A teachers moral responsibility is beautifully expressed in a quote by Dr Haim Ginnot! I must remember this always.

About dilipnaidu

An open mind! Love to share my thoughts and a keenness to learn. An engineer and a MBA I had a wonderful innings in the Army and later moved to consultancy and teaching. My current interests are reading, music, growing culinary herbs, playing golf and yoga. I am serious on "Living life less seriously". A warm welcome to you be well and be cheerful always.

25 responses »

  1. Cara Olsen says:

    It gladdens my heart that you take your responsibility as a teacher as seriously as you should. More then their parents, these children learn from you and by you. You are the example.

    Blessings,

    ~ Cara

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    • dilipnaidu says:

      Welcome Cara! Its gracious of you to write such beautiful words on a teachers responsibility. Yes we do need to honor the children’s their trust.

      Thank you
      Dilip

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  2. Sriram says:

    Dear Sir,

    It is to the credit of the 5 year old child that she has taken her teachers’ words seriously. My take is – not every child in the class was similarly affected and not eating chinese food. So to take the credit completely away from the student and put it on the teacher is just massaging the ego of the teachers.

    If only teachers could cause such influence on all their wards, the world would have been a much better / worse place !!

    Lets take the Lord Himself as example – He is teaching and it takes the Elders (bhishma & co) just one glimpse of his Vishwa roopa in the Hastinapur assembly to ‘know’ the truth. Whereas his ‘favorite’ student needed a further 7 chapters and nearly 300 verses to get him to ‘know’ the truth.

    So if the Lord cannot make all learn equally – it only goes to prove that the student is the most important part of the teaching / learning process. AND AGE has nothing to do with it.

    Dhruva was all of 5 & so was his half brother – Narada was guru to both – We dont even know the name of the half brother – but Dhruva is still the shining Pole Star.

    So teachers need to get off this high horse, to approach the issue with a humility that they are mere illuminators of the path. And it is upto the wayfarer to take the credit of the destination (s)he reached using the light!

    I rest my case.

    Sriram

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    • Dilip says:

      Dear Sri … you are right that the little ones deserve all the credit possible … and a teacher in turn is always proud when his/her students do well … once again your insights on the Vishwa roopa and Truth is a revelation to me … as also Druva’s example … they bring home the points with a ‘thumping’ clarity … yes humility is the essence of greatness.

      So refreshing to read your thoughts! Thank you

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  3. Nupur Jain says:

    After a long time, reading Naidu Sir’s blog again,….. and I know what I missed all these days!

    I am delighted to read this post!!!
    Here’s something I got to share..
    I have a niece.. around 5 years old. I took her to a Chinese eat-out recently, and told her to enjoy the feast.
    This angel says.. “My teacher has said that the Chinese dishes are junk food. I refuse to eat them”.. No amount of persuasion, or even threat had her yeild to my command.. this is where a TEACHER impacts the lives of students. She felt that disobeying her teacher is against being a GOOD STUDENT (this was told to her in her school).To this extent, I agree to the quote of the poet.

    With due regards and respect to the points mentioned by Sriram Sir in this comment thread.. I do agree to whatever he says, however, what I also feel is that this particular quote is about that particular age where we remain students and only students. The Teacher talks and we believe. It is about that age where the Teacher can make sure that we reach to the stage of adult learning with the purpose of the same in mind. The foundation period where no one else but the teacher can make sure that we grow up as Adult Learners.

    As far as the times today are concerned, the problem with them is two-sided. One side is obviously the student side, where the umpteen number of distractions, deviating a student from following his Master’s word hinder that ‘learning atmosphere’. This is where Internet and every other child of technology acts as a bane.

    However, there is other side to it as well, which can be conviniently ignored. The MASTER’s side to it. In the modern days, agreed that the students have become happening enough, to take their responsibilities with a pinch of salt. However, the schools/teachers/institutuions are not untouched with this feel.

    There are good examples of teachers not willing to impart the education required, only because it is reserved for those students who approach them personally later on. (private tutions, and sometimes.. even worse… just a ego massage).

    The point with older days was… that in those days.. Kartavya was well explained, Karma was well understood and both were preached and followed by both the Gurus and Shishyas.

    We are well out of those days, which is obvious, and that has both positive and negative implications.

    The positive side to it is that we get the freedom and power to act and react as per our own will. Whereas, the bnegative side to it is that we get the freedom a little before actually learning how to use the freedom.

    Perhaps, in older days, the Shishyas didn’t grow up as fast as the Students of today’s times do. But, then, that is also not entirely the Student’s fault.

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    • Dilip says:

      Hello Nupur,

      Feels good reading your response written so beautifully and with meaning. I entirely agree with your views. Your comments have a triggered my thought process on why I shared this poem by Haim Ginnot.

      All of us playing the role of teachers do have our moods (ups & downs) for any reason whatsoever. Therefore in such moments when we are not our normal selves it is possible that it reflects in our class behavior – impatient, short-tempered and so on. And the innocent unsuspecting students have to bear the brunt for no fault of theirs.

      I keep it as a reminder to myself.

      Trust you are doing well and enjoying your work. Wish you well.

      Cheers🙂

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  4. Bidhya Adhikari says:

    Dear Sir,

    I am really touched by this poem. As a student, I believe the presence of a teacher plays an immense role in the student’s life. The behaviour of the student is highly influenced by what he/she learns in the classroom. The transition from the traditional teacher-student relationship to the modern one has not only created a friendly relation but also strengthened the bonding .

    I would like to thank you sir for being a wonderful teacher.

    Regards,
    Bidhya

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    • Dilip says:

      Hi Bidhya,

      Your observation “The transition from the traditional teacher-student relationship to the modern one has not only created a friendly relation but also strengthened the bonding” is expressed beautifully.

      A teacher must be aware and remain kind and helpful to each and every student always – always.

      Thank you for your kind words. Wish you best!

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  5. Dilip says:

    Dear Sriram,,

    Drona’s story that he favored his son yet Arjuna always outclassed him is very inspiring. I thing that is why Arjuna’s stories always inspire us.

    The teacher being a catalyst is absolutely true. I guess what you mean is that he still must do his best as a teacher only then he becomes a catalyst.

    And the Zen story is something I really love. My favorite quote akin to silence is “I close my eyes so that I can see”. Not sure whose quote it is. The ego smashing part is powerful – yet ego is one of our biggest stumbling factor in making progress.

    I respect your views on students responsibilities and motivations yet hesitant on entirely agreeing with you.

    Thanks for stimulating these thoughts.

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  6. Sriram says:

    Dear sir,

    Any system exists only to ensure that mediocrity thrives. Because by nature systems are designed for loss prevention – as in to ensure the minimum gets done – like the insurance policy. Systems cannot liberate/ create environments for learning to thrive.

    that environment is created by the student’s eagerness to learn. Our scriptures are very vociferous in their stand. Its the STUDENT who is at the center of it all, his enthusiasm to learn provides the guru the enthusiasm to facilitate his learning. so the student brings out the best in his guru.

    It seems Drona was a very partial guru – he had his son as a pupil too along with the kuru princes. Every morning he used to set tasks for the princes to complete before he started lessons and would in that time help ashwattama (his son) learn some secret lessons (by teaching him shortcuts to complete the assigned task quickly). Arjuna figured this out and was always first to finish tasks along with Ashwattama and that’s how he became Drona’s best student – being taught everything that drona had to offer.

    This incident though showing the acharya in poor light – sets the standard for a student.

    if we were to look at science for a metaphor – a catalyst is what the teacher is. the catalyst does not change in a reaction – so does the teacher. catalyst does not cause the reaction nor the reaction will happen only because of it. So its for the other elements to work the reaction out – the catalyst merely contributing an environment for the reaction to happen.

    One Zen Story also brings out the process of learning well –

    There was a learned man who wanted learn from a famous guru – he had it seems learnt from all the possible gurus in his list and this one was the last. So after a million enquiries, he finally managed to reach this Masters place where the Masters’ sermon was going on.

    He was overjoyed that finally his list will be complete and therefore his KNOWLEDGE. He saw that all the ‘disciples’ were sitting in a particular location & in the center was this Master.

    there was a blissful silence in the area and after a while the master got up and left.

    This eager learner then asked the person sitting next to him – oh did i miss the teaching today? it seems i came at the end of it! – the person smiled and said you have just been here on time for the sermon. the sermon began when u sat down …..

    But He didnt utter a word!! i must go and learn directly from him!!

    So he approached the Master and said ” Master please TEACH me all that you know!”

    The Master smiled radiantly and said ” I cant teach you anything, but you can learn everything! for none can teach, but everyone can learn!”

    So its really ego smashing for all the gurus who claim to have brought about changes in their disciples lives through their teaching!! the evidence is just too much – teachers’ dont actively contribute to the process of learning – so they are entirely dispensible. Like there are so many of our Masters who never had a Guru – they even considered hills, rivers, plants & herbs as their gurus who led them to gain that knowledge by which every knowledge gets revealed!…..

    So the verdict is clear – Students – become capable to be students. that will automatically make the teachers ‘teachers’!! the education system will but have to meekly follow the cue – because systems are like well trained pets – they just follow their masters!!

    Cheers

    Sriram

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  7. Dwarak Ethiraj says:

    The roll and responsibility of good teachers and sincere students become clear if difference between “knowledge” and “wisdom” is understood. In the formative years a dedicated teacher is one who invokes curiosity and interest besides imparting knowledge. At later stage it is the one who also show the path of wisdom. Needless to say that ultimately it is the student who puts own efforts that benefits from such enlightened and committed souls.

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    • Dilip says:

      I agree there is a huge difference between Wisdom and Knowledge. The former unfortunately is a rare commodity and it is the knowledge that is in the forefront. Resumes and CV’s cannot capture the wisdom of a teacher.

      Great point. Many thanks.

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  8. Sriram says:

    Dear Sir,

    I think the poet has a serious problem of over estimating the impact a teacher can create on children. If only it were true! in the current context – perhaps this was possible in a boarding school or where the children were only exposed to this teacher and no one else like the good old days of ‘ashrams’.

    I think you will also agree with me, even if we rewind into our school days and try and think of teachers and their impact on our lives, it may have been there to a certain extent, but definitely not to this glorified state that the poet is quoting – i guess this is the hyperbole of the role of a teacher.

    our scriptures are very clear about the practice of teaching – a teacher at best can only inspire a child. Hence they had words like Acharya to describe a teacher – Acharnat shreyah iti acharya – one who is an exemplar of behavior is an acharya – and such acharyas’ were meant to teach the young – because the young could be inspired to behave correctly only if the teacher behaved well – this was a precondition because in those days students would spend a good portion of their life almost 20-25 years with that one teacher.

    But in modern education, where is the time available to leave a lasting impression on children or for the children to engage with a teacher in a manner that leaves permanent marks?

    Our gurus had no such qualms or claims about what impact they could create on children. And history is replete with punishments for ‘acharyas’ who made tall promises to ‘make’ their student the ‘best’ – a ‘shining’ example of which was the ‘great’ Dronacharya who had to pay for his ‘indiscretion’ with his life being taken away without the dignity of a ‘warrior in battle’!

    Our scriptures are very graphic about what the teacher can or cannot do. The greatest of teachers is Dakshinamoorthy and the graphic description of his teaching is that he taught in silence but his students had no doubts !! Thus the highest level of learning transfer apparently happens when the teacher is silent! So the onus for learning or education was always with that of the student.

    One more metaphor for the teacher is the ‘Vetala’ of Vikram Vetal fame. A teacher is like the Vetal – he has NOTHING to gain from being a teacher and his teaching space is the crematorium! In this macabre environment, the vetal ‘teaches’ King Vikramaditya the best lessons of his life. in this entire transaction, its only the King who has everything to gain or lose, and the Vetal has nothing to gain or lose! – This is a very powerful metaphor – perhaps explaining why teaching as a profession can easily descend from the noblest to the banest! – if the student never demands & never realises the ‘loss’ of not getting the required learning, the teacher can get away with ‘murder’ of education. in that sense yes, the teacher seems to have ‘power’. But it is not a directly wielded and has to be given to the teacher by the student!

    And hence there is a crying need today than ever before to ‘prepare’ the ‘student’ for ‘education’. inculcate in the student the right ‘attitude’ to learning so that he can ‘profit’ from his ‘educational’ experience. In this also our scriptures give some wonderful examples – They say the test for students who wanted to join an ashram was – food made of castor oil instead of ghee served to them as their first meal. All those who raised objections were ‘disqualified’. One more test was there to determine the ‘shamelessness’ of the student. And thus – Vidyaturanaam na ruchir na lajja – if a vidyarti – one who is in pursuit of knowledge – student – then no likes/dislikes and no shame !

    Even better was the test of the student’s interest – if thou art in such desire/thirst for knowledge the teacher will appear before you! – so the most important quality required was that hunger – passion for pursuing knowledge !!

    Vidura neeti in the mahabharat where the great Vidura gives the King Dhirtrashtra lessons on nature of things – declares that a teacher who shares his knowledge to an undeserving student – is MOODA – DELUDED – NOT A WISE MAN.

    So its serious time for introspection at both student and teacher level – perhaps as teachers we need to climb down from glorified pedestals which mean nothing and KNOW that we CANNOT play active role in the process, and for STUDENTS to realise that Learning is THEIRS to do!!

    Cheers!

    Sriram

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    • Geetha Chandar says:

      WOW! is all I can say Mr. Sriram! I am bereft of words really to express my admiration for your very valuable comments.

      I love this part especially because, as you so rightly mentioned, learning, like every other endeavour that imparts knowledge, has to be a collaborative effort which calls for total involvement on the part of the student also.

      “….and for STUDENTS to realise that Learning is THEIRS to do!!”

      Thanks and regards,

      Geetha

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    • Dilip says:

      Dear Sriram,

      Your knowledge of the scriptures to interpret the ‘science and the philosophy of learning’ is brilliant. The powerful ‘guru-shishya’ relationship which existed in those times is indeed fascinating. I read and reread your interesting exposition and now my mind is quite refreshed.

      Your point on ‘teachers and students’ must introspect is important – the education authorities too could chip-in. The challenge however is how and what to do best in these times where there are hardly any worthy role models to inspire our students.

      Thank you Sriram for your kind and thought provoking response. Best regards.

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  9. James Ninfaakang says:

    Dear Sir,
    This is a piece for all teachers to read and learn from. It is unfortunate that some bad nuts in the noble profession tend to put material gains first. That is why it is important that every teacher gets enlightened with this message. Material things mean absolutely nothing compared to a good name as a teacher. Just imagine that your good name is imprinted in the minds of countless pupils going through your kindness in the teaching profession which sir, I think you have achieved by dint of real hard work. I intend to join this noble profession and I hope you will be my guiding symbol.
    Regards,
    James

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    • Dilip says:

      Dear James,

      Well said – teaching is definitely a noble profession. I confess there have been occasions when I may have made an odd slip-up without meaning to. But now reading Dr Ginnots words I have made a firm resolve to be much more perceptive to students feelings and be more alert myself.

      Having had the pleasure of knowing you I am certain you will be a kind and generous teacher. In Tasmac your peer group speaks very fondly of you and admires you deep commitment to learn.

      I wish you all the very best in your professional pursuits!

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  10. Geetha Chandar says:

    Dear Sir,

    Thank you very much for sharing this beautiful quote by Dr. Haim Ginott.

    I am absolutely sure that your students are in the best of hands!

    And I also like this German proverb: “He who teaches children learns more than they do”. That said, I do feel that children are like clay in a potter’s hands and the final product does depend on how the potter (parents and teachers) shapes the clay.

    Thanks and regards,

    Geetha

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    • Dilip says:

      Geetha,

      Its gracious of you to say such kind words. I agree with the German proverb based on my own experience – every class therefore is a new learning.

      Thank you and best regards!

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  11. Shantanu says:

    truly well said sir…..

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  12. Gaurav R Arora says:

    The teacher takes on a unique role to the child. They’re often the first adult, other than parent or family member, who the child trusts and can open up to. A teacher who’s very strict or fault-finding will have a much more negative impact on the child than a teacher who provides understanding and encouragement. Children often look to their teachers as role models, especially in the early stages of development. The positive qualities that a teacher demonstrates through their own behavior can affect a child later in life.

    Teachers can help children explore special interests or talents, which can have a great impact on their future development.

    A saying by unknown author

    A teacher’s purpose is not to create students in his own image, but to develop students who can create their own image.

    As discussed in class value is from point of view of receiver and not the giver.

    As a receiver i have found guidance, friendship, discipline and love in your teaching .

    Thanks for being my teacher .

    Gaurav R Arora

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    • Dilip says:

      Dear Gaurav,

      Kinds words that bring out the essence of a teachers role. I am touched by the sentiments expressed by you and wish to say that a teacher draws inspiration from his wonderful students. And you are one of them.

      Wish you all the best!

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