I Have Not Lived in Vain
When a teacher feels the worth of his vocation—its ability to generate positive vibrations, we realize the beauty of the teacher-taught relationship.
By Debasis Mishra
I consider myself really fortunate for the profession of teaching to which I had tied myself long ago not out of any noble mission but only to support my family. This is a profession which works like an automatic force driving me towards nobility and goodness. The very faces of my young students keep my conscience ever alert. I share with them their curiosity, questions, fun making, and it renews my mind and spirit at once.
What I am going to say is not an advertisement of the teaching profession but my personal view with regard to my experience as a teacher. It is a kind of self cultivation on my part. It is indeed a privilege for me that without knowing I give away all that is good in me. The great English essayist Joseph Addison( 1662-1719) has cited the special importance of attending the Sunday prayer: “It is certain that the country people would soon degenerate into a kind of savages and barbarians, were there not such frequent returns of a stated time in which the whole village meet together with their best faces, and in their cleanliest habits, …hear their duties explained to them, and join together in adoration of the Supreme Being. Sunday clears away the rust of the whole week…” I consider the special benefit of my profession exactly in this way. I think a teacher is rather bound to face the students in his best appearance in moral or spiritual sense of the leaving off his narrow selfish self. The students also find themselves in a special way before their teachers. Herein lies the special responsibility of a teacher to sustain the impression of the tender mind in good spirit forever.
I read with my students the books or the topics included in their syllabus, and thereby spend some time when I am above the mundane realities of life. No matter what the subject is—history, geography, mathematics, literature or science, it can create this feeling within the classroom. When I read aloud the lines from Oscar Wilde’s story The Happy Prince: ‘Dear Swallow …you tell me of marvelous thing but more marvelous than anything is the suffering of men and women. There is no Mystery so great as Misery’, I feel like conveying to my students some thing that is deeply truthful. I vividly remember the faces of my students absorbed in the story. Swami Vivekananda said: ‘By education I do not mean the present system, but something in the line of positive teaching. A teacher has the advantage of being in touch with positive teaching.’ What Shakespeare said with reference to mercy in The Merchant of Venice is equally true in this case. Because ‘it blesseth him that gives and him that takes’. Thus the great Derozio has written:
What joyance rains upon me
When I see same in the mirror of futurity waving the chaplets
You are yet to gain and then I feel
I have not lived in vain.