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Look behind the mask

Arati Kodali

Some of your teachers may be terrors in the classroom. Take time to understand the pressures they work against...


Learning to cope... there's a lesson at every turn.

I rubbed my eyes . This was fantastic. My dreaded " Do your homework or else!" Maths teacher was in the dentist's chair. As a patient. With cavities. . Before I go on, let me explain. I was then in Standard VII attending a pretty "strict"

( though according to my parents "good") school. The lady groaning and pleading with the dentist to stop drilling was the Mahakali dreaded Maths teacher. I had no cavities and had merely come for my yearly dental check up. Of course I felt superior and smug as I settled down in the dentist's chair and let him know who his previous patient was and gloated. He sighed and said, "You know Arati, she too must have had perfect teeth at your age. But two children, not looking after her own diet and juggling housework and a job does take its toll on women. May be you could really gloat when you are her age and have no cavities. I realised for the first time that teachers too are human and fallible and under immense pressure.

I have had some bad teachers and some good ones. Whenever I complain about a "bad" teacher, my father who usually was pretty even handed, would ask me to see whether I had done anything to get this "bad" treatment as I called it. If I had, I of course had to simply work it out and make sure I wasn't at fault. If she or he proved to be really "bad" my father, exulted and said, "Good. Now you have to cope and get on with it. Every "bad" teacher is going to actually make you stronger." So I coped. Which meant that I either got on to their good books or simply did my work and avoided a personal confrontation.

When my children now come to me with "horror" stories about their teachers I tell them exactly what my father told me. Take what you can from this teacher, whether academically or otherwise. Meanwhile make yourself a student that the teacher is keen to identify with and teach.

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