A good teacher matters - GulfToday

A good teacher matters

Shaadaab S. Bakht


Shaadaab S. Bakht, who worked for famous Indian dailies The Telegraph, The Pioneer, The Sentinel and wrote political commentaries for Tehelka.com, is Gulf Today’s Executive Editor.


Picture used for illustrative purpose only.

Pouring rain, thunderbolts, blown-out hurricane-lamp, rickety boat, but we had no choice. We were warned about it by our elders before we had set out to cross the river to reach the main road leading to Haridevpur, India.

The 30-40 minute boat journey used to be exciting, but inclement weather made it hellish on that particular night.

We did manage to reach the shore and subsequently a roadside restaurant. There was no way we could have dried ourselves, so we decided to stay the way we were.


Predictably, we ordered some strong tea and whatever was available by way of snacks. While waiting there for the weather to improve before we could start again for our destination, we came across a gentleman.

He was in his 40s, simply dressed, heavily-oiled hair and a pair of laced shoes, which were in poor order. He was, no, not really pontificating. He was talking to a few of his students.

He was a teacher. I haven’t forgotten his words: It’s perfect to be born ignorant, but it’s a crime to die so. Only a teacher could have said what he had said.

Adulthood is natural, maturity isn’t. While the former grows on its own, the latter has to be nursed to its health.

Life can be steered only with wisdom, not knowledge. And who is the person who converts knowledge into wisdom? The teacher.

Because maturity isn’t natural it needs to be sowed, watered and shaped. And who can do this job? Again, our teachers.

In other words, teachers indeed are indispensable. Growth is inevitable, not progress. To progress we need training. And sound training comes from sound educators.

Without teachers we are incomplete or despite the great wish to learn we will land up embarrassing ourselves.

Permit me to give you an evidence that teachers are really needed in our lives.

Picture used for illustrative purpose only.

Here we go: My report card in Class I said: “This student’s communication skills need attention.”

I subsequently went on to win debating prizes for my school, college and university. Who helped me grow? My teachers.

But we not only need teachers, we need them to be what the great Abraham Lincoln wanted them to be. To his son’s teacher he wrote:

“He will have to learn, I know,

that all men are not just,

all men are not true.

But teach him also that for every scoundrel there is a hero, that for every selfish politician, there is a dedicated leader...

Teach him that for every enemy there is a friend.

It will take time, I know;

but teach him, if you can, that a dollar earned is of far more value than five found...

Teach him to learn to lose and also to enjoy winning.

Steer him away from envy, if you can, teach him the secret of quiet laughter.

Teach him, if you can, the wonder of books...

This is a big order, but see what you can do...

He is such a fine little fellow, my son!”

That was the man who wanted his fellow men to see reason, but reason is a difficult deal that most find difficult to deal with. Nevertheless, the fight for it must go on.

Well, who can lead that fight better than our very dear teachers?


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