Today I saw a couple of lovelorn earthworms, wriggling together in the throes of passion near the kitchen. I picked them up with a dustpan and placed them gently in one of the pots to carry on with whatever they were doing. Hope they give me lots of babies for my pots. Earthworms are good for the earth as they aerate the soil. My maid always looks at me oddly when I do things like these.
It was much later that it struck me that what I had done was a direct result of a lesson taken by a science teacher long time ago in school. I guess all of us have gone through the ‘earthworms are farmers friends’ kind of lessons. What is amazing is that these lessons taught to us during our school days impact our lives even today. And Teachers made a big impression on most of us.
I remember being told regularly to brush my teeth in the night, without much effect. But the day teacher started a lesson on dental hygiene I was more regular at brushing my teeth than the clock. And then lessons in Nutrition...and I finally started taking an interest in vegetables. The lesson on intestinal worms and how they are contracted, made me rabidly fanatic about washing my hands. I still do it religiously. Taking baths daily, combing hair, eating right et al…everything was influenced by lessons and teachers than by a million lectures from my Mom. Such is the power that teachers wield.
I was lucky to have some really good teachers in school. Many of them were unmarried spinsters, totally dedicated to their profession. Many are still serving, the last of the genuine teachers left in the city.
Teaching is a Penguin act. Teachers have to understand complex subjects and regurgitate it so that students understand it. Therefore it is imperative that people with the right aptitude and attitude for the profession be selected for the post. Children emulate teachers sub consciously. Good teachers make for good students and I am not talking about the subject knowledge of the teacher but other subtle things, like the way the teacher interacts with students, the respect or dignity with which he/she handless his/her students.
And lessons in matters like respect for girls etc in school, will go a long way in shaping the way young boys look at girls and women in general. Teaching and school curriculum is a huge opportunity for the government to bring in radical social changes, but how many governments are using that opportunity? Not many I am afraid.