To Sir With Love

  - February 19th, 2008 by Shalini Nambiar | Posted in General   2 Comments »
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‘To Sir with Love……..what can I give you in return……’ The words of these songs long echo in one’s ears reminding one of the classroom every September, this week marks an annual ritual of living vicariously.

I knew it the instant I walked into Mrs Ghosh’s  kindergarten class in DehraDun that   I’m going to be a teacher. There was something about that classroom that was so wonderfully exciting, so inviting, so safe. It wasn’t just the room, of course, but the warmth, enthusiasm and dedication of a brilliant teacher who greeted me as I cautiously peeked into that room for the first time.

It was a wonderful year! Behind every vivid memory there is the teacher who told us stories and taught us to tie our shoes, took us to the pond to see the tadpoles, and helped us learn how to share, put things away and wait for our turn. She provided a learning environment rich in colorful and stimulating resources and activities, and yet had the grace and patience to allow me to indulge my preoccupation with “singing songs” even when it was the only thing I wanted to do for weeks at a time. She handled the rare discipline problem with gentle good humor and managed to treat each of us as though we mattered more than anything in the entire world.

This is  a time when a former student’s thoughts can fill with memories of teachers who made lasting impressions.

I rememeber  the first-grade teacher whose enthusiasm for Manvi and Reena helped to instill a lifelong love of reading. The seventh-grade science teacher who posted a memorable sign under his clock stressing the importance of paying attention: “Time will pass. Will you?” And the high school journalism teacher whose zeal for newspapering propelled several students into careers in that field.

If only these and other teachers knew how far-reaching their influence has been.

Not all teachers are found in classrooms, of course. September is also a good time to honor all the unofficial teachers everywhere who may not even be aware of the inspiration they impart..”

“Teacher” and “mentor” are conscious, deliberate roles. But an inadvertent teacher can be anyone – a friend, a boss, a casual acquaintance, a relative, a stranger. So unassuming is their instruction that it may take years or decades before a recipient realizes the lasting import of the gifts they bestowed.

These unwitting gifts prompt an appreciative recipient to ask: What can I give to someone? A word of encouragement, a compliment, a skill, an idea that might open new doors?

Teachers!!!!I dedicate this article to you because many a times you do not realize that you are   the decisive element in the classroom. It is your personal approach that creates the climate. It is your  daily moods that make the weather. As a teacher, you   possess tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or an instrument of inspiration. You can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is your   response that decides whether a crises will be escalated or de-escalated, and child humanized or de-humanized.”

Too many people in the general public continue to think that teaching is a job that anyone can do. Wrong! Teaching is a special calling. Teaching is a mission

Teaching has been my life. Teaching is the career I chose and would choose again as my life’s work in a heartbeat.

The workload, at times, is nearly unbearable– but it is tremendously satisfying work. Through the work  , teachers are able to create situations where others could achieve success, where others could begin to realize their potential as learners and human beings. Teaching is well paid every day by the positive achievements, by the appreciation received from those you serve. You have the greatest “job” in this world…You are their teacher and mentor!!!

Thanking others for intangibles they didn’t even know they’d given is often impossible. But I sometimes think of my grandmother’s wise response whenever we fretted that we would never be able to repay her many acts of generosity.

“Pass it on,” she would say simply.

That’s good advice any time. But it shines with particular meaning in September, when the back-to-school air is filled with hope and rich possibilities.

Shalini Nambiar
Excelsior American School

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February 19 2008 03:24 pm | General

2 Responses to “To Sir With Love”

  1. Parul, Seattle WA Says:

    “You can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is your response that decides whether a crises will be escalated or de-escalated, and child humanized or de-humanized.”
    I loved that statement…As a mom, and an ex-student, i wish we could put it on a plaque or make it like the hippocratic oath for teachers.

    No, teaching is not a job anybody can do, it takes a special kind of person with an immense capacity for love and patience.
    You reminded me of a couple my teacher – let me name names 🙂 a Mrs Parmar in 6th grade and Mrs Henvi in the 5th, who went out of there way to make me believe in myself and be more confident with their faith in me…
    Hats off to all teachers!

  2. she Says:


    I’m just writing to make you know of the notable encounter my friend’s princess experienced reading through your site. She came to find lots of pieces, including what it’s like to have a great giving heart to make certain people with no trouble full…

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