Laitonjam Valentina *
A few weeks ago, I was at the other side. The side where all I had to do is listen to lectures, scribble down notes, give meaningful nods even if my mind fiddles aimlessly as to whether Bella will choose Edward or Jacob and yet pretend as though I was deeply engrossed in the subject.
Until a few days back, my schedule was to get up 15 minutes before class, take a quick shower after waiting for my turn in the hostel bathroom, put on something cool and casual, grab my bag and rush for class and watch my teachers perform.
Yes.... I was always fascinated by their performance, the way they handled a bunch of inquisitive minds with an air of authority. It was intriguing. All I needed to do was be in the class little realising how things change drastically and irreversibly when we are in the other side of the table.
But now that I have became "the performer" I have to admit that I have never ever studied so much – may be not to embarrass myself in front of my so called "students". I was nervous as I stood in front of the entire class with a pair of 60 eyes all fixed on me…I wonder what they thought of me as I touched the board armed with duster and chalk with a Ms. Know-it-All attitude.
I was under strict scrutiny by the 60 pair of eyes – the way I dressed, my body language, my accessories and hairstyle and everything about me.
I may be lucky enough to get a handful of students who admire me and an equal number who turn b****y 'coz that was what I did during my college days and I am sure today's collegians are far ahead in terms of fashion statements and gossips (Sorry guys, no offence!!) and even in competitive spirit as well (Cheers!!).
Well, I started with a smile coz someone told me that it's the best icebreaker. I marched confidently towards the podium even if my hands were turning cold, took their attendance and began "Class, do you know my name?" The response was a vivid "No". I introduced myself and told that I belonged to Manipur. Silence.
Nobody seemed to know where it is. So I grabbed the opportunity to update these ignorant minds about North East India and told them to name the NE states. It was chaotic with West Bengal, Guwahati etc forming separate states according to them. Whatever happened to all the geography they learnt and I felt the strong need to update their syllabus that very moment. Nevertheless, they were a bunch of dynamic, talented and restless crowd ready to learn at new opportunities and defy against odds as well.
The students were dead silent trying to comprehend what I had just drawn when out of the blue someone's cell rang "You and I in this beautiful world...". I felt a feeling of dejavu sweeping all over me. Earlier it was me blushing and cursing whoever called in such odd hour and now it was me again getting irritated.
Intriguing isn't it – the sudden change of societal roles? I have to be more responsible and matured so to say and I have to bid adieu to my innocence, easy going attitude and above all my precious, precious student life and say Hello to scheduled time tables, authority and of course more workload.
Earlier it was cool Tees and faded jeans, now I've to welcome formal wear; I got a change in my wardrobe. Earlier I had to wait outside my Professor's chamber stealing quick glances and wondering why on earth do they always have to be busy all the time, now I am led inside the room and even given a seat (Incredible isn't it??). Earlier nobody recognised me, now wherever I go I always meet someone wishing "Good morning Ma'am" or "Good afternoon Ma'am". So much for a change!!
With all this respect or recognition or influence or change whatever you call, I have been assigned a certain set of responsibilities…to nurture the minds of these dynamic students and I know I've to be cautious coz they can be easily misguided, discouraged and disheartened.
I just wish myself that I'll be able to relate with them in the best way coz I am prepared to fulfil this responsibility and a hope to do well. And with all these overwhelming feelings of recognition and responsibilities, a sudden gush of feeling of gratitude has swept me for all my beloved teachers who have moulded me right from my first alphabets – who taught me how to hold my pencil in the right way to the wonderful beings who nurtured my personality, moulded me, scolded me and who ultimately made me the person I am today.
Its all coz of you and now that I am blessed enough to be addressed as "teacher" by these young minds I just wish that I'll be as good as you were and competent enough to continue the legacy of excellence and dedication that you have entrusted.
May be it has been rightfully said "With great power comes great responsibilities" :)
Happy Teachers Day to all the wonderful souls we call teachers!!
* The author is working as Teaching Personnel in Department of Human Development and Family Studies, GB Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, Uttarakhand
This article was webcasted on August 18, 2010.
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