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499. The Ideal Teacher

Having completed two years of Ph.D. in one of the most famous American universities, a young man returned to Calcutta where he had been brought up from birth. He is a Tamilian whose parents are sophisticated and idealistic. On seeing an advertisement for teachers from a primary school and on learning how they plan their syllabus, he was inspired by the idea of teaching there. And his parents endorsed his aspiration. He visited the school and found the educational environment exceeded his expectations. He stayed there for one year teaching. He entered the spirit of the founders more than others, perhaps better than the management and founders. At once, he became popular with the kids. His popularity was unparalleled. At the end of the year, he sought to continue his education back in the US. He was admitted into Ph.D. in the 3rd year in his parent institution.

The school had only three standards. They had no formal exams, and did not believe in giving homework. Nor did they punish the children. This freedom opened up the educational potential of the children and was severally expressed, positively and negatively. No child in the class would sit properly. They would take any lounging position that suited them. Nor would they listen to the teacher if he was not sufficiently interesting. Several types of behaviour which would be impermissible in any disciplined atmosphere were exhibited. But the sense of competition was largely absent. Children could open the Junior Encyclopedia and read fluently. They developed the capacity to think and understand on their own. The habit of memorisation was given the go-by. As soon as they were promoted to the 4th standard, and the parents bought the text books, the best boy in the class read his entire English textbooks in the week before school opened.

The ideal teacher gave an affectionate nickname to most of the students. At the year end birthday party held in his honour, he gave each child in 2nd and 3rd standard a personal gift and message.  Even while he was here, his children were in correspondence with him through email. After he left, one girl started sending him email daily. He not only replies to the students without fail, but enters into email correspondence with any child who writes him. Their birthdays are special occasions for him. He sends the birthday child a gift by courier and plans to do so to all the 50 children this year, even after joining his Ph.D. course. He wishes to find this school as many teachers as possible who are of his type. He believes that anyone who comes to know of this school would prefer to work here in preference to his professional pursuit. Here he is known as Chari. Chari has discovered the Spirit of education in teaching.

story | by Dr. Radut