TODAY -

The Guidance We Seek

Natalidita Ningthoukhongjam *

Nirmalabas School Imphal
A file picture of Nirmalabas School Imphal



"One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings."
- Carl Jung


I stopped celebrating Teachers' Day in 2002. That was my final year at Nirmalabas High School, the last time September 5th held any special kind of excitement for me. It wasn't that I disliked all the teachers I met after my tenth class. A combination of factors, ranging from lack of emotional connection with the institution to non-celebration of the event at college, was responsible for my growing detachment. The older I grew, the less significant this day became. The fact that I had taken active participation in organising the function at high school began to feel unreal - a chapter from another person's life. This morning, I was jolted out of my passivity when two of my friends rushed off to wish our teachers. Within minutes, as though an entire decade of non-involvement hadn't passed, I found myself armed with wishes, but more than that, a sense of gratitude that surprised me with its genuineness.

Why surprising? Gratitude should be natural in such cases. The quality of one's life is enriched by education, and education is imparted by one's teachers. Books are just one side of the story; they beg to be complemented by people who can comprehend and explain them. As such, the role of the teacher can never be downplayed - a concept so easily understood that we needn't depend on a moral science textbook to spell it out for us.

Easily understood concepts are often dangerous. We get used to them without bothering to question their validity. Does our gratitude extend to all those who towered over us in the classrooms? Not really. There were teachers who emotionally abused us (or our classmates) and did it on purpose. There were teachers who hit us; others who resorted to verbal attack. There were teachers whose sole method of "educating" was to read out from the text. There were teachers who marked answers based on their length. There were teachers whom no one could take seriously, and others who were downright scary. Upon reflection, I realised that I was thankful, truly thankful, to only a handful, even at high school. The rest were authority figures I would soon learn to forget.

I use the word "towered" because it connotes a status of power. At school, the gap between the teacher and the students is made painfully clear. The rows of benches set off against the staunch desk and chair, the obligation to stand and greet, the fingers on the lips, the brandishing of the textbooks - none of these can be deemed as "innocent". In such an environment, the teacher becomes less of a guide. He or she assumes the form of just another adult, burdened with the responsibility to dictate to the ever-shifting mass of students, a task which must be daunting. How can one connect with over sixty kids who know so little? Where does the motivation to make the session interesting to every single one of them come from? It requires an amount of patience that cannot be measured.

For some, it is possible to have such patience. Not all teachers were bad to us; we also had those who astounded us with their knowledge. We had teachers who could make us laugh, teachers who did not have to depend on the text to make us understand the lesson. We had teachers who were generous with their praise, but also fair with their criticism. We had teachers we wanted to emulate, not mock once they turned their backs on us. We had teachers who gave encouragement instead of belittling us with comparisons. When the festivities are over, the presents distributed and the hall littered with paper streamers and tired balloons, those were the teachers we had really thanked in our hearts.

Where a teacher's role starts and where it ends is a topic which could probably fill a whole book. Having said that, I think it's safe to assume that most of us, whether in the profession or not, have a fairly good grasp of how a teacher must interact with his or her students. We can form opinions because we have all been "taught" by a variety of teachers. We expect them to have sufficient knowledge as far as their subject is concerned. We expect them to finish the coursework on time. We expect them to be impartial and non-judgmental.

Apart from such expectations, we also have certain wants. We want them to give us the freedom to question. True education cannot flourish where the mind is forced to sleep on doubt. A teacher who hinders a student from raising questions deprives both the student and himself or herself of improvement.

We want them to provide feedback as well as accept it. If a student has made an error, the duty falls on the teacher to show what went wrong. In the same way, the student must be given the right to communicate his or her dissatisfaction to the teacher.

We want them to be humane. Compassion is useful to everybody, no matter how old or young. A teacher who punishes a student for not completing homework without trying to find out if the latter needed help is doing nothing right. Nor is it productive to simply ignore students who score below average; neglect is just as bad as a harsh scolding.

Most importantly, we want them to be human. This is perhaps the biggest reason why my gratitude was genuine today. Once a teacher steps off the pedestal and faces you as a "person", the fear disappears. Once fear disappears, confidence appears. Once confidence appears, it gets easier to clarify, learn, absorb and apply.

As long as our teachers remain inaccessible to us, the task of education will be a half-baked affair. Consequently, the celebration of a Teachers' Day will happen merely for the sake of ceremony.


* Natalidita Ningthoukhongjam wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao as part of "The Methodical Magpie"
This article was posted on September 06, 2013.


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.


LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Apangba Manao :: Funga Wari
  • Sangai : Evening @BOAT #4 : Gallery
  • Nupi Lan : Women Agitation, 1939-40 #3
  • Aquatic edible insects of Loktak
  • Pet dogs on a killing spree
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Life is a beauty :: Poem
  • Certificate distribution at East Sikkim
  • Of good governance
  • Let's celebrate womanhood too
  • Mary Kom - Meethoileima : Gallery
  • Cultivation of low Chilling Apple Variety
  • Sangai Fest: Nagaland : Gallery
  • Human Rights Day & Draconian law
  • Oh! Joy of being veteran
  • War and Peace :: Poem
  • Bali Jatra- Odisha's maritime heritage
  • Understanding nature's gift
  • SC stand on victims of rape
  • Nupi Lal Ningsing Lamjel #1: Gallery
  • Chingningthou, Chaonu :: eMing
  • Chengni Khujai: Insurgency Chronicle #2
  • Taboo of Casteism in Manipur
  • Cry of a Dying River - 57 :: Poem
  • Understanding CMA as career
  • Smallest Child's Heart operated at SKY
  • Channeling the drive
  • Big anti-incumbency factor: Lok Sabha poll
  • Lamklai Kummoi Maring Fest #3: Gallery
  • Nupi Lan : Women Agitation, 1939-40 #2
  • Sangai Day 1: Inauguration #4 : Gallery
  • Tibetan Refugees in India :: Review
  • Nongpok Thong Hangba ...opportunities
  • Significance of Panti Neimei
  • Memoirs of love :: Poem
  • Developers required for Jobsenz @ NIELIT
  • On assembly election victory of Congress
  • The day after tomorrow
  • Kudos to rights defenders
  • Sangai Fest: Maibi Jagoi : Gallery
  • NEROCA FC Vs Indian Arrows : Gallery
  • Nupi Lan : Women Agitation, 1939-40 #1
  • Promoting Human Rights: A Perspective
  • Khongji :: Poem
  • Surveying tigers: A big challenge in Manipur
  • Terrorism & Technology - II
  • Silencing significance of Human Right Day
  • Trun up to Parliamentary polls: Issues
  • Deteriorating Tumukhong Village road
  • Sangai Fest: Chareng Len : Gallery
  • International Mountain Day, 2018
  • Loudness not ok please
  • A wounded Pine Tree :: Poem
  • Natural remedies for hair growth
  • BEHS office inaugurated at Motbung
  • Tattooed With Taboos :: Review
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Stone Forest @Yunnan, China : Gallery
  • Eerie, Eerier, Eeriest :: Review
  • Sangai Fest: Muay Thai : Gallery
  • ..that made me fall in love with Naga
  • Research Support Officer wanted
  • Condemns arrest of Journalist Wangkhem
  • Programs at Public Health Foundation
  • Fixing the broken window
  • Head count of dogs !!
  • Pari Imom (Film) #2 :: eRang
  • Matheous Thingbaijam Cycling NE: Gallery
  • Gwangju Prize for Human Rights 2019
  • Tests for allergies
  • Cycling across NE: Matheous Thingbaijam
  • Site Officer/ Manager @R-Square Design
  • Armed Forces Flag Day celebrated
  • A lasting legacy
  • 'Stray dogs' as predators
  • Sangai Day 3: Pung Chollom #2: Gallery
  • Thai Princess @Imphal Airport: Gallery
  • Fashion Show @Sangai Fest #1: Gallery
  • Mysterious Animal Attack of Manipur
  • Khelen Thokchom Media Fellowships
  • Career option in Purchase Management
  • Terrorism & Technology - I
  • Intimidation to media person
  • Ban on hunting migratory birds
  • Manipuri Diaspora in Myanmar #3
  • Sangai Day 3: Pena: Gallery
  • I am a beautiful HIV Virus :: Poem
  • Teacher & Student: Stop eroding education
  • Diaspora unites at Thadou Nampi, USA
  • Deciding Mary's title :: WJ
  • A good man perspective
  • Now people need to extend co-operation
  • Day 3: Kabi Burnan : Gallery
  • Art meets Fashion : Gallery
  • Sangai Day 5: @ BOAT #3: Gallery
  • NAF announces Annual Scholarship
  • Preventing methods to save livestock
  • How Do You Do ? :: Poem
  • Competitiveness of Manipur
  • Shattered dream - "The Smart city"
  • Arrest, release & re-arrest of young man
  • Ningol Chakouba @ MBC #3 : Gallery
  • Sangai Day 3: Thang Ta #3: Gallery
  • Stalls at Hapta Kangjeibung #1: Gallery
  • How do you see 'disability' today ?
  • I don't exist without polo: Rafael Secco
  • The Road :: Poem
  • Students needed for cultural revolution?
  • Hard stand, hard decision
  • Cong rolling up sleeves ahead of LS polls
  • Day 8 : Arambai Langba : Gallery
  • Sangai Day 2: Evening Program #3: Gallery
  • The Midnight Hunter : Analysis
  • Art exhibition "Art meets Fashion"
  • The Haipi Lho-lhun Kut
  • Gaudiya Vaishnavism in Meitei Nation #3
  • Sangai Day 9: Thadou Dance: Gallery
  • Sangai Chef: Cooking Final : Gallery
  • Han Kang's The White Book
  • Sangai Day 4: Yubi Lakpi : Gallery
  • Sangai Chef: Season 1 Cooking Final
  • Disaster Management Course at NEHU
  • Training on Online Fact Checking
  • Clarify : Impact of Act East Policy
  • On the series of Killing of Livestock..
  • Today is World AIDS Day
  • From entrails to body now
  • NESO : abolish Citizenship Bill
  • NEC building cultural centre at Delhi
  • 12th Manipur Polo Intl #1 : Gallery
  • Sangai Day 9: Kabui Dance : Gallery
  • Day 5: Stalls @Keibul Lamjao: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 2: Holi Pala #1: Gallery
  • Importance of TESOL in Government School
  • Farewell to Lt Gen LN Singh, VSM**
  • Waphong Inthan - A failed village
  • On the arrest of Kishorchand
  • Blank Editorial
  • Predator or predators on the prowl
  • Thai Princess visit Kangla #1: Gallery
  • December Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • Sangai Day 8: Mukna Kangjei #1: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 2: Evening Program #2: Gallery
  • Polo grows on you: Col Tarsem
  • Rediscovery of Gangmumei Kamei: Review
  • For whom does she cry ? :: Poem
  • DG Assam Rifles visits Manipur
  • Detention of TV journalist not fair
  • Arrest of 8 mountaineers from Manipur
  • Sangai Day 4: Lai Haraoba #1: Gallery
  • Bangladesh Manipuri Students : Gallery
  • Sangai Day 3: Pung Chollom #1: Gallery
  • We have a balanced team: George Shelton
  • Cry of a Dying River - 56 :: Poem
  • Sangai with Sumo & Samba ?
  • Morphing : An innocent loses her life
  • Bangladesh Manipuri students at Sylhet
  • Thai princess visits Kangla Fort
  • Olympics gold my dream : Mary Kom
  • Exploring the beaten path
  • Opening up Manipur: Visa office assurance
  • Thai Princess Sirindhorn @Sangai : Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2018 #5: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 6: Pherzawl Dance : Gallery
  • Manipuri Maichou 7 :: Book Review
  • Chandon :: Poem
  • Conservation of biodiversity
  • Defers proposed indefinite highway bandh
  • 19th Hornbill Festival at Kisama
  • Sangai stops dancing
  • Mary Kom: Epitome of sporting excellence
  • Sangai Day 5: Evening Prog #1 : Gallery
  • Sangai Day 5: Thailand Dance : Gallery
  • Sangai Day 2: Imphal Art Camp : Gallery
  • Edward Armstrong - USA Polo Team
  • An abrupt journey to an oasis of blue bull
  • Winter Blues :: Poem
  • Technical Internship Training for Japan
  • NPF on Nagaland Deputy Chief Minister
  • A ditch to Technology
  • Border row: India Myanmar, sacrificial lamb
  • Sangai Day 4: Pena Esei :Gallery
  • Day 5: Sangai Chef: Season 1 : Gallery
  • Sangai Day 2: Evening Program #1: Gallery
  • Sangai Festival 2018: Turning into a Mela?
  • Sumo Wrestling: popular event in Sangai
  • Sangai Chef: Season 1: Cooking : Day 5
  • Truths in rumours & humours
  • PANE Conference organized at AUDC
  • Sangai Day 2: Dance from Kamjong: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 3: Thang Ta #1: Gallery
  • Can we have the Sangai festival daily?
  • Platonic love :: Poem
  • IGAR(s) congratulates Mary Kom
  • WPW Syndrome operated and cured
  • NSUD clarification on Nagas' Meet
  • National Highway bandh from Nov 27
  • Prospective candidates of Cong, BJP
  • Sangai Day 2: Sumo Wrestling #1: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 2: Myanmar : Gallery
  • Sangai Day 2: Geet Govinda: Gallery
  • 2017- a watershed year for Manipur Polo
  • Faculties (PG) at Gauhati University
  • Biodiversity for economic development #2
  • Mera Kongchat Mass Rally #4: Gallery
  • Sangai Chef: Season 1 : Day 1
  • GC Tongbra's 'Chengni Khujai'
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Thy name :: Poem
  • Bartending as a career option #2
  • Legal Awareness Programme
  • Tribute to Bhupen Hazarika at London
  • Blessing for Manipur
  • Cherry Blossom & Sangai: beyond Imphal
  • Sangai Fest: Inauguration #2 : Gallery
  • Mera Wayungba #2 : Gallery
  • Ningol Chakouba @Pune : Gallery
  • ChingTam Ningol Chakouba @Goa: Gallery
  • Ningol Chakouba @ Mysore #2 : Gallery
  • Scaramouche, Fandango, Galileo, Figaro..
  • Laija (Film Scenes) #1 :: eRang
  • Ningol Chakouba @ Dubai #2 : Gallery
  • Rajkumar Jhaljit : Sahityaratna 2017
  • Ningol - mapam lamdam : Gallery
  • Mera Houchongba @Konung #3: Gallery
  • Fabrics of Bangladeshi Manipuri: Download
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Eepan Thaba #1: Gallery
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2018 : Download
  • mtM :: Seireng
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #4: Gallery
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS