taught us how words had energy and could create a beautiful world or a teacher who impressed us with the idea that speaking well was all about being an authentic person or that our interest in flat shaped earth had many starry eyed stories? A teacher who criticised us so that we could soar higher, a teacher who transmuted the eerie looking equations and numbers into interesting puzzles, a teacher who patiently waited on us as we jumped from one failed experiment to another in the Chemistry Lab, a teacher who didn’t make fun of your half baked attempts at painting or a teacher who never gave up on you, inspite of all the odds- What would you do without them? Where would we be without their brilliant minds and noblest souls?
Some of us would fondly remember the teachers who created beauty out of the way they disseminated their knowledge or engaged and connected with us. If you are lucky enough, you would have met a teacher, who believed in you more than you believed in yourself and who showed you that the path of greatness was laden with humility, diligence and perseverance.
Do you remember the first time you tiptoed, learning to walk as your parents carefully manouevred your every step? Do you recall entering in your new classroom reticent and shy, attempting to find a familiar face amidst the strangers? Have you ever been so heartbroken that you decided to turn your miseries into your strengths? Have you been scolded by your favorite teacher only to realise later that it was for your own good? All these experineces are woven together by a common thread of growth. All good teachers make us grow beyond our comfort zones and the coccon of familiarity.
Our parents are our first teachers. They teach us the essence of love, kindness and affection. A formal education sets us up to meet our real teachers, who carve our lives beautifully, irrespective of their personal trials and tribulations. No matter what form we meet them in, they enlighten our life path.
I remember one of my teachers used to say that all teaching is essentially a performance and that all teachers are great actors, for they forsake everything else the minute they enter the classroom and are only aligned with their goal of making a difference. As we move from the dreamy lanes of school and college life to the challenging real world, we realise somberly that time and circumstances are great teachers too. Failure can be a wonderful teacher and so can be your blind spots. Life can teach you a lot, if you are willing to pay attention.
The question is- Are you willing to learn? Are you ready for your teachers?
P.S If there is one movie you must watch on teacher’s day, let it be ‘Dead Poets Society’…and if you can read and understand this, go thank a teacher.
Happy Teacher’s Day!
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