If there are two sectors in India which are the most corrupt, they are the defence forces and teaching.
If you have a Master’s Degree or even a Bachelor’s Degree in India, you can make a more than decent, tax-free income from teaching students privately. This is because the teaching standard in Government run colleges and universities is abysmal.
In my brush up with my share of teachers, I’ve encountered both ends of the spectrum. The worst ones that make your blood boil and the ones that inspire you.
Today’s post is about a very special teacher who’s touched my life in more than one ways. For the sake of anonymity, let’s just call him Chemistry Professor(CP).
To start with, CP was a brilliant student in his days. He has all the requisite qualifications that can fetch him a job at top notch private colleges. But he refuses to be a money seeker. He’s even turned down some offers from foreign universities.
Instead, he prefers to teach at his alma mater. He prefers to stay back and give back to his State and teach his people in the language that they understand. Teaching is easy, but what is tough is Institution building.
It takes a lot of administrative skills, persuasion skills, team building skills. He has all of these skills. It is he who’s made the Chemistry Department of the concerned college the best in North-Eastern India.
The University Grants Commissions rules requires a professor to stay in the institution for six hours. He stays for twelve. He’s built a library for students who can’t afford books.
Students who can’t afford an ambience at home are free to study at the department till 8 at night. He hasn’t married. He says, “I’m married to the Department”, with a boyish grin on his face.
He knows marriage will affect his commitment to the department. Most of the money he makes from his job is contributed to the Department.
Till a year back, he didn’t even own a car. He walked. It seemed simpler. Finally with enough persuasion from students, he’s bought a bike. His students know his bank account number and freely transact money. He trusts them.
Today his ex students are all over the world, placed in foreign shores. They keep in touch regularly and make it a point to contribute money to the department.
That is exactly what I mean by institution building. You create an institution that churns out quality people over the years who don’t forget their commitment to the institution that made them.
People just graduate and forget their Colleges. Who sends money to the College Development Fund?
This is what good teaching does to you. It transforms you.
There are a lot of things grossly wrong in this world. But, when I see such honest work being done without much pomp and show in an obscure corner of some Chemistry Department, it transforms me.
Such passion is hard to find and emulate. It teaches me to give the best in life to whichever calling I choose. Such people deserve a mention. It is the least that I can do really.
Teachers just teach. Good teachers go beyond that.