Remembering a Forgettable Teacher

It’s my first September 5th since I started volunteering as a teacher.  And as I remember all the teachers who’ve taught me down the years, I can’t help but dwell on the one teacher who never liked me. Miss Mews was my first teacher and I was in her kindergarten class at one of Bombay’s most snobbish schools.

Miss Mews had remarked to my eager parents during what was their first ever PTA interaction: Your daughter is a talkative little grandmother, her head is in the clouds, her arithmetic is poor and she just won’t colour inside the lines. Sadly, it didn’t quite have the desired effect she was hoping on my folks. To them her review meant their kid was normal and this woman was just bizarre to expect anything more from a 4 year old.  I was oblivious to the way my teacher felt about me and didn’t suffer any long-term trauma from being in Miss Mews classroom for a whole year as my head was thankfully in the clouds.

When I look at myself today I’m the still the girl that Miss Mews disapproved of …a classic case of verbal diarrhoea,  daydreaming most of the time,  agrees to disagree with mathematics… my colouring has improved slightly though…I wear my ‘i’m not messy, i’m creative’ badge with pride…and that’s why I can never forget her. Wonder what became of Miss Mews.  Couldn’t help but think of her today as it’s Teachers’ Day.  Don’t know where she is and whether she’s still teaching.  But wherever she is I wish her well…and hope she didn’t go through an entire generation of  children, scarring them with her overcritical views. I hope she learnt to appreciate each child the way God made them.

In my own experience, Miss Mews belongs to a minority. Most others in the teaching profession are aware of the influence they wield on their students and are humbled by it. I was  blessed with some great teachers at school, college and then university, men and women who taught from their hearts, opened my mind. Most of my friends are teachers or are on their way to becoming teachers. I have the greatest respect for them.

The teaching bug bit me too earlier this year. Had the chance to teach Spoken English to 12 girls at an NGO, it was the most gratifying feeling, something no paycheque can equal. Can’t wait to do it again. I think the experience turns out to be even better when the teacher keeps herself open to learning and un-learning as well. Sadly, Miss Mews  missed that class.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nina Banerjee
    Sep 06, 2011 @ 08:28:20

    I enjoyed reading this! I could think of teachers in various categories too.


  2. Ananda
    Sep 06, 2011 @ 15:36:58

    While the rat race still nurtures attitudes like Mr. Mews’, it unfortunately erodes the healthy, practical perspective like that of your parents. May teachers look at children as tomorrow’s citizens, and may parents look at children as children.
    Beautifully written blog. Your ability to step outside your skin even when drawing from memories like these, is rare. I’m looking forward to your next one.


  3. pitterpatter
    Sep 06, 2011 @ 20:54:41

    That was wonderful to read ,brought back memories of my school days.I read somewhere that there are three kinds of teachers..inspiring ones , explaining ones and complaining ones..


  4. pramodk
    Sep 06, 2011 @ 23:12:56

    You are lucky to have the parents you have. Also, the quality of teachers has improved a lot over the years, at least in the bigger cities. Fifty years ago, teachers like Miss Mews would have been more the rule than exception.


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