Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Thoughts On Teachers

I recently came across a lovely little quote by William Yeats that triggered many memories: Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.

This is so perfectly worded that there is nothing really that I can add, but it makes me think of my teachers - some exceptional ones that I have been fortunate enough to come across.  

My mother was probably my first such teacher, though I didn't know it then.  She taught me a few basic principles of how to deal with life and then left me alone to figure out the specifics.  I could always approach her but she rarely interfered especially when it seemed that I was able to tackle things on my own.  

Of school, I remember not very much of specific learning - the bucket filling kind doesn't stay too long, it dribbles out over time (though is easily refilled, if one really wants).  I did learn how much I enjoyed writing and reading, and in this I was encouraged by teachers who knew their subjects.  

From my grandfather I learnt how to try and take everything in my stride and maintain an even keel in stormy waters.  I spent many years growing up in my grandfather's house and I remember he always had time to sit with us at mealtimes and go for walks in the evenings.  He was actively involved in his business at the time and there were many stressful moments (as I now recollect) but he left them behind when he sat at the table with us.

Life moves in unexpected ways, offering us choices and options - requiring decisions, sometimes rather drastic, lifestyle changing ones.  Again, at crucial moments during my education, it was not experts in academic subjects but other kinds of teachers who helped me decide on the path suitable for myself.  They did this not by suggesting options but by allowing me to relax and look inwards and see for myself what I wanted to do.  Notable amongst these are Nora, a friend and practitioner of five element acupuncture and (Masterji) Vishwanath, a teacher of yoga.  They rekindled a spark which was already there, but which I thought I had lost and didn't know how to find.

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