05 September 2010

Teachers Day in India

This morning, Sreejith Karthikeyan sent the following message on facebook:

"I found guidance, friendship, discipline and love, everything in one person. And that person is you. “Happy Teachers Day”.

He is a very simple young man with excellent behaviour in his late ‘20s from Kollam, Kerala. He has a Master’s degree in Information Technology. He and I were colleagues at a Digital K-12 Materials Development Company.

Sreejith sent this message as this day is celebrated as Teachers’ day every year in India, in memory of Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.

My father, who belonged to the generation next to that of Dr Radhakrishnan, was a dedicated teacher and a headmaster; he passed away on this day in 1997. In the '60s and '70s, poor students across caste and religious barriers, used to stay in the front room of our house for nearly a month just before their school final Board exams. My mother would cook food for them as well when she cooked for us. She would also teach them lessons (I learnt all the rudiments of English language grammar and usage by listening to my mother's teaching using a grammar book written by Wren and Martin.  This book was very popular in those days). My father, an avid lawn tennis player, usually played lawn tennis in the evenings, by forming a small team consisting of himself, the local doctor, village adminstrative officer, etc. Sometimes, he would teach these people how to play tennnis and train them in the game. After playing for at least an hour he would come home. This was his daily routine, in whichever town or village he was posted. After dinner, he would sit for some time with the students to find out as to their progress in studies. At the end of the students' stay, when parents came to take their children back, they would try to offer small gifts (such as paddy), which my parents would politely decline. I vividly remember the brightness in the faces of students and parents, a brightness that reflected a high level of gratitude.  Those were the days when most teachers acted as role models and were respected.

I am not sure as to whether I really deserve Sreejith's nice compliments. What I am sure is that this inspiring message will instil more confidence in my work towards education for all in our global village. I adore youngsters like Sreejith. I wish I had a son like him. 

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About Me

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Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
I am a retired K-12 Education Management Professional. I have worked at different levels in K-12 school systems, textbook publishing, elearning and Education NGOs. I have held memberships in The Association for Science Education (UK), American Association of Physics Teachers and The Malaysian Institute of Physics. I hold a 1st class B Sc Degree in Physics followed by B Ed [English and Physical Science] and M A [Childcare and Education] degrees. My published works include 59 articles in teacher development magazines in India and the US and a book entitled `Creative Classrooms and Child Friendly Schools' (listed in Amazon). This book is almost an anecdotal account of my professional experience in six countries (including Cambodia where I worked as Technical Adviser to the Ministry of Education, Youth And Sports). I served as mentor in the Certificate of Teaching Mastery Program offered by Teachers Without Borders.