In 2018 the image of a 28-year-old young man held tightly by a group of sobbing students caught the eyes of the media. They were holding back their beloved English teacher Bhagawan who was being transferred from their Government High School in Thiruvallur, Tamil Nadu. The students were heartbroken about their teacher’s transfer and they refused to let him leave. Bhagawan their favourite teacher did more than just innovatively teach them academics, he enquired about their family, learnt about the background they came from and inspired them to reach their goals. Bahagawan said he was more than a teacher to them, he considered himself a brother and a friend.
Today we celebrate Teachers Day in India. It is the birthday of the First Vice President and Second President of India, Dr S Radhakrishnan who was an exemplary teacher, dedicating his work towards education. Today is a special day of commemoration and appreciation of our teachers.
We all have had our share of sincere teachers who have made a positive difference in our lives. My husband, Johnson fondly recollects his eleventh standard Botany teacher at school. As a sixteen-year-old teenager wondering about life, he remembers his teacher’s words “No one in this world comes by accident. God has sent each one of you in this world with a purpose”. His words of purpose and meaning in life had been a source of encouragement which stood the test of time.
I too had a host of wonderful teachers, one of whom, I remember who taught us a simple truth – to always say, “Thank you” to everyone who did something for us, including the shop keeper. Till date, I still say a “Thank You” to everyone, including our Shared Auto Drivers. And to my surprise, the gratitude of appreciation returns to me! I have often left smiling to myself, as they, in turn; thank me, even before I thank them.
The Bible tells us that Jesus too was called Teacher or Rabbi. There were several incidents recorded in the Bible where Jesus was acknowledged as a teacher both by his disciples and the people around him. According to Mathew, “When Jesus concluded his address, the crowd burst into applause. They had never heard teaching like this. It was apparent that he was living everything he was saying—quite a contrast to their religion teachers! This was the best teaching they had ever heard”. Luke narrates of a ruler who addresses Jesus as “Good Teacher”. The quality of Goodness is a divine attribute of God which is eternal, unchanging, infinite and perfect. Goodness is personified through Jesus Christ. Jesus as a Good teacher lived an impeccable life in this world. A W Tozer said, “To the frightened, He is friendly, to the poor in spirit He is forgiving, to the ignorant, considerate; to the weak, gentle; to the stranger, hospitable”(1). Like a Good Teacher, Jesus taught us about a life beyond this earthly existence. And as a Good Teacher, He demonstrated what love truly is.
(1) The Knowledge of the Holy, A W Tozer