A note to my teachers

Teaching has been a profession that has been in the family for a long time. My maternal great-granddad and paternal grandmum were both distinguished professors (of commerce and zoology respectively). My mum herself made a career in education working in early childhood and special needs education. I’d reckon a bit of these teaching genes made their way to me for I too have had a stint teaching.

This post is not about about that. This post is a reflection of being a student thought the lens of my experience as a teacher. Being on the other side made me realise the enormity of the tasks that lay before teacher, something we as students often (mostly?) take for granted.

To my teachers in primary school

Thank you,

For dealing with my cranky, ready-to-cry self
For comforting me when I felt out of place
For helping me clean up after myself (come on, primary school, we all had accidents, don’t lie)
For being patient and listening to me because I had hardly mastered any language
For helping me overcome the basics and being able to get a grip numbers and eating on time
For helping me make friends when my tendency was to clam up
For infusing masterly levels of creativity into everything you taught
For having the almost magical ability to dumb down concepts into bite sized information
For making me look forward to school (not all, but most days of the week).

Thank you for being the first ones to hold my hands.

To my teachers in middle school

Thank you,

For putting up with a lot of questions (more specifically “Why?” and “Why not?”)
For taking a lot of extremely un-thought out comments on the chin
For accepting a very diverse way of thinking and instead of ruling it out, honing and shaping it
For recognising that my interests did not lie squarely with those of the rest of my class
For giving me the resources to pursue those interests
For dealing with angsty, teen outbursts and defiance of authority in a calm and non-retaliatory manner
For allowing me to take on responsibilities and learning that my actions did have consequences (oh boy, I still remember those consequences)
For giving me all the air time I needed for my endless curiosity to be satiated
For showing me new ways to think.

Thank you for showing me that I am my own person.

To my teachers in high school

Thank you,

For being able to put up with 36 different personalities in one class (not mine, all of us students’ individual ones)
For entrusting me with responsibilities and showing me how to be answerable to others
For patiently listening to my (insignificant in hindsight) woes and advising me
For reminding me of my duties when I tended to forget them
For teaching me how to really speak what’s on my mind fearlessly
For helping me break free of myopia and making me understand what matters in the long run
For trusting me enough to get things done
For reassuring my parents about my choices when I wasn’t able to
For dealing with petulance especially when it was out of place.

Thank you for treating me as a young adult.

To my teachers at university and beyond

Thank you,

For dealing with my endless what-if scenarios with the patience of saints
For not losing your temper at my dissent for the sake of dissent
For truly calling me out on my BS (which happened to be far more frequently than I’d have liked)
For ignoring the times I solved the crossword in class and then giving me your own time to catch up on what I missed
For not mollycoddling me so that I gained independence in thought
For giving me the confidence to speak my mind in the midst of moral turpitude
For letting me forge my peculiar identity when all forces wanted to standardise
For renewing confidence in me when I had none
For fortifying my moral compass.

Thank you for taking off the training wheels and letting me take on life independently.

I may have left my last place of learning over 5 years ago, but still remain a student. I know that I will find more teachers on the way and to each of them I will owe a debt of gratitude. Sir Isaac Newton’s words resonate strongly with me:

“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

To all the teachers in my life, past, present and future; appointed and unappointed; known and unknown, thank you for making me who I am today.



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Tanmay D

Tanmay D

I'm a 29 year old son, brother, friend and colleague who enjoys reading, playing video games and complaining about never having enough time. Read my thoughts!