Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Teacher's Life

Detail from the Card made for
his teacher by my son.
[This is a work of fiction, though it is based on several of the wonderful teachers I knew.]

"Whatever I am today is because of you."
"Ma'am, you taught me to believe in myself."
"You were such an example to me."
"When I look for a school for my children, I look for teachers like you."

At my retirement party, the outpouring of affection from generations of my students brought tears to my eyes. All these years of believing I was a failure, because I knew I was unsuccessful in teaching my students trigonometry and calculus. When actually, I had achieved something far more important. I had taught my girls to take their rightful place in the world.

A drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

[September 5 is celebrated as Teacher's Day in India, in honour of the second President of India, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan. Two years back, I had ranted about how we had forgotten him and other leaders who deserve to be remembered, here.]


Mason Canyon said...

Teachers do teach more than just what is in the books. They can inspire so much in us. Love the card you son made, cute. It's good to celebrate a day just to show appreciation for what teachers have done and or doing.

Thoughts in Progress

Margot Kinberg said...

Rayna - Thank you for this beautiful story! I've been in the world of education for a long time, and I've always tried to help the teacher-candidates I work with understand what their roles really are. Your story does that far better than I ever could.

Haddock said...

So true and touching.

Mary said...

Truly good teachers are a gift to the world. They in turn pass on their gifts to others who move through our lives.
Beautiful story.

Clarissa Draper said...

Oh, that brought to mind many of the wonderful teachers that influenced my life. Some who made me the woman I am.
Thanks for this.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I agree with Mason - they do more than teach. What we learn from our teachers can influence our life for a very long time.

Jenn said...

I think your drabbles are amazing. How long do they take you to write them?

It's awesome when we take time to celebrate our teachers. They work so hard and get so little credit sometimes. Thanks for this reminder.

Jan Morrison said...

Wonderful piece.
I think teachers totally rock...and so do you, Natasha!
Jan Morrison

Boonie S said...

Fiction it may be, but it’s very true.

Have a nice day, Boonie

Kittie Howard said...

Hi, stopping by from Karen's BBQ. Love Indian food, love India (have been serveral times) and want to learn more about India. So happy I found you. Nice to meet you *waves*.

I'm a teacher. Thank you for your activism!!

Journaling Woman said...

I am in the teacher's world as their IT person. I've known many over the years. Education opens the eyes of children.

Great story, BTW.


Jules said...

Lovely tribute to both the teachers and the students. The students seemed to learn their lesson well :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

LTM said...

good teachers make happy students AND parents. We've only had one less than ideal teacher, and it'll sure make you appreciate the good ones so much more... good stuff~ :o)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

That's a wonderful homage to teachers. And I LOVE that card your son made. *smiles*

slommler said...

Beautiful story!! And a great tribute to teachers everywhere!

Jemi Fraser said...

Love the card!! :)

This is a perfect start to my school year which begins on Tuesday - thanks!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

The one I remember most is teh English teacher who took me aside after reading some of my work and told me I had real talent. That sparked my writing and solidified my author dreams!

Tina said...

This former teacher appreciates this drabble very much...those kudos from former students sure are heartwarming. How nice that India has a day to honor teachers!

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I come from a long line of teachers and love this drabble! I dedicated my first book to my 4th grade teacher...the first person to tell me I was a writer. :)

KarenG said...

Funny how the good teachers are the ones you never forget and the bad ones are the ones you never remember. The card is AWESOME, you have a couple of talented boys!

Theres just life said...

This drabble is wonderful and so true. Teachers teach us a lot more than what is in the text books. They have a greater effect on our lives than they and we realize when we are in school.
I am glad that India recognizes this fact and I only wish other places in the world would do this as well.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Mason- precisely. A good teacher can mold character. A bad teacher is often forgotten.

@ Margot- Thank you so much. If that is not the most wonderful compliment I have received in a long time.

@ Haddock- thank you. And thank you too for stopping by.

@ Mary- a good teacher is one of the most wonderful things that can happen to a child, isn't it?

@ Clarissa- So true. We are who we are in part because of our teachers.

@ Alex- and the best part about teachers is that while the good ones leave a mark on you, the bad ones rarely do.

@ Jenn- depends. The physical act of writing takes maybe 15 minutes. But normally, I know exactly what I am going to say before I start to say it.
And teachers are the best, aren't they?

@ Jan- thank you so much. And you i place in the category of teacher, because that you definitely are.

@ Boonie- thank you. And yes, it is based on people and experiences- it is just not 'about me'.

@ Kittie- welcome. I have paid only a fleeting visit to your blog, but will be back. I am not a teacher, but I do come from a long line of teachers.

@ Teresa- being able to pass on, is perhaps the greatest thing of all.

@ Jules- don't good teachers inspire that in their students?

@ Leigh - ditto. Only one teacher who was not a really good teacher. She was quite bad, and it took so long to undo the damage she did to the beautiful baby I entrusted to her.

@ Tricia- thank you, and again.

@ SueAnn- some teachers are the best, aren't they?

@ Jemi- all the best. I am sure you are one of the 'good' teachers that I keep talking about.

@ Diane- aren't you lucky to have had her! Unfortunately, I was good in science and maths, and in India, those two subjects are god, so even if anyone thought I wrote well (which I think I did, for my age), they would never have dared tell me so.

@ Tina- I googled Teachers' Day, and found that most countries have one. We celebrate it religiously in India, or at least, we have a holiday that day every year, and I mark it because teachers were so important to me.

@ Elizabeth- if your 4th grade teacher told you that, you must have been really precocious!

@ KarenG- you said it!!! And I think that is the best thing about teachers- even the bad ones don't manage to do too much damage.

@ Pamela - I have been shaped by some of the teachers I have had.


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