Proud to be a teacher

Fr PS Varghese
Principal, MGM College, Dimapur

“Better than a thousand of days of delight less study is one day with a great teacher.”    

Getting to spend one day with a great teacher is better than gazing at a thousand pages of delight-less text. Despite the fact that the above-mentioned lines are Japanese proverbs, they are very relevant today, especially during Teachers Day.

The late Dr Sareoppally Radhakrishnan (1888-1975) was a true teacher par excellence who became a statesman and held the prestigious position of Vice-President, and then the title of the first citizen of India. Among his visions was to dedicate his birthday, 5th September, as Teachers' Day in India, is a memorable day. 

Remembrance, its beauty is beyond words. The beauty of certain religious customs is solely built upon remembrance. An example is the Orthodox way of worship. It is based on memories of Lord Jesus, His incarnation, His crucifixion, death, and most importantly His resurrection. Almost all religions follow this legacy. The beauty is still alive. 

As we remember Dr S Radhakrihnan on this auspicious day, it is not just about remembering him alone; rather, it is about remembering all of the gurus who have taught us from Nursery to Higher Education. 

With a great teacher, wisdom flows.  There are times when mere presence itself is edifying.  The way they teach verbally and non-verbally with gestures, with words; even with their silence is one way they teach.  

We are certainly missing such great teachers.  It was Jesus who was a great teacher.  Jesus answered very patiently and prudently when paresis and sadhukis asked him twisting questions and caught him in what he was saying.  

According to Indian ethos, education is for enlightenment. It is possible to achieve enlightenment in the presence of a guru in silence or solitude.  A great teacher can delight their students not just for one day, but forever.  

Our studies are sometimes less enjoyable for a variety of reasons. It's not the big building, it's not more comfort zones, and it's not the luxury that makes a study more enjoyable. 

My life has been influenced by a few of my teachers. One among them is Teacher Rajamma my class-10 teacher, Rev Fr Dr KM George. While we were studying there at Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kottayam, Kerala, I was delighted to get two or three classes in one semester, but it was delighted.  Rev Fr Dr Reji Mathew, the Principal of Nagpur St Thomas Orthodox Theological Seminary was another delighted instructor.  Rev Fr Dr Bijesh Philip was another amazing mentor. 

I got three to four classes on research and writing papers from my research guide, late. Dr. C. P. Alexander, former Vice-Chancellor of ICFAI University, Dimapur, Nagaland during the coursework period. It is still cherished and delighted. It was he who taught me the art of writing. It is my humble remembrance and homage to his soul.  

The quality counts more than the quantity.  Mentors, how many of our students can recollect their memories of our classes.  Whenever we prepare for a class, remember the wisdom our teachers have shared with us. In spite of their proficiency in their subject, the amount of effort they put into their work is what makes it rewarding.  

Lecturers alone are no longer sufficient to educate a student in today's world.  To make our class a delight, we need to read more, take more notes, and prepare more.  Little extras like this make a big difference.  You should not rely only on notes and explanations that are centuries old.  The combination of a contemporary outlook, a good worldview, and outcome-based education has a lot to say everywhere. 

Education of the heart and education of the head are inextricably linked. According to Aristotle, knowledge, and wisdom should be incorporated into the welfare of the community with a compassionate heart. 

To a great extent, teachers' inherent qualities influence their students. A teacher's compassion, love, care, and sympathy will automatically influence his/her students to a great extent.
“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”

Let Aristotle's words serve as an eye-opener for all of us.  Happy Teacher's Day to all the wonderful educators out there.