I was checking my Facebook profile today and FB suggested this teacher of mine as a friend. Soumen Chakraborty. A very knowledgeable, intelligent, patient man. He used to teach us Computers back in school. in grades 6-12. He was my teacher for 2 years or so back in 8th and 9th grade. I was a very poor student when it came to computers. I was near flunking and had infact flunked in the internal exams. My mom was worried over the top about my performance in the final exams. She made an effort to go to the school and talk to him and request him in person to take my case specially since she was helpless in this regard and i was no good in helping myself out.
He understood and paid attention to me, and my exercises in the labs. He taught me with patience how to go about programming. And i cleared the exams with average marks of course, but i cleared it. That itself was a triumph, with my condition in perspective.
Today when i look back i wonder and then slowly realise, that it was somewhere in those years and somewhere in what he taught me that i learnt to be more confident about computers. That it was not a wall i had to climb. He brought it down to a fence and then just a mere bump on the ground. He instilled a sense of “it’s possible” in me far as the subject was concerned, which turned into “It’s what i like” in the future.
Today i’m a software engineer with 3.5 years of work experience behind me. I Hope to some day meet him in person and thank him for what he did to change this nervous boy into a confident engineer.
While i added him, FB threw another surprise, one i had quietly wished would hit me but never hoped it would. It threw this other teacher’s name on my suggestion list “Rajeshwar Dubey”. My math teacher in grades 11 and 12. A genuine, knowledgeable, sincere and honest man with a command over the subject rarely seen. I have no idea why but i felt he had a sort of an expectation from me to perform well in his class. He never encouraged me openly, but he did come and stand next to me and gave me a chance when he thought i could do it and never reprimanded me for my mistakes. He was impartial. He treated everyone equal in the class. I remember this guy Ujjawal Kumar, who was a hooligan so to say, but one of my very good friends, in our class. He would just not make an effort to study. But he was brilliant with math, though only when he wanted to. When he was in the mood to solve problems, there were hardly a couple of them in our class who could match his calibre, but when he wasn’t in a mood, he beat the rest in indiscipline.
I remember Dubey sir, talking to him and encounrging him and showing his confidence in him. And while it didn’t change the boy immediately, i did see him studying and solving math problems through the day when the exams got closer. I’m sure it did make a difference. And that display of confidence, of guidance a teacher provides and a student looks for, stayed on with me. And when i looked at his photo on FB my eyes moistened. I choked. Here was a man who taught me more than mathematics. He taught sincerity; by never being late for classes, discipline; by never coming unprepared, strength of knowledge; by knowing the answer to every question and with his ability to explain it to everyone with ease, honesty , integrity ; by never treating students partially and or treating work with less respect, and care; he cried on the last day of the school and hugged everyone of us. For him we were all equal and not categorized as good, average or poor by marks or behavior or by any other factor.
There are few people who make a difference in your life by just being an ideal example. And it’s best when they’re your teachers.
I salute you Teachers!!! A noble profession indeed.