Day 23:I haven’t written my gratitude posts in a while. It’s not that I didn’t paint them, but I did get off tracked a bit. These drawings were made in August last year, so it’s been a while…Moving on, admittedly for the longest time, I wanted to do nothing with teaching, because my mother has been a teacher for over 30 years. I always thought, teaching is a thankless job. Also, my mother’s story was different but I’m not ready to drift on to that yet.
The absolute worst teachers I’ve had were in my engineering school in Pune. And my performance suffered too. They didn’t care whether they were understood, spoke a regional language in a publicly funded school, constantly passed on judgement, displayed blatant sexism, were uninspiring and basically made me lose faith in teaching in general. The good news is, I still decided to go to school after that, twice, driven by my sheer motivation that came from the core. I’ve also met the most wonderfully inspiring teachers who showed me that despite the thanklessness, the kindness stays. And this post is just to acknowledge one such person, who is like family, no less.
The reason I developed a sense of childhood accomplishment took roots in 5th standard, when my class teacher began to make me believe in myself. As I drew sedimentary rocks on my small science notebook, her ‘excellents’ began to give shape to my self-confidence. I needed it then and I need it now. I have often had to struggle with confidence internally many times since. But at the core of my ability to think that I deserved all the good things and a feeling of ambition came from childhood. It does so for most people, but my childhood also had a pre/post Srinagar break which was unpleasant and unruly. I felt that I had finally arrived and settled in with Meena Ma’am’s encouragement. Everything in school felt better afterwards. At that age, it was hard to be manipulated into liking someone. It was a true feeling of being my class teacher’s fan and her favorite student.
We’ve known each other plenty decades between me attending her wedding with Shashi uncle and them being present for every big step I undertook from my first travel abroad to my wedding and also my first workshop! They’ve always been ready with beautifully handwritten greeting cards and pride in their eyes. I wish more teachers realized the power they have over someone’s life. And I wish we were more vocal about how grateful we truly are.
I meet them and want to do better so that they’re more proud of me. I can’t wait to get my handwriting back for more “goods” :-).