Teaching, a noble vocation | Sunday Observer

Teaching, a noble vocation

6 October, 2019

A teacher or guru is a person who imparts knowledge. All those who listen to a teacher and learns are pupils. There are many professions for a person to choose. Of these choices, teaching is the most respected, admired, revered and remembered profession in the world. Bernard Shaw says, “human beings and animals are born in a cauldron of love". Nature, along with love become the first teacher in locating sources of maternal sustenance. From there we begin to learn.

The knowledge that a person gains up to his grave is gained from teachers. Of all teachers, our beloved Divine Masters reign supreme, they walked on mother earth, striving to show mankind the way to a righteous life on earth and thereafter, through example, parables, discourses and preaching.

Children begin to learn by watching. Mother is their first teacher. Father is their peer and teacher. They teach only one compulsory subject. Love. Then the first milestone in life’s tumultuous journey, the preschool. Here the teacher becomes a second mother. Next the Sunday School where, teachers, teach with love and smiles about our Enlightened Teachers.

Teachers are always there to guide and pilot their protégés to destinations of the latters choice. We listen to our teachers, be they our school teachers, lecturers, professors or spiritual gurus in the hallowed lecture halls, auditoriums and in places of religious worship, while gazing at their faces in awe and reverence.

It is also the teacher who takes us into the world of culinary delicacies, choral, choreographic excellence and in how to make the body beautiful. We should remember Maria Montessori in bequeathing us the Montessori method in guiding our very young into the world of A, B, C and 1, 2, 3.

A teacher always is with us, where learning becomes a must. It is so for the simple garbage collector or a coconut plucker to the atomic scientist and heads of state. All learn from advisors or teachers.

We remember our teachers wherever we are and in whatever we do. People offer their seats and bow their heads when they see their teachers.

A retired teacher was in a hospital. He had come with his 17-year-old grandson. A specialist cardiologist had examined him. He had been directed to the lab for clinical tests. The doctor had told him that a 'by-pass' was essential.

The patient was rather puzzled to see the doctor on his feet while examining him and talking with him. Since there was long waiting list, surgery should be done at a private hospital, within the next few days said the doctor. Cost? A couple of lakhs the doctor said.

“Doctor,” the patient said "My children will find the money. But I have lived my life. I am happy. They can use that money in making my grandchildren to do well in life. I am ready to die. The nurse had seen this wonderful healing angel, break into tears. He had taken the patients hands into his, brought them to his cheeks and said, “Sir, today I am here because of you.” “You showed our class by example and by your absolute teaching professionalism the meaning of life. I am saving lives because of you. I will make all the arrangements with a private hospital.

Get yourself admitted soon. Please tell your family that a grateful pupil has been blessed to touch the heart of the teacher who showed his pupils, the true meaning of a teacher.

The bill will be looked after, don’t worry Sir.”

"Son, go with your grandfather. Look after him. Never ever forget your teachers.“

Tears had flowed freely that day in that room of healing. All because of a teacher. Only teachers are privileged to be the cause of such heartwarming gestures from mortals.

She was with some young teachers and young senior girls.

“Miss, why is our feminine problem called ‘menopause’ instead of ‘women-o-pause’? Without batting an eyelid she had said, “well, maybe it is a warning to men to tell them; Men oh pause for some time for reasons obvious.

She was their darling teacher. The topic was on marriage and in-laws. “As newly weds, both would love to build a new home. Try your very best not to build your nest in your husband’s home. You know two queen bees cannot be in one hive. The same with human beings. So fly away amidst confetti into your own home, even if it is a thatched house. Also remember that a daughter-in-law will one day become a mother-in-law. Tact and understanding should reign supreme. Also prayers.”

She was in the Mahanuwara Express. A rather long delay at the Balana Railway Station.

A flock of shouting undergrads were in the next compartment. They were annoyed. They had spoken to one of the guards who was on the platform. They were delayed because of a late Colombo bound goods train he said. "Why have time tables if trains get held up like this?" they asked.

Our lovely teacher overheard the question. She had put her head out. "My dear children, how would you know that the train is late, if there were no time tables? How would you have followed different subjects when you were in school? Some had recognised her as their guru in school. Lots of clapping and cheering. The guard was in raptures.

Again, the meaning of 'Poruwa'. 'Po' in Tamil means go. 'Ruwa' in Sinhala means features or looks. So it simply means 'Po' to your 'Ruwa'. But your love understanding and prayers will shine. It will be the same should it be an 'altar'.

There had been 100 per cent passes in all her English language classes at the G.C.E. (Ordinary Level) examinations during her 38 years of teaching in five schools. All these beautiful happenings were mentioned amidst much tears and memories during the eulogies at her funeral. 'Guruthumani, Guruthumiyani,' we salute you and pray that our Celestial Teachers will be with you, guiding you to teach your pupils the meaning of empathy and knowledge. Tears will flow whenever they speak of you, meet you, and, when you are serene in eternal slumber, with a smile on your face.