(To all my teachers, teacher friends, teachers in the becoming and to all my students)
In layman’s parlance, there aren’t many differences between a student’s life and a teacher’s. The only difference lies in displacement and the rest is virtually all the same, at least in my case. In retrospection, I used to sit snugly on my chair, half in a trancelike state and the other, dreaming big time while my teachers bore all the pain in the world to stand and speak almost all day. And now that I am a teacher too, instead of sitting, I stand and speak while it is my students who have taken my much-coveted place—they snugly sit on their benches, half in a trancelike state and the other, dreaming big time while I bear all the pain in the world to stand and speak almost all day. That’s the only difference, no less and no more—as I said, in layman’s parlance.
However, on taking a cursory tour back to my school days, it is obvious to me that I was oblivious of what it was like to be a teacher then. A life of a teacher at the chalkface was, more or less, a mystery to me. Mystery because they were a bunch of people who I couldn’t understand beyond their stereotyped position-TEACHER!
And as the fate would have it, the mystery that hinged at the back of my mind unveiled on its own. Post-high school, I was indiscriminately craning for everything that came my way like every anxious post-high school kid. I was a bit worried then for I did not fare satisfactorily in the board exams as I had a plan to re-do the exams the following year. Perhaps I was obsessively ambitious then but I knew the marks I would obtain that year wouldn’t be good enough to align me with my dreams. Moreover, I was a Commerce graduate and it would not be lucrative for me if I look for jobs or trainings alike right after Grade XII. Quite surprisingly, as the things slipped out of my clumsy hands, I left everything to destiny. And destiny had it that I should take up teaching and that I humbly accepted. This prompted me to set off for my apprenticeship to one of the isolated pockets. The rich and rapturous experiences thereof still flicker across the corridors of my mind today and I know they would remain immaculately etched in the annals of my fond memories until I breathe my last. Those eight months of refuge I sought in teaching were the best time of my life. Why do I say those were my best time? It is because those were my most terrible moments. You see, I was raw akin to a chick that had just popped out of its shell and seeing the world for the first time. And to aggravate the matter, I was to fend for myself.
It isn’t a mere account of how I survived. Rather, it is about the metamorphosis that I came over in myself. Those eight months persuaded me that I could never be a teacher in all certitude. Even if I became one, I would be a bad teacher. And becoming a bad teacher is no-man’s-land. Myriads of thoughts bottlenecked the traffic in my mind as to why I had opted for it at the first place. I even felt that it had been so foolish of me trying to fit in the Cinderella’s shoes like her two desperate sisters. I almost came to a point of giving it up for good. But a part of me wanted to hold on even when it meant clutching at straws. And once my training began in the Samtse College of Education, I came to know my eight months of struggle was already training per se. Those hard times I had undergone were a mere catalyst so much needed for transformation, for metamorphosis. Unconsciously or subconsciously, I had already fallen for this profession from day one of my apprenticeship. It is a beautiful field and those who drank from its pool could only behold it. It is a mystery otherwise to the mere onlookers. The vacuum between where my apprenticeship ended and where my training began from was the moment of soul-searching. And then I realized the mystery had been demystified—it was all about a crumb of hope, a grain of inspiration and a desire to share our dreams and dances, our aspirations and anticipations, our hopes and happiness... with the young minds. That was it and I knew I was indeed in the right discipline. And the training that ensued was only a formality and to perfect some of the best tricks of this trade.
I realized only then that destiny best ushers us to our niche when the dreams callously close all their steel doors and render us clueless. It was by default that I am here and it is my sheer decision to stay here until I grow old enough to retire. Now that I am a teacher myself, it’s easier and apt for me to empathize with all my teachers’ every action and reaction they had with everything I, as a student did back then. They had done their jobs well because they reached me here, safe and sound. Now it’s my time—I will keep the streak going!!! Thanks to their boundless wisdom and indefatigable inspiration that I am so proud to be one like them today.
HAPPY TEACHERS’ DAY!!!
(Written on last Trs.' day celebration.)