As students, the term ‘teaching’ was often viewed to be a task meant for bored housewives. I would envy all those who had the august privilege of sharing the experiences with a group of curious and sharp youngsters. I was unaware of the sort of responsibilities that the profession carries. All that had changed the day a fine gentleman had approached me to do the same. Not to mention, I had agreed to do so at a rather early stage in my career.
I hail from a family of teachers. My father, a senior doctor, is a professor of Paediatrics at the reputed Medical College in Kerala while Amma (my mother) teaches psychology. My mother’s sisters are trained school teachers while my father’s uncle was one of the most sought after professors of Physics at Delhi University. The vivid teaching history in the family proved motivational in many occasions. But sometimes milestones set by those knowledgeable can create a weird yet eerie vacuum within you. While I saw these wisemen of the family convert rags into silk purses, the task seemed utmost impossible to me. But primarily, teaching did not seem ‘cool’ enough.
As a journalist, I have been badgered with several words of criticism, especially from the elder members of the family. The discussions over venturing into another professions, pursuing the ever popular MBA and even seemed never ending. Until one day, my father suggested something that nobody ever had – teaching. At first, the thought was brushed away like a pile of dust. But after having spent many hours on the thought, I realised that ‘this’ was the adventure I had been yearning for.
I had applied to several prestigious institutes seeking a chance to work as part time faculty. But it looked like the good Lord decided to pull the rein. Time went by. The thought remained a mere desire. After all, who would approach a child (I am 25 years old, but a child to many in the industry) with a teaching assignment? No sooner had I come to terms with reality, than those unexpected thing happened.
“Hello Gitanjali. How is your father?” said Prof. Rakesh Katarey, a genius in the world of journalism education – my friend, guide and philosopher since the moment I set foot in the media industry. Prof. Katarey was a favourite among the students. Not only did he encourage them to work hard but he always sought an opportunity to give young minds to experience something new. A conversation that began with the usual set of pleasantries led to opportunity of a lifetime. Thus, began my journey as a teacher.
I was soon invited as a Guest Lecturer at the Nitte Institute of Communication and was asked to speak on current trends in New Media. Nervous and excited, I sat down to prepare a slideshow. Turns out, that even something as simple as ‘GOOD’ slideshow take forever to prepare. As I boarded the train towards Mangalore Central, I could only imagine the look on those students’ faces when they see me standing before them. It was not long before I had begun to address the gathering and to my surprise, the session was fun. If I could say so, the experience made me feel younger, more energetic and complete. For the first time in ages, I felt a sense of immense satisfaction – as if it were a task well done. The numerous questions, the witty reactions of the audience, everything seemed more than a mere memory. It was the moment that helped me realise that the best way to give back to society it to be a teacher. Not only do teachers share their experience, but they have the greatest honour of all – to learn and share until the end of time.
The journey of a teacher had, thus, begun…
(..to be contd..)