Teachers Who Flunked

This post should actually have gone out on Teachers Day. It is not one of the feel-good posts that one usually sees on such occasions. I read many tributes to wonderful teachers and really, I do agree that teachers can inspire you. But what about those that didn't? The bad apples, the eccentric ones, the one's who should never have been allowed near impressionable minds. Don't they also deserve some mention in blogosphere? So here's to the mean ones, the ones that made my life difficult and who I remember purely for how nasty they were to me!

I'll begin with kindergarten and tell you about Mrs. R. Back then, I had all this restless energy and didn't like sitting in class for nearly four hours every day. All that nervous energy led to a rather peculiar habit of shaking my legs. I mean I shook them like I would if I were operating the pedal of a sewing machine. Mrs. R noticed me doing this. When her admonishing me to stop had no effect, she hauled me up to the front of the class along with my little pink chair. Sat me down in front of the whole class and asked me to shake my legs in front of them. Naturally I was petrified and couldn't move a muscle. The habit was instantly cured. But the humiliation of it has stayed with me to this day.

Then we had this interesting geography teacher in middle school. I forget her name. Now she HATED us. I mean with a vengeance! I have no idea why. She just hated all her students. She'd yell and scream at us during class 'You muff!' or to a friend of mine who had the misfortune of having an older sister in the same school (and who did better than her at studies)- 'You dolt! Look at your sister and look at you!'. With hindsight I realise that she was a pretty good teacher - when she was able to set aside her hatred of us!

Cut to college and up looms the terrifying figure of our department head. A real dragon lady. Not a shred of compassion in her. When she walked down the corridor, we instantly hid behind our textbooks. You were in her good books if you got good marks and fared well in exams. If you didn't, needless to say that she made her displeasure felt.

I remember one year, she raised a huge ruckus because the students didn't wish her on Teachers Day!!! She made a big fuss that we were all ungrateful wretches who didn't think of doing anything for the teachers blah...blah..blah. She managed to gather support from other department heads as well. And so there was a hastily organised general body meeting called by the students union. They begged us to put together some sort of a cultural show and give them some gifts. I kid you not! This really happened.

And so we did just that. Collected money from the students, bought snacks, gifts and rehearsed a song and a dance. Cordially invited her and the other teachers (who looked a bit shamefaced actually) and put up a gala show, all the while cursing her in our hearts. Come Children's Day two months later - what did one get? Zilch!

I didn't write this post to pillory the teaching fraternity. Far from it. I've had some wonderful teachers who have influenced my thoughts and I owe a debt of gratitude to them. But when I saw so many blogs about 'gurur bramha...' and 'to sir with love' I thought - lets flip the coin over and look at the other side. Drona may have been the world's best teacher - but don't forget, he made Eklavya forfeit his thumb.

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17 Responses to Teachers Who Flunked

  1. Mohan says:

    hmmm. There are two sides of a coin as you have rightly pointed. I still see the good in some of the teachers 'Bad Behavior'. Infact because of some exist like that, we are able to differentiate good and bad. We still got to learn how not to be! no?

    Irrespective of them being good or bad, they taught us great lessons in life. We vow a lot to them.. even for bad :) If at all we are good human beings today, most of the credit goes to them. We learned both good and bad from them. So, the famous prayer 'Gurur Brahma...' still holds good :)

  2. Good post! Good template selection. But you've to modify some layout options such as comment form and all. :)

  3. Deepa says:

    Thanx tech ranter. Will do.

  4. ani_aset says:

    damn i cant believe what you guys did in college..and you were expecting things on childrens day in college :P

  5. Some teachers are bad

    One in high school opened my classmates' skirt because it was too short!!

  6. Deepa says:

    Thats just too bad! In fact, I'd even go so far as to say its sexual harassment and mental torture.

  7. With an exception of some wonderful English teachers I have nothing very glorifying to say for average Indian teachers, I have seen a lot of the kinds you have described.

    One of them used ask : "What kind of children have your parents produced?!" when we were in class 4, in a school in Jaipur! I now feel she didn't think, she just had no patience and no fondnes for kids, so if the class was noisy she let us have it.

  8. With an exception of some wonderful English teachers I have nothing very glorifying to say for average Indian teachers, I have seen a lot of the kinds you have described.

    One of them used ask : "What kind of children have your parents produced?!" when we were in class 4, in a school in Jaipur! I now feel she didn't think, she just had no patience and no fondnes for kids, so if the class was noisy she let us have it.

  9. True!

    There are many teachers who have taken up this profession by 'accident'... simply 'coz they could not get any other job.. and/or were bored of sitting at home and twiddling their thumbs.

    Education today has become a casualty of Commerce/Politics/Power... sadly!

  10. Sudeshna says:

    This post brings back memories of college days in Asutosh Memorial Hall, Kolkata (1991-94). Our Principal was of the opinion that women should wear sarees to college whereas the guys could wear anything except jeans....We harboured grudges against the discriminatory rule but complied to the same. The Principal himself came in spotless white dhoti punjabi (kurta, stiff in starch , ironed till the sharp edges swished through the air. However, the D-day came when one of our junior in Sociology Hons. was admonished by the Principal sir for wearing kurta to college and was rusticated/suspended (I don't remember what exactly....). We rose to action...bunked classes, sat on a dharna in front of the office of Sir and few were posted outside the college gates....the media were attracted by the hype and within the next day a half page picture of agitated students shouting slogans came in the local daily. Soon, the students' union took up the cause in the hope of gaining some extra votes in the forthcoming elections... Flustered, there were meetings held with our class representatives. After three days the dharna was lifted, the girl was taken back in college and all charges dismissed and since then even the rule of wearing sarees was repealed. Our HOD however suspended us for a day for resorting to dharna without seeking for any other means. He felt that 'Where reconciliation fails, force remains but when force fails....Nothing remains...' I respect the latter for this peice of advice....

  11. Deepa says:

    Wow Sudeshna! I see the activism began rather early :)

  12. Rachna says:

    Good post, Deepa. You inspire me to write my next one on the hated teachers :). Your kindergarten one was really horrid.

  13. Deepa says:

    Rachna: Thanks! I'll look forward to reading your teacher woes next :) And yes, kindergarten was not a good experience. I think I didnt do that well at school owing to these experiences. Then my parents moved to a new city. A new school where the teachers were MUCH better and lo and behold! My performance in class improved.

  14. Your post brought smile in my face.None of them seemed bad.The KG teacher teacher cured you of your habit by shock treatment.

    I stll remember a teacher who slapped me for yawning in his English class and another teacher screaming in pain 'Konnuttaanae' when I held involuntarily an open fountain pen when he came to hit me in class 7 and his palm accidentally collided with the open nib!!That I became a pet of the teacher subsequently is another story!!
    Teachers having soft corner for good students and being stern with the lazy ones is natural as their performance serves as an index to their labour.But your college teacher expecting a wish/gift for Teachers Day was a bit too much and mean.

    Barring the few bad apples,I hold the teacher's profession as the noblest and perhaps least compensated .

  15. Deepa says:

    Rachna: Thanks! I'll look forward to reading your teacher woes next :) And yes, kindergarten was not a good experience. I think I didnt do that well at school owing to these experiences. Then my parents moved to a new city. A new school where the teachers were MUCH better and lo and behold! My performance in class improved.

  16. Some teachers are bad

    One in high school opened my classmates' skirt because it was too short!!

  17. Deepa says:

    Thanx tech ranter. Will do.