Down Memory Lane


Yesterday was a special day.

A student, whom I taught 18 years ago, visited me. I was flooded with joy. The young lad whom I knew had climbed up ladders of growth and success. He updated me quickly with his profession and also that he is a happily married person and the proud father of a daughter. Being a training coach, I realized that he had selected the right kind of job for himself; for, as a student he was fluent at communication and had evinced leadership skills. Besides, he was a people’s person who had excelled at dramatics and theatre.

It was then that he confessed that he had opted for a wrong subject for his graduate degree course. He opted for studying Physics but should have taken English Literature, he reminisced. After years in sales careers, he had moved on to training. It was a pleasure to see him exude confidence and hear him say that he enjoyed his job. The more challenging the session, the more enjoyment he had out of them, he gushed. How many young people can honestly make such claims?

My student then went on to recollect how when he was working with a pharmaceutical company, he had an opportunity to meet with a group of people from Kerala, in a remote place in Maharashtra. There he befriended another young man and their conversation veered to teachers who impacted them. And by sheer coincidence both had the same name – mine. The other student was one whom I had taught at Munnar! The world sure is very small.

My visitor then took me down memory lane when he said that I had made a difference in his life. I had no memory of any such incident and he most graciously refreshed it for me. It was the next day after the Annual Day. We were standing near the staffroom and the Best Class XII Student for the year walked by. He recalled how I had told him – “Next year you must get this award.” From that day onwards he worked towards that goal and won the award the next year, he mused.

As teachers, we can make a world of difference in the little world of children. We can show them what to aspire for. A small well-meaning sentence loaded with expectations and fixing benchmarks for him/her is sure to affect them in the most positive and encouraging way one can ever imagine. Simple words can have such profound effects. For a student to have remembered you even after 18 years bears testimony to the difference I had made in his life. And this is precisely why I still love being a teacher…. and specifically, being in the classroom! And it is small joys like these that tell me over and over again that I am in right and the best of professions!!