When I joined my first job, I still had the school-girlish tendency to expect guidance and spoon-feeding. Very quickly, I was ‘taught’ to expect otherwise. I learnt the hard way to anticipate and keep myself abreast of most things. One had to ask in order to learn. Very rarely did people ‘teach’. Still, a few odd things impressed me – words like “You respect my time and I’ll respect yours” by an instructor to a couple of people late for her class, “It’s those small things which can topple your effort. So make sure you tie up those itsy-bitsy loose ends first before focusing on the bigger issues,” by my very sage instructor who trained me during my first job, “A lazy employee is like a family black sheep” by a former project manager.
It’s startling how I remember most the things taught during my school times. Basic concepts of Geometry and Algebra (no Arithmetic though :-(....), how to write essays, how to make primary, secondary and tertiary colours, photosynthesis, plant and animal cells, staple food of North and South India, so on and so forth. However, the memory of my PU and Engineering days are loaded with blanks. And the conclusion I could draw was – either I was very studious during my school-days or the teachers were very diligent in their job. Considering the fact that I was an above average student (ahem-ahem!), the latter conclusion makes more sense.
Most of school life was interspersed with teachers who make the most boring subjects interesting. I still remember my primary school Science teacher who used to conduct experiments in the class in order to demonstrate a few aspects such as gravity, suction, capillary motion etc. I can still recall the excitement with which we used to await his class, and the effortless pin-drop silence that ensued during his experiments. And he did not even have to raise his voice for that :-)!
Then again, there were teachers who were so encouraging (and understanding) about one’s mistakes (at homework or otherwise), that one could only be compelled to learn from the mistakes and perform better. My English teacher was one such gem of a person who never reprimanded a student in rough language, and treated us as responsible kids rather than ‘simply students who had to be taught a lesson”. And so was my Sanskrit teacher who patiently taught us this completely new language of which we had no clue at all. This explains why I still remember the (dreaded) shabdas in Sanskrit :P!
As I progressed to the upper echelons of education, I encountered teachers who taught only for the sake of teaching, who viewed us merely as ‘undisciplined brutes’ and treated us as such, and who cut us to the core in public by their caustic remarks. I can only ponder about my lack of interest in studies – was I so unmotivated by my teachers so as not to understand the subjects, or was it plain disinterest, or were the subjects themselves too ‘heavy’ to be completely understood? My safest bet is that it’s a combination of all three.
It's been quite some time since I've posted something worthwhile. My apologies to my readers :-)! I've been preoccupied by a variety of tasks, incongruously insignificant, yet occupying quality time and adding up to a huge chunk in my day-to-day life. And every reflection-at-the-end-of-the-day leaves me wondering “What on the earth did I do today?” only to be reminded of the sage words of my instructor – small tasks are indeed preoccupying! Truer words were never remembered this often :-)!