Monday, September 04, 2006

Dear Teacher,

I remember the first day you stepped into my class room. I was in 8th standard back then. We were all surprised to see you, of all people, enter the class. You were a high school teacher! We were still in middle school! I guess we all got frightened. You see, lots of our seniors had told us horror stories related to high school physics. The fear remained in us until our first mid-term exam came. You had set the question paper for the entire 8th standard set. About a week after the exam, the rest of the sections started getting their marked answer scripts back. More than half the class in each section had failed. We trembled at the thought of what might happen to us. We heard that you were strict in correcting papers. And that’s why we were so surprised to see that our class had the lowest number of failures and the highest total! It was because of you! We realized that the best physics teacher in school was ours! We immediately forgot all our fears and began to love you dearly.
I remember the first time my parents met you in the PTA meeting. You took one look at me, then turned to my parents and told them, “You have a brilliant daughter. But she is not scoring full marks in physics. Its not because she can’t understand the subject. Its because she has a mental block that physics is a tough subject. When she gets rid of that block, nothing can stop her from scoring the highest marks in the subject”. I still remember that. And I still derive inspiration from those words. I extended them beyond physics. And that has taken me a long way. I am proud of the things I have accomplished.
I remember your style of teaching. It was unlike anything we had ever seen! Even though we had not yet entered high school, you used to bring stuff from the physics lab to our class so that we could handle the instruments. I remember that my class was the best when it came to physics because we knew the theory and the practical way of doing stuff. We were able to think in a totally different way. We approached problems differently and were almost always correct. That’s because you were such an excellent teacher.
I remember how thrilled I was to see you stand in front of my class in 9th standard as our high school physics teacher. That meant that you would teach us physics not just for 9th standard, but would be with us all the way till we completed 10th. You better believe me when I tell you that I was the happiest girl on earth!
I remember how scared I was when I entered 10th standard. For the first time in my life, I was going to write a public exam. I remember how your presence in class comforted me. I had a good teacher and that’s all there was that mattered.
I remember how puzzled we all were when we didn’t see you in school for more than a week. I remember how confused we were when we heard that a substitute teacher was hired to take physics for us. I remember how sad we felt when we heard you weren’t feeling well. I remember how shocked I was when I heard you had cancer.
I remember how tough physics became after you took your medical leave. I remember how much we all missed you in class and in the lab. I remember how thrilled I was on my school annual day that year, when I saw you from a distance, sitting in the gallery and chatting with students. I remember how disappointed I was because I wasn’t able to meet you that day. Backstage work kept me busy. I remember how happy and relieved I was to see you on the day of our physics final exam. You had come down just to wish us all good luck. You always had trouble remembering students’ names. I remember how wonderful it felt to hear you call me by my name. You remembered mine quite well! :)
I remember how thrilled everyone was about my physics marks. So what if I didn’t get full marks? I was above 97%. That’s something great for me. And I know it happened only because you taught me. You trained me well.
I remember how sad I felt when another physics teacher, one of your close friends in school, told me that summer heat had worsened your condition.
I remember the morning that my friend called me up on the phone to tell me you passed away……
I remember it clearly. It was a Monday morning. I was getting ready to go to school. At 7:05am she called and told me the news. She heard it from her mother who was also a teacher in my school. I refused to believe my friend. But Sow, who was in my class in 8th standard, told me the very same morning that she saw your name in the newspaper. My friend was not lying. You were indeed gone. Gone forever.
I remember how much I cried that morning. I have never cried so much for anybody else. Believe me…. For no one else have I shed so many tears. That’s how much you meant to me. I loved you and respected you. You had inspired me so much.
I remember hearing the vice principal declare that Monday a holiday so that students and teachers could go to your house to pay their last respects. I remember, my friends tried to persuade me to come along. I initially refused. I wanted to remember you as the teacher who stood in front of the class and taught us physics. But I went eventually. I knew I would never forgive myself if I didn’t say bye to you…. One last time.
I remember the bouquet I got for you. It was a bouquet of white flowers. A beautiful one. I remember placing it by your feet. I remember breaking down when I saw you there. Now I had no choice but to believe that you were gone. That was the last time I saw you, but it wasn’t the last time I thought of you….

I remember… I felt better after coming back home. I was exhausted after crying continuously all morning. I remember mourning your death that entire week.
Here is a letter from a student who loves you and respects you. I still remember you. I still remember all that you taught me, not just physics… I remember all the other important lessons. Its been 3 years since you left. You are not forgotten.
As long as I am around, you will never be forgotten.
You were, are and will always be the best physics teacher in the entire world.

Happy teacher’s day!

Your loving student,
MG

12 comments:

Clueless said...

Damn! I got goosebumps just reading that!

That's about the sweetest eulogy I've ever read. I'm sure if your teacher was around, she'd have been very happy to see you all grown up and mature. She would be proud. :)

double head said...

As I was reading this blog tears slowly started to trickle down my eyes. What a special bond between a student and a teacher? I still vividly remember trying to console your grief over the phone from the FATHER LAND.

How often do I wonder if teaching is still a noble profession? It sure is, you just confirmed it. Long live THE PHYSICS TEACHER!! Long live the special bond between TEACHERS AND STUDENTS.

soleil said...

What a beautifully-written post. It really moved me. You wrote it with such love that even the readers feel your grief over the loss of your dear teacher.

viv said...

Touching post.

Teacher's do play such an important role in our development... it extends far beyond just the subjects they teach. It's good to know you had such a wonderful teacher.

Macho Girl said...

#clueless
I hope you are right :) And thanks for the compliment :)

#doublehead
Teaching is a noble profession isn't it? I am considering getting into it when I grow up. Just like my dad :)

#soleil
thanks :)

#viv
Thanks :) I do consider myself extremely lucky for having such a wonderful teacher. She sure played a very important role in my life.

Confused Soul said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Confused Soul said...

A really touching post..

Teachers have so much confidence in you, and inspire you so much, that most often, you end up studying and doing well for them.. I remember in 11th std., our chem sir was returning our marked papers.. and I had gotten a 74/75.. and Sir actually blasted me in front of the whole class coz I didn't get full marks.. everybody said that he was mad.. but deep down, I knew that he had the confidence that I could get full marks, and he wanted me to.. And I did get full marks the next time.. that year, in the half yearly exam, I was the only one in the entire batch to get 150/150! All because he had inspired me all through..and I know, his happiness knew no bounds.. Why only 11th, I owe my 12th results to him as well :)

So I can perfectly understand what a teacher can do to you.. and I'm glad, you had someone to encourage and guide you.. so what if she isn't with you anymore?? All that she has taught you, academically, as well as lessons on life, will always remain with you.. for life.. :)

puttas said...

i cant comment... i am sorry... words fail me...

Macho Girl said...

#confused soul
Its always great to have a wonderful teacher around. My favourite teachers have also shouted at me and criticized me. But thats why I am here today!

#puttas
words failed me all these years. Thats why i poured everything out now. And I feel much better :)

prithz said...

OMG!!! I was as shocked and grief striken as u would have been when u heard the bad news abt ur teacher..very sorry abt her girll... teachers can be such a wonderful source of inspiration to us...

Very wel wriiten...>>That was the last time I saw you, but it wasn’t the last time I thought of you….<< Best one!!!

Macho Girl said...

#prithz
thanks. I am glad u liked the post. She was one of my best sources of inspiration. Continues to inspire me to this day :)

MV said...

Your post is really a touching one. She was definitely a wonderful teacher to have influenced you so much.
MV(physicsplus.blogspot.com)