(A True Story)
Date : August 09, 2020.
I know, today is not ‘Teachers Day’ in India. Neither it is Guru Purnima. But… There are some teachers who don't need a special day to be remembered. They are etched in your memory forever. And today, on a normal ordinary day, I will talk about one of the most special teachers of my life. His impact on my life was such that it changed me forever.
I will not disclose the name of my sir, but if you were a student of his, you will definitely be able to relate.
I still remember that day clearly. The most reputed Physics Lecturer of our coaching centre where I used to go for taking NEET coaching had left the institution suddenly. He used to teach our batch as well. So, we all were so worried that what will happen to us now, considering Physics is the toughest subject.
But then, the manager of our institute informed us that a new teacher has arrived, and he will take our class. We were like… Okay… let's see what happens.
But then, we saw a young lad, hardly 5-7 years older than us, entering the classroom. And he basically made us revise what was already taught by our previous teacher. In short… there was nothing special in him.
We were very disappointed. Considering the fact that the best Physics teacher used to teach us earlier, we started complaining. We informed the centre manager that we are not satisfied. But, the centre manager requested us to give him some time.
Next day, he came with a big book in his hand, and a few notes, and started giving lecture. This time, he was teaching us a new topic… nicely. But still, it was not creating the effect that our previous teacher used to create. That day, by the end of the class, our impression of him had changed from low to average.
Next day, he came and told that from today onwards he will give us homework of 15 questions regularly from whatever he will teach. The student who will not do the homework will be severely punished. Many students took the word ‘punishment’ lightly. They laughed and said, he can't punish us, the centre will not allow that to happen. But… he was adament to transform us into the person we are today! And that day, that class was the first step of that transformation.
Next day, many came prepared for the homework check. While many others, who had took his words lightly, started laughing and saying that he will never check our homework as it will take the entire 1.5 hours. But, he came, checked every individual copy, and punished those who did not do the homework. It took up about 1 hour of his class time, but he did it. For him, time did not matter, our performance did.
Those who were punished in front of the whole class took it as an insult, and said that they will not do the homework tomorrow as well. As a result, in the next class, they were not allowed to sit inside the classroom. From that day onwards, it became a norm. The person who would not do the homework would not sit in the class.
Our parents thought, whatever he is doing is not right. In their mind, it was a ‘torture’. But strangely, whatever he was doing had started effecting us in a very positive way. Within a month, guys who used to fail in Physics started solving tougher questions easily! And by then, he was not an ‘average’ teacher anymore. He excelled in every chapter he taught. And he made us excel with him as well.
By the middle of that term, he had become the most favourite teacher of the class. And by then, most of the students had got habituated with his strictness, or better to say, insults. He would insult us, but we would take it as an opportunity to prove ourselves next time. In short, he had filled within us a strange zeal and zest for studies, through his punishments.
It was the fear of punishment because of which we had started working hard, but with time, that ‘fear’ transformed into ‘spirit’. And that spirit gave birth to success.
When I teach someone today, they often ask, how do I know the things which are not even in the book? Well, that credit definitely goes to him! He taught us every topic in such detail that there was no need to read books anymore! He would start with the simplest sum, would increase the level of difficulty every single time and would not stop till we solve the toughest question of the topic, all by ourselves. And most importantly, we studied with our full attention, due to both fear and interest.
By the end of my two years of study at the institute, he had become the favourite of not only our class but the whole institute. Everyone was eager to learn from him. But, he often used to say, he would never forget our batch, as we were his first batch. And today I can definitely say, no student of our batch would ever be able to forget him as well!
I narrated this story today because, there are many people who think that the teacher who punishes is a bad teacher. But, there is a famous saying, ‘The finest steel must go through the hottest fire’. And from my personal experience, I have seen a teacher changing many students life by his fluency of teaching the toughest subject in the most interesting way. But, there is no denying the fact that, he was one of the strictest teachers I ever faced.
I don't know how many of you will get inspired by reading his story. But he inspired me a lot, both as a human and as a teacher. He inspired me because he was not at all a good teacher when he started teaching. But he transformed into one of the best I have ever known by the end. He improved… daily, and he inspired us to improve with him. An ideal teacher is someone who has the ability to inspire you to improve yourself, and he was a master of it!