Sivakalai- a young woman I met when I started teaching; from a small village in TN kerala border, a simple unassuming woman who had learnt Carnatic music at the village temple from a retired professor, and one who had managed to come to madurai and graduate from the the music college there. She was my children's music teacher. I was amazed to see how she repeated a single line of music several times and never moved on till the kids sang it perfectly. From her I learnt that a teacher's job is complete not when she has finished teaching but only after the student has finished learning.
Philomena Gomez - She is a physics teacher at a school where students study in tamil. The state government desists from creating a post for English teachers. Instead it demands that teachers who handle other subjects should teach at least one class of English. Everday, as we shared the ubiquitous Indian commute, the auto, I got to interact with her and we talked about teaching. What I learnt from her is something truly remarkable. Passion for teaching is not a quality found in teachers from cosmopolitan, elite, progressive schools.It was something that could be found in schools with thatched roofs where kids from, poor, backward families studied too..
Grace Rebecca - We would argue all the time. One day I was telling her that I was going to help one particular group of students instead of a set of brighter ones, as we had originally planned. "Oh what about the other group?" she asked. "O, they are bright, they can manage. It is the weak students, who need a lot of motivation." "Who said so? Everyone needs motivation. Even smart ones." Made me think.....
Mala Parameswaran - I could say she had the greatest impact on me.I had the opportunity of travelling with her and a group of students for a couple of days. I noticed that she maintained a distance with her students at all times. This way she was able to maintain her objectivity in assessing all their actions and keeping them under control.I know all about mingling with students and having fun. But this lady was more interested in providing the best leadership and being a role model, and showed me how a teacher's duty goes far beyond that of explaining concepts and honing skills.She brought about the biggest change in my attitude.
There are others too. Enough for now