Bits and bobs from the past

Usha Raman

For this issue, we decided to ask teachers to pay tribute to their role models in teaching. While it seems like a simple question, one that is easy enough to answer, the articles that we received show – as you will see – that it’s not that simple, and not that easy. It’s like being forced to choose just that one sweet from a whole array, when we’d actually like one of this, another of that, and one more of yet another variety. It’s hard to pick favourites. More often than not, what happens when we do settle on a favourite is that we begin to realize that there are others we may just as well have picked. So while we might, for the sake of convenience, point to one or other person as having played the most important role in our professional or personal lives, the truth is more complicated than that. We are the sum of many influences, many interactions, and many experiences. Memory may pull out a particular person, or a particular incident, marking it as special in some way. But clearly, memory does not always tell the whole story; it is the story we remember. Or more correctly, the story we make up based on the things we remember.

But still…there is something to be gained from reflecting quietly about the past, about trying to pick out a narrative thread that ties together those bits and bobs of things from our past. And when someone puts you on the spot asking for that particular influence, a particular person’s role in your life, you are able to come up with a coherent narrative.

We’re grateful to the readers who responded to our request and reached into their memories to write something for this special issue. So, what we have is a heartwarming bouquet of stories, tributes to teachers, parents, and others who have contributed to the “making” of a teacher. Together, they read like a handbook of how to be…and in some cases, not to be… a teacher!

Happy teacher’s day …and beyond!