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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Remembering Good teachers on TEachers' Day

Do you recall or know the 1964 tamil film from the house of P.S. Veerappa – “Andavan Kattalai”  - do you remember the name of your school teacher in your 1st standard or the School Head Master when you studied SSLC.  A man  born in a poor Telugu Brahmin family at Tiruttani  rose to a pre-eminent position and is being remembered today. Do you know about the road that runs from Gemini bridge to Gandhi Statue at Marina beach?

         In Hindi cinema, Amitabh Bachchan brought alive various aspects of a teacher's personality through these films. In many countries, Teachers' Days are intended to be special days for the appreciation of teachers, and may include celebrations to honor them for their special contributions in a particular field area, or the community in general. The date on which Teachers' day is celebrated varies from country to country. Teachers' days are distinct from World Teachers' Day which is officially celebrated across the world on Oct 5.

In India today ‘Sept. 5th’  is celebrated as ‘Teachers Day’ remembering  Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan  who was born on 5th Sept 1888.  Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan,  Indian philosopher, Statesman and a noble person was the second President of India from 1962 to 1967. He was the first Vice President of India (1952–1962).

One of India's most influential scholars of comparative religion and philosophy, Radhakrishnan built a bridge between the East and the West by showing how the philosophical systems of each tradition are comprehensible within the terms of the other. Radhakrishnan was knighted in 1931 but ceased to use the title "Sir" after India attained independence.  Among the many other honours he received were the Bharat Ratna (1954) and the Order of Merit (1963). His birthday is celebrated in India  today as Teachers' Day on 5 September.

On this day, this news in ‘New Indian Express’ is worthy of reproduction and circulation. 

As many as 562 teachers in the state hail from one tiny village of just 4,500 souls in Gadag district. Hullur, which has been a hub for the noble profession for over a century, is also home to 243 retired teachers. Though it is unclear why people of this village, which also boasts of 15 lecturers, 25 engineers and six doctors, have a flair for teaching, locals speak of an old tradition here.

Former gram panchayat president S B Herakal, who himself is an MA and BPEd, feels the teacher training course at Bagalkot has been popular among the village’s students since the 1970s.  “With students heading to Bagalkot for the course, butthiappas, akin to Mumbai’s dabbawallahs, used to take a train from the nearest station Mallapur to Bagalkot to supply home food to the students, who were able to pursue the course with little expense and invariably landed jobs after the course. Even today, 10-15 students from the village join the teacher training course every year,” he says. Herakal adds that male teachers of the village prefer teachers as brides and this has led to a rise in the number of teachers in the village in recent years. “Now, each family has three to four teachers,” he says.

The head master of the local Government Higher Primary School, Ramakanth Kamatgi, also speaks of the school’s role in serving the village’s educational needs since 1869. “Many poor people, who migrated from neighbouring taluks and districts, settled here as farm hands. But, they were landless and lacked financial security. This might have motivated them to become teachers,” he reckons.

Downunder in Australia,  Victorian government teachers  are reported to stage a wave of staggered half-day strikes in schools across the state next term, beginning with those in Premier Ted Baillieu's electorate of Hawthorn. Australian Education Union deputy president Meredith Peace said the stoppages were likely to be held at most school days in a five-week period in October and November. The 15,000 striking teachers, principals and education support staff who attended a rally at the Rod Laver Arena  voted overwhelmingly to take this next step in their campaign against the Baillieu government's "bad faith negotiations and its attack on working conditions".

Teachers are usually not treated with much respect in Tamil cinema. They are, more often than not, present as comedy elements in movies that are set in school/college campuses. Usually played by comedians, they are little more than caricatures, becoming the target of pranks and being scared of the students.  Rajnikant played a Professor in Dharmathin Thalaivan and Kamal in Nammavar.  Capt Vijayakanth portrayed a good Professor in Ramana. 

Prof. Krishnan  was  a role model; honest and austere, a staunch follower of Swami Vivekananda. His principle in life was ‘Duty First’. He sweared by his profession serving  his students to the best of his abilities earning great admiration and respect from his students.  But love struck in the form of a student Radha (Devika).  That was Sivaji Ganesan in Andavan Kattalai.

The teacher I remember most in my elementary school - Samarao School, was Mrs Bhagavathi who in  those days when transport facility was not at its best,  was coming from Katpadi but was never late to school.  When I studied SSLC [X Std in 1978-79] at The Hindu High School, the Head Master was Mr D Ramanujam.  Few months ago, we met and felicitated our Commerce Master Mr T.S. Sriraman…………….

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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