For the love of a good story

Usha Raman

Each time I close a good book I have a feeling that I’ve emerged from a deep immersion in a different world, a world that I have been granted access to through the power of words, a gift of the writer’s powerful imagination. There’s a slight sense of sadness at leaving that world, and there are times when I am reluctant to enter a new book for a while, preferring instead to wallow a little longer in the memory of the one I have just left. But then I look at the pile of unread books on my table, a placeholder peeking out of some, and I know there are other worlds to discover, other thoughts to spark new mind-travels. And of course, I know that the stories, once taken in, will constantly swirl within me, bumping into others that I’ve consumed, and sometimes mixing and re-emerging in unexpectedly joyful, or even confusing ways.

I cannot imagine my world without stories and books. From the public libraries of my childhood with their rows of severely bound volumes that held surprisingly summery tales, to the Kindle on my table holding scores of titles, books have been a constant in an otherwise unpredictable and often overwhelming world. As many of the contributors to this issue have noted, books have offered an escape, a refuge, a source of wisdom, and vicarious experience; they have given me answers to questions I’ve not known yet to ask, and windows to other ways of seeing the world.

It seems particularly fitting that this last issue of the printed version of Teacher Plus is about stories – in books, primarily, but also to be found in other places and in other forms. We’ve been able to bring a diverse group of writers – some longstanding contributors and others gracing our pages for the first time – to talk about stories. How to read and re-read them, bring them to life through illustration, draw from them sustenance, comfort and meaning, and perhaps even to create our own. Some ask how stories can be told through poetry, while others urge us to find knowledge in stories and interact with it in ways that can inform and clarify our responses to the world.

Every summer, Teacher Plus has been putting together a special double issue focusing on one curricular area, but this issue is a bit of a departure. While the teacher of language and literature might find it of particular interest, we hope others will find something to take away as well, in terms of how a love of reading and books can fuel learning in all subjects.

Also, just as the book has found its way into other media – into e-readers, onto audio platforms, and metamorphosed into film and television, the stories we tell in Teacher Plus too will find their way into your computers and tablets and mobile phones. Not diminished, but different. I cannot deny that there is some sadness at bidding goodbye to the smell and feel of the printed page, and I understand that there will be many among our readers who feel a bit betrayed that they will not receive the package in the mail. We’ve received so many expressions of dismay, but also encouragement — some of which we share with you here. So sure, we will lose the paper and the ink, but we will not lose the spirit that makes Teacher Plus what it is. We hope that many of you will stay with us, and journey with us, as we move into this new avatar and continue to share your stories with Teacher Plus.

Tears and hope: what our contributors say

Anuradha C – Good decision to go completely online, changing with the times.

Ramya Sriram – I think going online is quite exciting and might see your readership expand to new audiences.

Neerja Singh – It makes business sense to go digital… saves on cost, is in line with climate sensitivity… the magazine reaches farther out and updates are easier. However, Teacher Plus should be available in both forms, digital as well as physical. India, in particular, has diverse demographics and about 51.3 per cent still don’t have reliable access to the internet.

Neeraja Raghavan – I am heartbroken. How very sad!

Ratnesh Mathur – New ways lead to new opportunities.

Lakshmi Karunakaran – It’s proven that attention span on long articles is pretty low online. Especially, technical ones. Plus many readers might be those who don’t want to read online. I am pretty upset with all those who think everything can be online – and even worse on AI these days!

Aditi Tandon – I suppose this is inevitable with the changes in the publishing process and how (and where) people read these days.

Meena Sriram – As the world has already become part of a digital universe, it is only right that Teacher plus also transitions. Young teachers are more likely to read on their phones than in libraries.

Jane Sahi – Yes, sad but I am sure the digital version will open other possibilities and make it more sustainable. Look forward to keeping in touch and so appreciate the work done over many years and the significant contribution of Teacher Plus in building a community of learners among teachers.

Lakshmi Mitter – Yes, I definitely support the idea. I have grown used to the soft copy subscription. It is a lot more convenient especially because I can easily search for useful articles even from past issues.

Mini KrishnanTeacher Plus is a magazine I have admired. I have so many old copies of it. Teacher Plus is one of the last of its kind. I am really sorry to hear that it is moving on-line. It is just not the same, is it?

Nabanita Deshmukh – I want to express my sadness on seeing the halt of the Teacher Plus print copies. Although digital copies are useful, the print magazines have other benefits, where pages can be touched and smelt, and magazines could be carried during travels or brought to bed for leisure reading.

Leave a Reply